Can Body Psychotherapy Resolve Sexual and Relationship Issues?
Body psychotherapy uses somatic experiencing, metaphors and body image work, empathic listening and feedback, touch, body/mind/spirit awareness and connection, mental health skills, and a wide variety of the best techniques from Eastern and Western teachings, psychology, body therapy and transpersonal revelations and insights. Can Body psychotherapy resolve sexual and relationship issues? You be the judge!
Rubenfeld Synergy Method – developed by Ilana Rubenfeld
RSM helps us learn to listen to the body, become aware of habitual patterns and tensions and decode their messages empowering us to make concrete improvements in our daily lives and relationships. The uniqueness of Rubenfeld Synergy lies in the use of talk and touch together. Touch heightens awareness, both emotionally and physically, and allows us to explore levels that are difficult to access through talk alone.
Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP) – founded by Dr. Jack Lee Rosenberg, further developed with Diana Asay, a Jungian Analyst, and Dr. Marjorie Rand.
IBP offers the therapist and client a unique way of tracking body-mind interruptions to the somatic core sense of self, life’s most basic guidance system. Psychological interruptions include emotional patterns and beliefs developed in early childhood that habitually distort present experiences (Primary Scenario), our protective defenses (Character Style) and how we abandon our core selves for love and approval (Agency). Without knowing the difference between psychological interruptions and core self, we cannot trust our intuition, our inner voice.
Your inner voice is essential in exploring an equally important aspect of life’s journey, the human existential dilemma — the issues of existence. We all must face life’s unanswerable questions: aloneness, death, life, impermanence, aging, authenticity, creativity, integrity, infinity and more. In other words, all sorts of things happen in life. It is not what happens to you, but how you deal internally with what happens that determines your well being and quality of life. IBP teaches you how to come from the wisdom of your core with heightened aliveness in every aspect of your life.
Core Energetics, created by John Pierrakos, MD
John Pierrakos, MD, founder and creator of Core Energetics® often said that the purpose of life is for each of us to fulfill our potential as human beings. But what stops us from becoming what we are capable of? The simplest answer is that we learn to inhibit ourselves. Through the challenges of growing up in imperfect families and an imperfect world, we all learn to build walls of protection. As a result, we constrain our life force and cut off from our essential nature, our spirit.
….In contrast to conventional talk therapy, Core Energetics is a profoundly experiential journey into personal healing and self discovery. Under the supportive guidance of highly trained Core Energetics practitioners, clients will have the opportunity to reclaim disowned emotional truths and to uncover the Core qualities that will allow them to find personal fulfillment. This is accomplished by supporting clients to move their bodies in specific ways that allow for deeper self awareness and release of frozen emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, need, sensuality and ultimately love. Through the Core Energetics experience, clients learn to inhabit their bodies more fully and to live from their hearts more openly.
Bioenergetic Analysis – rooted in the work of Wilhelm Reich and founded by Alexander Lowen Bioenergetic Analysis helps to release chronic muscular tensions, manage affects, expand the capacity for intimacy, heal sexual difficulties and learn new, more fulfilling ways of relating to others. Tenderness, aggression, assertion – and their confluence in sexuality – are seen as core lifesaving forces. The therapeutic relationship provides a place of safety in which healing begins. The therapist reads the body, resonates with its energy, feels the emotions, listens, hears and answers the words. The language of the body (posture/gesture, breathing, motility, expression) is on focus as it indicates the status on the way to personhood – from the past to the present and future. Techniques are used which address the energetic aspect of the individual, including her self-perception, self-expression, and self-possession. These also include work with body contact, boundaries, grounding, and the understanding of muscular tensions as indications of somatic and psychological defences against past trauma. The goal of therapy is more than the absence of symptoms – it is having aliveness, getting a taste of pleasure, joy, love – vibrant health.
Bodynamics – founded by Lisbeth Marcher
Bodynamics starts from the premise that Mutual Connection – (when I am all of me, and you are all of you, can we be in deep connection?) – is the basic drive of development and growth. Our research has shown that there are a series of basic themes around which connection, bonding, and attachment occur. Our clinical experience shows that disturbances in the primary childhood connections in relation to these themes lead to developmental or in some cases traumatic distortions.
….The Bodynamic System combines depth cognitive psychotherapy and an emphasis on relationship, with new research on the psychomotor development of children. The body is integrated into the therapy through knowledge of the psychological function of each muscle.
Radix – developed by Dr. Charles Kelley
“Radix” – from the Latin work meaning “root” or “source,” referring to that force which gives rise to all movement, feeling and growth in a person and in life. It is the life force…chi…prana…that unites body, mind, emotions and spirit…. It is an approach to personal growth and healing that is:
o holistic ~ based on the principles of mind-body unity
o body-centered ~ working directly with the body through movement and attention to breath, body sensation and awareness, energy flow and other non-verbal as well as verbal
o experiential ~ ‘here and now’ engaging in your process
o client centered ~ based on the unique needs of each client
Hakomi – developed by Ron Kurtz
Hakomi…draws from the vast worlds of science, spirituality and psychotherapy, yet the practice itself remains simple.
The Hakomi Method… is based on five therapeutic principles – Mindfulness, Organicity, Non-Violence, the Mind-Body Connection, and Unity – which give rich meaning and a spiritual dimension to the work.
Body psychotherapy research has been sparse and usually focused on individuals. The following pilot study found that body psychotherapy can and does improve couple communication, decision making and sexuality.
One pilot study used Body Psychotherapy techniques with couples where one partner has Traumatic Brain Injury and the other partner does not. The purpose was to learn what issues common to such couples are usefully addressed by what somatic or Body Psychotherapy interventions. Marital satisfaction and emotional well-being were measured by quantitative tests. A 20-page self-report questionnaire was given before and after the somatic therapy. Some of the topics asked about included: decision making, sexuality, self-identity, family, finances, and grief. The study took 12 weeks: 2 intake sessions, 9 weeks of somatic therapy, and 1 ending session. Three couples participated. A significant increase in Marital Satisfaction occurred. Participants noted: increased awareness/empowerment of self and partner, improved communication/connection, and increased presence/embodiment.