Bioenergetic Analysis is a mainstream psychotherapy which believes there is no real separation between the mind and the body. It therefore works with both body and mind within the therapeutic relationship.
Working with your body may mean helping you become more aware of the areas of tension or blocking in your body, e.g. in your diaphragm, shoulders, neck and jaw; more aware of your posture, e.g. locked knees, pelvis tucked forwards or backwards; more aware of your breathing patterns, e.g. shallow breathing or just breathing into your chest and not your tummy.
As a person tells their life story and becomes more acquainted with their deeper feelings and emotions, they are often quite surprised to discover how their bodily tensions, posture and breathing patterns support the suppression of their emotions (usually of sadness, anger and fear), reinforce “unliveable” belief systems (e.g. other people’s needs are more important than my own, therefore I won’t even feel my own needs) and hide their shame (I’m useless, don’t deserve to be loved, everything I do is doomed to failure, etc.).
Image credit: Schroeter & Thomson. 2011
And with the hard work of discovering these feelings and old somatic (body) holding patterns in a supportive relational setting, there can be the exciting discovery that the expression of emotion and the loosening up of bodily tensions results in a feeling of well-being, joy and a new zest for life.
Sometimes this therapeutic work takes a long time to achieve the “hard-work miracle”, as there may be very early childhood and relational traumas involved. At other times people can achieve quick insights that help make life more liveable and joyful.
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