"Body-oriented or body-centered psychotherapy is an expansive, emerging, multi-faceted field that affirms the inseparability of mind, body, and spirit. It draws from somatic psychology which sees the mind revealed not only in relational styles, dreams, and cognitions, but in neurophysiology, posture, gestures, movement, bodily tensions and more. It explores the therapeutic possibilities of somatic roads to the unconscious and healing while honoring the wisdom of general psychology and psychotherapy through expanding and contributing to it.”
- From the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy website http://usabp.org/
Working with the body allows access to unconscious patterns of thought and behavior that often operate outside of conscious awareness. These patterns are formed very early in life, as the brain is developing in relationship to the environment. The patterns make sense from an early, pre-verbal point of view, as they are adaptive measures that help us survive; however, as adults, these same strategies can interfere with our ability to connect with our own internal sense of well-being as well as our ability to be present in our lives and in relationship with others.
Bringing the body into the process of therapy is also about honoring the experience of being human; it is in the body where we have the opportunity to experience our aliveness, and it is in connecting with the body that we gain access to our true nature, power, and resources.
There are many different modalities of body-oriented psychotherapy. The one I am certified in is Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP), a system founded by Jack Lee Rosenberg in the late 1970s. IBP provides a framework for working with interruptions to our inherent core sense of well-being, as well as tools for sustaining connection with ourselves and others, no matter the outside circumstances. The work is about finding freedom from old, self-limiting patterns and beliefs and learning to live from a place of authenticity.
For more information about Integrative Body Psychotherapy, see the IBP website: www.ibponline.org and the Wikipedia entry on IBP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrative_Body_Psychotherapy