APPENDICES

APPENDIX 1 - References specifically on the influence of nonverbal communication in psychiatrical therapeutic settings:

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APPENDIX 2 - PULSATIONEN ARTICLES

Nr.1, November 1991

Weber, Ulrike

Narzissmus. Der Durst an der Quelle

Nr.2, März 1992

Schlegelhofer, Andrea

Reichsche Konzepte in der Arbeit mit Kindern

Bolen, Peter & Gaul, Sylvia

Grenzgänger. Über die Problematik einer Überweisung zum Psychiater

Glatz, Regina

Schizoide Strukturen, ihr Werden, ihr Sein und der therapeutische Ansatz

Bolen, Peter

Übertragungsheilung

Nr.3, Juni 1992

Bolen, Peter

Das Selbst

Schnattmann, Monika

Verbale Kommunikation in der körperorientierten Psychotherapie nach Georg Downing

Nr.4, September 1992

Finger, Kurt

Überlegungen zur Anthropologie vor dem Hintergrund des personalistischen Denkansatzes bei Martin Buber

Bolen, Peter

Gemeinsame wurzeln in theoretischen Überlegungen von Wilhelm Reich und Fritz Perls

Nr.5, Dezember 1992

Hofmeister, Joachim

Überlegungen zur charakteranalytischen Vegetotherapie nach W. Reich, Teil 1

Bolen, Peter

Funktionelle Orgonomie versus Emotionale Reintegration

Olivia, Candotti

Sadomasochismus

Nr.6, März 1993

Bolen, Peter

Arbeit an den Gelenken

Wedral, Heinrich

Evaluationsfragebogen. Zur wissenschaftlichen Dokumentation der körperpsychotherapeutischen Praxis

Krampl, Monika

Über den männlichen Sprachgebrauch in der Körperpsychotherapie

Nr. 7, Juni 1993

Hofmeister, Joachim

Widerstand ist nicht nur Abwehr sondern Antwort und bestmügliche Reaktion

Bolen, Peter

Die Wurzeln der Emotionalen Reintegration

Bolen, Peter

Der soziale Panzer

Wedral, Heinrich

Widerstandskonzepte bei Arthur Janov

Nr.8, Oktober 1993

Gaul, Sylvia

Zur Entwicklung von weiblicher Geschlechtsidentität aus der Sicht von Frauen

Rautner, Irene

Schöpferische Freiheit in der Psychotherapie

Nr.9, Dezember 1993

Koch-Rokop, Maria

Bewegung ist der unmittelbarste Ausdruck des Ich

Tanew, Gerhild

Fallgeschichten

Stalzer, Udo

Ego-state Therapie

Nr.10, März 1994

Bolen, Peter

Elsa. Eine Fallgeschichte aus der Praxis der emotionalen Reintegration

Zitt, Christian

Zur Angst vor Sexualisierung

Rautner, Irene

Wirksamkeit. Ein Bericht zum Stand der Diplomarbeit Über den Wirksamkeitsnachweis der Emotionalen Reintegration

Jakel, Barbara

Körpertherapie versus Psychiatrie

Nr.11, Juni 1994

Krampl, Monika

Eästˆrungen. Erziehung und Rollenklischees sind Auslüser für Eästˆrungen.

Wold, Eva

Eignung für Körperpsychotherapie. Kriterien für die Arbeit mit Klienten.

Falkner-Amsz, Sylvia

Therapie und Heilung. Eine Analyse aus der Sicht der Biosynthese

Tepfer, Thomas

Psychotherapeuten auf dem Pröfstand

Nr.12, Oktober 1994

Finger, Kurt

Überlegungen zum Menschenbild der Emotionalen Reintegration

Wedral, Heinrich

Persönlichkeitstheorie der Emotionalen Reintegration

Hofmeister, Joachim

Enwicklungspsychologische Ansätze der Emotionalen Reintegration

Bolen, Peter

Erstmanifestation eines Grand Mal in einer Therapiesitzung

Nr.13, Dezember 1994

Kurzel-Runtscheiner, E.

Inzest und Kindesmiþbrauch

Bolen, Peter

Paranoia und Borderline

Finger Kurt

Über die spirituell religiöse Dimension in der Psychotherapie

Nr.14, März 1995

Bolen, Peter

Fallstudien ¸ber die Dynamik von Ðbertragung und Gegen¸bertragung aus der Praxis der Emotionalen

Reintegration

Wedral, Heinrich

Evaluation der psychotherapeutischen Methode Emotionale Reintegration.

Nr.15, Juni 1995

Boadella, David

Inspiration und Verkörperung. über qualitative Ebenen des Ausdruckes in der Körperpsychotherapie.

Nr.16, Oktober 1995

Pitzal, Werner

Kontakt und Beziehung. Energie- und Entwicklungsarbeit.

Bolen, Peter

Körperorientierte Psychotherapie und Lebensberatung.

Hofmeister, Joachim

GegenÜbertagungswiderstände des Therapeuten aus der Sicht der Emotionalen Reintegration

Nr.17, Dezember 1995

Jakel, Barbara

Spirituelle Aspekte in der Körperpsychotherapie

Pitzal, Werner

Kontakt und Beziehung,Teil 2. Energie und Entwicklungsparadigma.

Wold, Eva

Schwindel. Eine Fallstudie.

Cotta, Jose Alberto

Der embryonale Hintergrund oder die mutterleibsbezogene Therapie.

Nr.18, März 1996

Bolen, Peter

Inzest

Wedral, Heinrich

Pauschale Verurteilung der Primürtherapie? Ein Kommentar zu einem Gespräch mit Alice Miller.

Jakel, Barbara

Spirituelle Aspekte in der Körperpsychotherapie. Teil 2

Reich, Eva

Orgonenergie und orgastische Potenz. Teil 1

Nr.19., Juni 1996

Geißler, Peter

Ergebnisse der empirischen S‰uglingsforschung in ihrer Annahme auf die Psychoanalyse: Folgerungen für die analytische körperbezogene Psychotherapie, Teil 1

Bolen, Peter, Hofmeister, Joachim, Zitt Christian

Energiekonzepte. Ein Round Table Diskussion

Nr.20, Sept. 1996

Geißler, Peter

Ergebnisse der empirischen S‰uglingsforschung, Teil 2

Vieregge, Joachim

Psychotherapie und der feinstoffliche Körper

Zitt, Christian

Oedipus- die Verdrehung einer Geschichte

Nr.21, Dezember 1996

Geißler, Peter

Ergebnisse der empirischen S‰uglingsforschung, Teil 3

Jakel, Barbara

Spirituelle Aspekte in der Körperpsychotherapie, Teil 3

Hohenau, Felix

Interpersonale Sichtweise in de Körperpsychotherapie

Kignel, Rubens

Traum, Körper und Grounding

Nr. 22., März 1997

Geißler, Peter

Ergebnisse der empirischen S‰uglingsforschung, Teil 4

Jacon, Silvia

Charge - Ladung und die therapeutische Beziehung

Nr.23, Juni 1997

Geuter, Ulfried

Körperbilder und Körpertechniken in der Psychotherapie

Reich, Eva

Orgonomie und orgastische Potenz, Teil 2

Nr.24, September 1997

Costa, Isaias

Schocktrauma - eine Einf¸hrung

Bolen, Peter

Die drei Bereiche der Emotionalen Reintegration

Nr.25, Dezember 1997

Nest, Franz

Körperintegrative Analyse, Teil 1

Bolen, Peter

Die Körperpsychotherapie ist ein Teil des psychotherapeutischen Feldes

Nr.26, März 1998

Bolen, Peter

Zur Arbeit mit Übertragung in der Körperpsychotherapie

Finger, Kurt

Anmerkungen zum wissenschaftstheoretischen Selbstverst‰ndnis der Emotionalen Reintegration

Nest, Franz

Körperintegrative Analyse, Teil 2

Finger-Ossinger, Margit

Mein Selbstbild als Therapeutin der Emotionalen Reintegration

Nr.27, Juni 1998

Geißler, Peter

Zur Arbeit mit Übertragung in der Körperpsychotherapie. Eine Stellungnahme zu Peter Bolens Artikel.

Boadella, David

Wissenschaft, Politik, Psychotherapie und der Körper

Costa, Isaias

Psychotherapie und Wissenschaft

Karigl, Georg

Selbststeuerung - eine Illusion?

Nr. 28, Sept. 1998

Boadella, David

Körperpsychotherapie und Übertragung. Kommentar zum

Artikel von Peter Bolen und Peter Geißler.

Bolen, Peter

Angst vor und Sehnsucht nach Ber¸hrung

Nr.29, Dezember 1998

Bolen, Peter

Gemeinsamkeiten der Emotionalen Reintegration, der Gestalttherapie und des Zen Buddhismus

Geißler Peter

Körperpsychotherapie und Übertragung. Antwort auf David Boadella

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APPENDIX 11

The EABP has organised the following European Body-Psychotherapy Congresses.

  1. Body-Psychotherapy in Europe, Davos, Switzerland, 1987
  2. Body, Health & Society, Seefeld, Austria, 1989
  3. Words, Touch & Transference, Lindau, Germany, 1991
  4. Science and Love, Strasbourg, France, 1993
  5. Six Perspectives on Body-Psychotherapy, Carry-le-Rouet, France, 1995
  6. 100 Years of Wilhelm Reich: Energy, Sexuality, Character & Society, Pamhagen, Austria, 1997

    These have all been 3-4 day residential Congresses and usually attended by between 250 and 350 people.

The 1999 EABP Congress will be in Travemunde, N. Germany in September 1999 and the topic is:

The Flesh of the Soul: The Body We Work With


EABP and EABP Members have been involved in the organisation of the following

International Congresses:

Congresses organised by the International Scientific Committee for Body-Psychotherapy (Mexico 1987; Montreal 1990; Barcelona 1993)
International Congress of Somatotherapy and Somatanalysis (Paris 1987; Montevideo 1989; Strasbourg 1991; Buenos Aires 1992)
International Congresses on Body-centred Psychotherapy (Zürich 1986, 1989)
1st U.S. National Conference on Body Oriented Psychotherapy (Boston 1996) and
1st U.S.A.B.P. Congress in Boulder, Colorado, 1998.
Wilhelm Reich Festival (Belgrade 1997)
Wilhelm Reich Conference, (Sao Paulo, Brazil 1997)
5th International Congress of Psycho-Corporel Therapies: Love Work and Knowledge at the XXI Cth Dawn (Oxtepec, Mexico 1999)
BodyWisdom: (San Bernadino, Ca. 1999)


National Congresses:

The Italian National Association for Body-Psychotherapy has organised the following congresses: Napoli 1990; Catania 1992; Milano 1996.
The Swiss National Association organised an inaugural meeting in Zürich and is organising a National Congress in Nov 1996 in Basel.
German National Association Foundation Meeting, Munich 1994 and Congress, Berlin 1998.
Dutch National Association: Amsterdam 1998


Many of the different modalities have their own annual or bi-annual Congress. The list of these is not yet fully compiled.

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APPENDIX 14 : Extracts from Bioenergetics website: http://www.bioenergetics.com

Introduction: Bioenergetic Analysis is a psychodynamic psychotherapy which combines work with the body and the mind to help reduce psychological problems. It is a form of psychotherapy that has a psycho-developmental basis. Things that happened to one as a child greatly affect one's adult self-perception and one's behavior towards others. That is, traumas that happen in childhood affect one's way of interacting in their current life and relationships. Bioenergetic Analysis sees these traumas as affecting one's thought processes as well as one's body.

Bioenergetic psychotherapists believe that there is a correlation between the mind and the body. The individual is viewed as a psychosomatic unity. What affects the body affects the mind; and what affects the mind affects the body. The psychological defenses one uses to handle pain and the stress of life - rationalizations, denials, and suppressions, are also anchored in the body. They appear in the body as unique muscular patterns that inhibit self-expression. These patterns can be identified and understood by a bioenergetic psychotherapist who knows how to look at the structure, movement and breathing patterns in a person's body. Bioenergetic psychotherapists, unlike other psychotherapists, focus special attention on the muscular patterns in a person's body. They are interested in these patterns and their relationship to movement, breath, posture and emotional expression. Every physical expression of the body has meaning; the quality of a handshake, the posture, the look in the eyes, the tone of the voice, the way of moving, the amount of energy, etc. If these expressions are fixed and habitual, they tell a story of past experience.

The bioenergetic psychotherapist studies these muscular patterns and introduces the client to physical expressions or exercises to help them experience in present time these patterns of constriction in their body. The therapist explores with the client what it would feel like to begin to release these patterns and recover some of the feelings they have repressed during childhood and continue to repress in their adult life. The bioenergetic psychotherapist also helps their clients come to understand how and why their patterns of constriction developed; how these very defenses that are hindering their life today, allowed them to survive in an early environment that was not supportive of their being.

As these repressed emotions emerge, clients begin to realize that these patterns inhibit their capacity for spontaneity and creativity in self-expression. They begin to understand that as these defenses became chronic, so have the muscular patterns in their body. These somatic defenses affect their emotional well-being by decreasing energy level and restricting the capacity for genuine self-expression in relationships; they are not free enough in their body to feel joy, happiness, love, sadness, fear, sensuality and anger. As clients progress in bioenergetic psychotherapy, old, ineffective patterns which block connection, pleasure, spontaneity and joy slowly dissolve. Through the physical and emotional release of body work and the experience of a safe, healthy, supportive connection with a therapist, the bioenergetic client relates to his/her self and others in new, more satisfying ways. Through identifying patterns of blocked self-expression in the body, the bioenergetic psychotherapist develops a clearer understanding of the various personality types and their corresponding psychological problems. Understanding a person's specific patterns of blocked self-expression suggests the basic defensive structure of the individual which developed as a result of their personal psychological history. In the context of bioenergetic theory, discovering patterns of blocked self-expression and their corresponding connection to personality type, allows the emergence of a potential framework for the course of therapy.


Bioenergetic Analysis: A Therapist's Perspective

Bioenergetic Analysis has developed out of psychoanalysis. Freud's student, Wilhelm Reich began to work directly with the body as a psychotherapeutic technique in the 1930's. In his "Vegetotherapy" he particularly worked to deepen and liberate breathing in order to improve and intensify emotional experience. Reich's students Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos further developed and expanded this method into what today is called Bioenergetic Analysis. (Lowen 1958, 1975).

The basis of the bioenergetic method is the tight interweave of mental-psychic and physical processes (Reich, 1971, speaks of "functional identity" of mind and body). The most important human life experiences find expression not only in mental-psychic functioning but also in the body: in posture, in reaction patterns and also in inhibitions of motility, breathing and expression. These embodied patterns represent a "character structure" which influences physical self-perception, self-esteem, self-image and basic patterns of interchange with the environment.

Broadly speaking, in its theory Bioenergetic Analysis corresponds to the psychoanalytic approach. The essential difference lies in the method of treatment. The bioenergetic therapist possess in his/her use of body-related therapy, a "second language" with which to communicate with the patient.

While the patient in his physical actions displays the basic patterns in which he interacts with the world and with his relevant reference persons, the bioenergetic therapist can respond on the body level as well, giving support, confirming, encouraging, offering resistance or frustrating. In this way, a body-oriented dialogue comes into being which, in accordance with the patient's current ability or readiness, complements, accompanies and substitutes for verbal communication with the patient. (1)

This "second language," experience shows, often speaks to the preverbal experience of the patient and thus revives early object relationships. In this way one succeeds more easily than in purely verbal therapy in reaching a sufficiently deep level of experience at which the basic structure of the acute problem or disorder becomes visible and can be treated.

Body-related work becomes efficient psychotherapeutically in two complementary ways:

First: Previously avoided movement, feelings and experiences are (re-)activated by body-related therapeutic interventions. This allows unconscious psychic material to come to light and to become accessible to mental-psychic elaboration and treatment. Body-related work is thus a means to access the unconscious material of the patient comparable to the interpretation of dreams in classical psychoanalysis. All the while the body makes its' appearance as a phenomenological reality, as a space for self-experience and as a bearer of expression and meaning in a symbolic enactment. The curative effect is based upon a new-found possibility for processing early experience, thus making possible their re-evaluation, completion and integration within the therapeutic process.

Second: Although what was said above would seem sufficient to justify the use of body-oriented methods of psychotherapy, Reich and Lowen suggest yet another mode of operation; the mobilization of healing energy by energetic activation on an immediate body level. Essential techniques in this respect are the deepening of the breathing, releasing muscular tension by special breathing and expressive techniques and muscle release interventions. Techniques are also designed to enhance physical relaxation and motility in general, as well as encouragement and support of such unconscious physical processes as the free and deep expression of feelings. In doing so, intellectual mental processes are by-passed for the time being and only the physical changes of the aforementioned kind are attended to. Even more importantly, the newly gained access to deep emotional experience changes a number of physiological parameters along with the self esteem of the person as well as many other intellectual mental processes. Connected to this process, the person's contact with his social environment also changes. In accordance with the underlying hypothesis, all these changes take place as a consequence of the energetic (that is physiological, muscular, etc.) occurrences.

In addition, Lowen has established the concept and practice of Grounding, which occurs first of all on the physical level. Being grounded is to have a physically secure but flexible stance. Phenomenological this means to be connected to reality. The emphasis on grounding and on contact with reality leads in therapy to working on the social directness of nearly all emotional movements. Thus the social, familial, professional, political and ideological relatedness of the person also become the focus of attention in therapy.

Bioenergetic therapy as taught by Lowen and his collaborators combine these methods of body-oriented work with a consideration of the social system as it relates to a therapy process organized flexibly according to the development of the individual case. This combination of inner psychological-phenomenological, physical-energetical and social-systemic work is the real characteristic feature of bioenergetic analytic therapy. Lately, increasing importance is being attached to working with the therapeutic relationship in the sense of object relations theory. The enormous complexity involved in this undertaking makes far-reaching demands upon the therapist while on the other hand it also makes understandable why attempts at systemizing descriptions of this therapy method are scarce.

Bioenergetic Analysis was primarily developed as a method of treatment for persons with neurotic disorders (depression, anxiety) and for persons with problems concerning sexuality and relationship. Because of the access to bodily experience, it is good for the treatment of pre-verbal personality disorders (like narcissistic and borderline) and of course for the treatment of psychosomatic diseases, especially functional ones. People without any clinical disorder can undertake a bioenergetic analysis to find a satisfying way out of a life crisis, to deepen their way of feeling or to free their experience of joy and creativity.

(1) {Physical interactions should not simply be equated with touching. Apart from touching interventions such as massage, pressure upon certain muscular areas, physical holding, supporting, etc., there are also many kinds of bodily interventions which do not involve touching the body; e.g. the invitation to perform certain movements, take certain postures, feel oneself in relation to imagined or substitutionary objects, or as an experiment to interact with the therapist in a particular kind of way.

References


What is Bioenergetic Psychotherapy?

Bioenergetic Analysis is a psychodynamic psychotherapy which combines work with the body and the mind to help reduce psychological problems. It is a form of psychotherapy that has a psycho-developmental basis. Things that happened to one as a child greatly affect one's adult self-perception and one's behavior towards others. That is, traumas that happen in childhood affect one's way of interacting in their current life and relationships. Bioenergetic analysis sees these traumas affecting one's thought processes as well as their body.

Bioenergetic psychotherapists believe that there is a correlation between the mind and the body. The individual is viewed as a psychosomatic unity. What affects the body affects the mind; and what affects the mind affects the body. The psychological defenses one uses to handle pain and the stress of life as they grow up; rationalizations, denials, and suppressions, are also anchored in the body. They appear in the body as unique muscular patterns that inhibit self-expression. These patterns can be identified and understood by a bioenergetic psychotherapist who knows how to look at the structure, movement and breathing patterns in a person's body.

Bioenergetic psychotherapists, unlike other therapists, focus special attention on the muscular patterns in a person's body. They are interested in these patterns and their relationship to movement, breath, posture and emotional expression. Every physical expression of the body has meaning; the quality of a handshake, the posture, the look in the eyes, the tone of the voice, the way of moving, the amount of energy, etc. If these expressions are fixed and habitual, they tell a story of past experience.

The bioenergetic psychotherapist attempts to read these muscular patterns and introduces the client to physical expressions or exercises to help them experience in present time these patterns of constriction in their body. The psychotherapist explores with the client what it would feel like to begin to release these patterns and recover some of the feelings they have repressed during childhood and continue to repress in their adult life. The bioenergetic psychotherapist also helps their client come to understand how and why their patterns of constriction developed; how these very defenses that are hindering their life today, allowed them to survive in an early environment that was not supportive of their being.

As these repressed emotions emerge, the client often begins to realize that these patterns inhibit their capacity for spontaneity and creativity in self-expression. They begin to understand that as these defenses became chronic, so have the muscular patterns in their body. These somatic defenses affect their emotional well-being by decreasing energy level and restricting the capacity for genuine self-expression in relationships; they are not free enough in their body to feel joy, happiness, love, sadness, fear, sensuality and anger. As the client progresses in bioenergetic psychotherapy, old, ineffective patterns of blocking connection, pleasure, spontaneity and joy slowly dissolve. Through the release of body work and the experience of a safe, healthy, supportive connection with a therapist, the bioenergetic client relates to his/her self and others in new, more satisfying ways.

Through identifying patterns of blocked self-expression in the body, the bioenergetic psychotherapist develops a clearer understanding of the various personality types and their corresponding psychological problems. Understanding a person's specific patterns of blocked self-expression suggests the basic defensive structure of the individual which developed as a result of their personal psychological history. In the context of bioenergetic theory, discovering patterns of blocked self-expression and their corresponding connection to personality type, allows the emergence of a potential framework for the course of therapy.

The bioenergetic psychotherapist utilizes body work methods and exercises to help a person become aware of tensions and release them through appropriate movement. Verbal exploration of emotional conflicts and their relationship to an individual's personal history is also an integral part of bioenergetic psychotherapy.

Bioenergetic Analysis and The Person

Dr. Alexander Lowen, founder of Bioenergetic Analysis writes that we have each participated along with our parents, heredity, nature and the environment in forming a way of being in the world. The tangible record of this evolving, dynamic process is our body, which is composed of living cells, muscles and organs that pulsate in expanding and contracting ways.

Our personality is an embodiment of the interplay between the pulsatory forces of life and the conflicts, demands, restrictions, stimulation and excitation that arise out of the relationships that we have thus far encountered. The interplay among these forces influences us in the creation of our personality. In simple language, our personality reflects the way in which we attempt to avoid distress and establish a sense of well-being and control in the world by creating a working balance between possessing and expressing ourselves in relating to others. The complexity and originality of this creative life triumph is more fully disclosed when we understand the developmental history of thoughts and actions in regard to self and others and how this history is revealed in the form and motility of our bodies.

Our total person, mind and body, is functionally one in its expression of our struggle in being an autonomous, loving person. When the personality balance we have established becomes sufficiently disturbed or it no longer gives us former benefits, we begin to feel anxious, compulsive, depressed or generally dissatisfied. We enter therapy looking for a way to change. We slowly begin to understand our old way of being as containing costly compromises that have resulted in a life which now feels limited, constricted or unfulfilled.

Bioenergetic Psychotherapy Offers Hope for Change

People enter psychotherapy looking for a way to change. In Bioenergetic psychotherapy, as we talk about our life problems that bring us into therapy, we begin to recognize that our current condition is directly related to our inability to respond to new situations in our life. Our physical form and corresponding personality pattern is not physically and emotionally flexible enough to move with and integrate the excitation produced in some new situation. We are therefore unable to respond appropriately or in a fulfilling manner to our life's demands. While we must respect the creative solutions that we found to childhood conflicts and emotions around terror, abandonment, manipulation, and rejection, our stereotypical ways of being must be analyzed and understood as survival patterns. The modification of these patterns requires an intense, long term relationship with a skilled therapist, where the underlying anxieties associated with change can be carefully confronted and new, more appropriate means of relating to these anxieties can be achieved. This change is effected through both an active understanding of how the body is an expression of the personality and through a healing, empathic therapeutic relationship.


Bioenergetic Psychotherapy and Personality

Bioenergetic Analysis is a technique for

All distortions and denials of reality are compensated by special body attitudes. For example, the neurotic individual who is afraid of his feelings of fear, covers them by an exaggerated expression of courage which is manifested in a fixed postural attitude. His shoulders are squared off, his chest is inflated and his belly is sucked in. The patient is not aware that his attitude is a defense against fear until he finds that he cannot drop his shoulders, relax his chest or let his belly out. When the muscular tensions are released, the fear and its historical cause often rise to consciousness.

Every physical expression of the body has meaning; the quality of a handshake, the posture, the look in the eyes, the tone of the voice, the way of moving, etc. If these expressions are fixed and habitual, they tell a story of past experience. The interpretation of fixed, physical attitudes and the work upon chronic muscular tensions which underlie them add a new dimension of reality to the therapeutic experience.

In working with the body, two principles are paramount:

1) Any limitation of motility is both a result and a cause of emotional difficulties. It arises as a result of an unresolved historical conflict, but the persistence of the tension creates present-day emotional difficulties that clash with the demands of adult reality. Every physical constriction interferes with and prevents a unitary response to a situation.

2) Any restriction of natural respiration is both the result and cause of anxiety. Anxiety in childhood situations disturbs natural respiration. If the anxiety-producing situation persists and is prolonged, the disturbance of respiration becomes structured in thoracic and abdominal tension. The inability to breathe freely under emotional stress is the physiological basis for the experience of anxiety in such stressful situations.

Unity and coordination of physical responses depend upon the integration of the respiratory movements and the aggressive movements of the body. To the degree that respiration and motility are freed from the restrictions of chronic tensions, the physical function of the client will improve. To that degree, his contact with reality on the physical level will expand and deepen. But this will happen only if there is a commitment to and corresponding improvement in his grasp of reality on the psychic and interpersonal levels. One should not be misled, however, by seeming improvements in a client's functioning on the psychic level and interpersonal levels which are not accompanied by an analogous improvement in the physical functioning.

Through special movements and body positions, the client in bioenergetic psychotherapy gains a deeper awareness of and contact with his body. From this awareness and contact, he begins to understand the relation between his present physical state and the experiences of his infancy and childhood which created it. He learns that his denial of the body is a rejection of his need for love in order to avoid hurt and disappointment. He can interpret his rigidities as a defense against overwhelming rage. He can sense that his immobility stems from a deep-seated fear of aggression. Given the opportunity to express his rage by pounding or kicking the couch, and given the chance to voice his negativity, he discovers that he will not be abandoned or destroyed for expressing his feeling. Through the acceptance of his body and its feelings, the individual broadens his contact with all other aspects of reality.

Since the body is the base of all reality functions, any increase in a person's contact with his body will produce a significant improvement in his self image (body image), in his interpersonal relationships, in the quality of his thinking and feeling, and in his enjoyment of life.


The Use of Touch in Bioenergetic Analysis

(Portions of the following text are from Touching in Psychotherapy by Robert Hilton, Ph.D., Costa Mesa,California, USA,1997)

Touching [a client in psychotherapy] revives all of the repressed feelings in the body and is not a panacea. It revives hope but it also revives pain, rage, and despair. Being alive and living without physical contact can be hell. Isolation is a killer. We are all aware of the studies that have been done in orphanages regarding the importance of physical contact for these children. We are also aware of studies that link sociopathy and psychopathy to inadequate symbiosis during the first few months of life. People who commit violent crimes often reveal a history of a lack of physical contact as children, or contact that was so brutal that it created a numbness in them toward the pain of others. Because of this lack of, or misuse of contact as children, they do not have an empathic awareness toward others. Often the misuse of contact comes not in deprivation but in manipulation and seduction.

All of our clients can trace the origin of their problems to some form of abuse in this area. It may take the form of manipulation, smothering, seduction, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, deprivation or simply lack of awareness of the need for contact. The important step for us as therapists is to understand the nature of the individual trauma and thereby prepare ourselves more adequately as healers for the hurt child in our clients.

Once a person has withdrawn and armored himself around a particular loss or deprivation, he seeks to repair this loss in the world. He is also highly defended against ever opening up again to the original pain. By studying the contraction patterns in the body, the bioenergetic psychotherapist can help the patient understand the self and what fears he must face to free himself again.

Psychotherapeutic Touch

When you touch someone you are bringing additional energy into this person's system and are stimulating a particular response in his/her body. You are inviting this person unconsciously to allow the delicate equilibrium s/he has established in his/her energy system to change and to respond to the environment in a way that may appear to him/her to be life threatening. Remember, the equilibrium s/he established is for survival. To change that equilibrium, by responding to your touch may, be asking the person to experience the anxiety that was, at one time, life threatening. When his/her life force was originally open, the environment could not support it. Thus, s/he will be wondering if you really know what you are doing by asking him/her to trust you in a way in which s/he has always been disappointed. You also need to ask yourself if you are ready for the response that may come as a result of your touch.

Touching the client adds warmth to the frozen and contracted area of his/her body. This may help to bring him/her back to life but it will also revive the pain connected with why s/he had to contract in the beginning. Thus, touching, as it changes the equilibrium in the body, brings back the rage, sorrow, love and fear that have lain buried in frozenness. Touching at times, appears to be cruel because it revives a hope that cannot be fulfilled and yet, not to touch may leave a person lost in his own frozen wasteland.

The original frozenness in our bodies came because of early childhood issues. The melting of that frozenness invites the person to once again experience the blocked sensation in his/her body and to express the repressed feeling. This expression always has a regressive quality to it since it is unfinished business from the past. With our touch we are asking the child within the patient to respond once more to the world. Thus, the patient in a transferential relationship with you may interpret your touch quite differently from what you meant it to be. All touching has to be understood in light of the transference and frame of reference of the client.

Transference and Touch

Understanding the impact of the transference, the therapist must accept responsibility for the response s/he elicits when s/he touches the client. When I {Dr. Hilton} choose to touch a client who is very desperate for contact or who sees me as a love object, I know I am inviting a relationship that will produce pain. Recently, I chose to make contact with a client that I knew was in a desperate situation and saw me as a life line. Later, when she felt better and was angry at me that I could not fulfill her expectations, she said, 'You made me fuse with you and now you tell me you are unavailable.' It would be easy to say to her, 'I didn't make you fuse with me, I simply touched you when you were desperate. Don't blame me that you interpreted my touch the wrong way or put implications on it that I didn't mean. I'm innocent.' With knowledge of character and the nature of transference, I must accept her feeling and accept the responsibility of eliciting it even though I did not create it, nor can I fulfill it. But I can convey to her that it was done so that we might successfully live through her disappointment. Of course, touching does not always elicit fusion. Sometimes it will produce rage, fear or other basic feeling reactions which were denied, misused, or discouraged in the client's family. We, as therapists, need to be aware of the client's history in order to relate our touch therapeutically to the situation.

Congruence and Touch

Another important issue around touch is congruence. It is important to have a direct relationship between touch and the feeling that is communicated with touch. We often touch our clients and children with only the awareness of what we intend to communicate and do not actually pay attention to what communication is coming back to us as a result of our touching.

Al Lowen {Founder of Bioenergetic Analysis} has often said that it is not enough that we touch our clients but that they also be able to touch us. To be able to make appropriate physical contact with the therapist today is to help them complete the cycle that was interrupted. Since our primary ego was a body ego, at times only physical contact can give the client the experience of our presence that allows him/her to move from his/her infantile hysteria to a state of energetic equilibrium.

We, as therapists, need to provide a safe enough environment to allow the blocked movement in the client to once again be expressed with appropriate contact. I may be touched and loved by my therapist, but I must take the risk of opening and letting my own energy out to her, facing all of the risks that go with that. Reaching to touch from a deeply regressed place may be terrifying, but it is necessary in order for the energy to be released from the armoring of the childhood defenses and integrated into the adult self. Otherwise, it stays stuck in the transference.

Countertransference and Touch

Countertransference reactions are stimulated in many ways and can be used very productively in the therapeutic relationship. As a therapist, I am aware of the difference between insight and the powerful life and death forces in the body. Many therapists, denying or disregarding the power of their own feelings, have been trapped in acting out against their clients. The problem is that prohibition does not stop acting out, even when your reputation and career are at stake. The powerful life forces in the body must be recognized and integrated into the personality. Otherwise, they wait like the soldiers in the Trojan horse ready to overwhelm the unsuspecting citadel of the ego. The greatest safeguard against the misuse of touch is to know your own responses and boundaries in regard to touching and being touched.

Therapists are called upon to deal with the intensity of peoples' passions and yet we have had very little training on how to recognize and deal with our own. When we have been taught simply to control these feelings with our wills, we are subject to great anxiety and failure in the presence of their power. This is especially true when we open ourselves and our clients to physical contact. And yet, touching is part of being human and the way the child in us learns to integrate and trust our feelings.

It was the misuse of touch that created our pain and forced us into developing our defensive structures. It is with the hope of the release of that pain and the recovery of our hearts and lives that we have, as clients and therapists, risked touching again. The heart of that recovery is to be found in the re-enlivening of the body. To be in our body is to live with the desire to love, to touch and be touched. I have found that the most powerful therapeutic modality I know of to help us in that recovery is Bioenergetic Analysis.

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APPENDIX 15 : THE HAKOMI METHOD

THE INTEGRATED USE OF MINDFULNESS, THE BODY, AND NON-VIOLENCE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY.

 

WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE HAKOMI METHOD

"Hakomi is the absolute 'cutting edge' in modern therapeutic technique." John Bradshaw

"Therapy is about who you are in the very heart of yourself. That's the flavor--discovering yourself, discovering your real attitudes toward the most important pieces in your life." Ron Kurtz

"Hakomi Therapy fills a crucial need with a very detailed map of creating change on a deep emotional level. Hakomi presents some astounding methods for getting to core material. It is well grounded in theory and revolutionary in its results." Association Humanistic Psychology Book Review

"The most powerful thing the therapist does for us is provide a setting, a nourishing womb, in which our lives can unfold. Through the physical setting and, most important, the setting of his own being, he creates a place of safety; a trustworthy place where all life is befriended through an affirmation of faith in our wisdom and creativity." Greg Johanson

"Hakomi is a beautiful expression of the partnership model: a way of healing that recognizes not only the essential partnership between body and mind, but between therapist and client; that shows that inclusion, empowerment, and non-violence make it possible for us to listen to ourselves and move to new levels of consciousness." Riane Eisler

INTRODUCTION

The Hakomi Method of body-centered therapy originated in the mid-1970s by the internationally renowned therapist and author, Ron Kurtz, and members of his Training Staff. In 1980, to promote the teaching and evolution of Hakomi, Ron and his Training Staff founded the Hakomi Institute. Today, Hakomi Trainings and Workshops are presented throughout the world, from Eugene to Europe, from New York to New Zealand. The Hakomi Method is an efficient and powerful process for discovering and then studying mind/body patterns and core beliefs as you experience them.

HAKOMI EXPERIENCE

Therapy is first about discovering. It's about who you are and about what your deepest emotional attitudes are. It's not just about you think you are. It's not opinion. It's not something you can know with the intellect. It's about who you are in the very heart of yourself. That's the flavor of psychotherapy--discovering yourself, discovering your real attitudes toward the most important pieces of your life. It takes courage to look at yourself. It takes a real desire to know and a willingness to accept whatever is there. It helps to b e playful too. At some point, you realize that the things you thought you were stuck with, your character traits, are changeable. You can be free of them. It helps if you don't take these parts of yourself too seriously. Courage, a desire to know and be free, and playfulness--these are necessary. The journey is from "Who are you?" to "Who you are!" At the end you have consistency and vision. You know your needs and direction. You can say, "This I will do and this I won't!". You have resolved many conflicts in which one part of you wants something and another part is against it. It's not a final place you reach. The journey itself becomes a way of life. If it ends at all, it ends in enlightenment. The self one is interested in is no longer the individual ego, but he unbounded self of the spirit. Because, finally, that is who you are.

CORE MATERIAL

Hakomi helps people change "core material." Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns, and deeply held emotional dispositions. This material shapes the styles, habits, behaviors, perceptions and attitudes which define us a individuals. Our responses to the major themes of life--safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, responsibility, appreciation, sexuality, spirituality, etc.--are all organized by our core material.

Some of this core material supports our being who we wish to be, while some of it--learned in response to difficult situations--continues to limit us. Hakomi allows the client to distinguish between the two, and to modify willingly any material that restricts his or her wholeness.

THE METHOD

In pursuing this material, the Method follows a certain general outline. First, we work to build a therapist/client relationship which maximizes safety, respect, and the cooperation of the unconscious. With a good working relationship established, we then help the client focus on and study how his or her core material shapes personal experience.

To permit this study, we establish and use a distinct state of consciousness called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is characterized by relaxed volition, a gentle and sustained inward focus of attention, heightened sensitivity, freedom from judgment and effort, and the ability to notice and name the contents of consciousness.

The heart of the Method is the precise study of the client's present felt experiences, as a way to discover personal organizing material. These experiences are either naturally occurring, or deliberately and gently evoked by having the client participate in carefully designed "experiments". These might be hearing a statement about a key theme, or having the client change his or her physical position. It might be asking him or her to consider a certain possibility, or making a certain gesture. Through the "experiment", the client is invited to allow and carefully notice whatever responses happen inside of them, and ultimately to feel within their being the core factors that shape such responses. Once arrived at in this felt way, the core material can be studied, evaluated, and transformed.

The basic method, then, is this: 1) to establish a relationship in which it is safe for the client to become aware; 2) to notice or evoke experiences that lead to the discovery of organizing core material; and 3) to seek healing changes in the core material. All else that we do is in support of this primary process.

HAKOMI FOUNDATIONS

Drawing from a wide range of sources, Hakomi has evolved into a complex, elegant, and highly effective form of psychotherapy. At its most basic level, Hakomi is the therapeutic expression of a specific set of universal Principles: Mindfulness, Unity, Mind /Body /Spirit Holism, Non-violence, and Organicity. These tenets inform every aspect of the work and all the special techniques come organically from the Principles.

Hakomi is a Hopi Indian word which means "How do you stand in relation to these many realms?". A more modern translation is "Who are you?". some of the origins of Hakomi stem from Buddhism and Taoism, especially concepts like gentleness, compassion, mindfulness, and going with the grain. Other influences come from general systems theory, which incorporates the idea of respect for the wisdom of each individual as a living organic system that spontaneously organizes matter and energy, and selects from the environment what it needs in a way that maintains its goals, programs, and identity. Hakomi Therapy itself is like a spontaneously self-correcting organism in a process of constant becoming.

Hakomi also draws from modern body-centered psychotherapist such as Psychomotor, Reichian, Bioenergetics, Gestalt, Feldenkrais, Structural Bodywork, Focusing, Ericksonian Hypnosis, and Neurolinguistic Programming. Hakomi is a synthesis of philosophies, techniques, and approaches that his its own unique artistry, form, and organic process.

HAKOMI THEORETICAL BASE

Hakomi as a method and as a school of thought, is participating in the huge change of scientific thinking in our time. The seeds of a new vision of reality are sprouting everywhere--in physics and in philosophy, in medicine, psychology, anthropology, economics. With minor variations, it is basically a shift away from matter as the only reality, toward the inclusion of consciousness and mind. It is basically a shift away from isolation and independence toward interdependence and mutuality, fields of influence, and knowing at a distance. It is the collapse of the absolute and the embracing of multiplicity and uncertainty.

If psychotherapy is going to participate in the new vision, it will have to enhance a whole new set of principles. It will have to recognize a clear distinction between living systems and mechanical ones. It will need to drop linear causality and the notions of separateness and external authority. For the qualities of living systems are those of internal authority, great sensitivity, participation in the he world, consciousness, growth, and wholeness.

Psychology will have to recognize the primacy of mind, information, and communication. All of these have had a deep formative influence on Hakomi therapy. How better to understand than to let the principles and methods of Hakomi help you study the organizing of your own experience. you can discover a great deal about yourself using these methods, and in that pursuit of the knowledge of self is the key to whatever freedom and full human "beingness" we shall ever attain.

APPLICATIONS

Hakomi is effective and appropriate in most therapeutic situations, such as with individuals, couples, families, groups, movement, and body work. It is suitable for crisis work and psychological maintenance, but it finds its full potential in the processes of growth, both personal and transpersonal, when we are committed to moving beyond our limits.

Hakomi has been effectively applied to a wide variety of everyday activities: athletics, theater, parenting, business.... Because Hakomi attends to the very nature of being human, it is easily adapted to support whatever tasks and adventures people pursue.

About the Method

It is a time for change. It is a time for relativists, for generalists, for holists, for people who love diversity, a time to find beauty in the whole and meanings we can all agree on.

The new paradigm does not deny the past. On the contrary, it's most significant contribution will be to integrate past and present and to make common sense of the great diversity of our inherited wisdom.

My first concern as a teacher of Hakomi is that my students understand and work within these principles: non-violence, mindfulness, unity, organicity, and mind-body holism.

Fifty thousand years ago it must have been easy to be an absolutist. You weren't likely to run into anyone who looked, spoke, dressed or thought very differently from you or anyone else you knew. Now, the easiest thing in the world is to find someone or something different. And the differences are staggering. Endless lines of near naked Africans are starving in their dry land just a two-hour flight from the docked yachts of Monaco. At home in Toledo or Tashkent, we watch it all on TV.

This closeness is giving our present day absolutists a hard time. (And as usual, they are giving everybody else a hard time.) After thousands of centuries of slow, relatively isolated development, we are experiencing a forced, potentially explosive fusion of deeply ingrained, conflicting ideas, customs, laws and languages. From a global perspective, we live in tension and diversity everywhere. That tension is killing millions and exhausting the world's resources. It is a time for change. It is a time for relativists, for generalists, for holists, for people who love diversity, a time to find beauty in the whole and meanings we can all agree on.

There are such people in almost every field: philosophy, science, medicine, theology. We are in the middle of the revolution that they are making. They are offering us something new, not our usual way of knowing, being and doing. It is a vision coming into focus, a "second language" we are still learning. The new paradigm does not deny the past. On the contrary, it's most significant contribution will be to integrate past and present and to make common sense of the great diversity of our inherited wisdom. It is a comprehensive "spiritual/philosophic/scientific system." It is incomplete and only just beginning to affect us. Wherever we're going, we surely are not yet there. Still, the voyage has begun and the direction is clear enough.

The Hakomi Method of Body/Mind Therapy is grounded in a set of principles that reflect this revolution or what is often called the shifting paradigm. The work is just one inspired expression of these principles. Our methods and techniques, the relationships we develop with our clients and each other, are all expressions of the principles, scaled down to meet each task and moment of the work. They are about holism, unity and a participatory universe; about relationship; about the nature of living beings and their differences from the material, mechanical realm. They are about the reality of nonviolence. They are the "dharma" of Hakomi, its source of wisdom, clarity and power. These principles are the heart of the work and a refuge for therapists lost. My first concern as a teacher of Hakomi is that my students understand and work within these principles: non-violence, mindfulness, unity, organicity, and mind-body holism.

People are living beings, different in fundamental ways from machines. We are self-organizing. We are systems that self-create and self-maintain. We heal. Machines don't do that. So, we look at people as self-organizing systems, organized psychologically around core memories, beliefs and images. This core material is at the very heart of what we have made of our lives. It creates and maintains our images of self and of our culturally acquired world. It directs our perceptions and actions. Core material expresses itself through all the habits and attitudes which make us individuals. Our feelings, actions and perceptions are continuously influenced by core material around major themes: safety and belonging; support, love and appreciation; freedom and responsibility; openness and honesty; control, power, sexuality, membership, and the social and cultural rules. These themes are the daily grist of therapeutic work.

Hakomi is a method for helping people change their way of being in the world through working with core material and changing core beliefs. It is a transformational method and it follows a general outline: First, we work to build a relationship which maximizes safety and the cooperation of the unconscious. With that relationship, we help the client focus on and study how he or she organizes experience. Most behavior is habit, automatically organized by core material. Thus, when we study the organization of experience, we are studying the influence of this core material. It is usually a simple step from that to direct contact with core feelings, beliefs and memories.

To study the organization, we establish and use a state of consciousness called mindfulness. Many books have been written on mindfulness; it is part of every transpersonal tradition we know about. It is a distinct state of consciousness, characterized by relaxed volition; a surrender to and acceptance of the happenings of the moment; a gentle, sustained focus of attention inward; a heightened sensitivity; and the ability to observe and name the contents of consciousness. It is self-reflective. In psychotherapy, nothing is as useful as mindfulness.

For example, the client could be slowly raising an arm upward in a real or imagined context of reaching out to someone, all the while studying the experience thus created. Perhaps, at some point in the arm's travel, the client notices fear. Casually and quickly raising the arm, especially if it is part of doing something like getting a jar down off the shelf, won't evoke that fear. It is mindfulness - the slowness of the action, the self-observing and the focus on experience (rather than the contents of the jar or thoughts about the recipe) that does the job. The fear most likely relates to memories and beliefs about reaching out to others. Following the evocation of the fear (or whatever experience is evoked), a transition to processing takes place, if the client is ready.

Processing is state-specific, because core material, especially core organizing memories, are state-specific. There are three different states we work with: mindfulness, strong emotions, and a state in which child-like consciousness appears. We use different methods with each.

Hakomi is a non-violent psychotherapy. It is a way to help people change that allows for the wisdom and healing power in each of us. To work nonviolently, we must drop notions about making clients change and, along with that, any tendency to take credit for their success. That doesn't mean we have to be passive; nonviolence is not inaction. We can work without using force or the ideas and methods of a paradigm of force.

If we are not going to use force, we must use our ability to wait for the right moment, to recognize what is growing here and what is ready for expression. In therapy, this is the highest skill: to know each moment for what it can be. Some part of the client already knows this truth, knows the holding back and the longing to move on.

Psychotherapy has been called "the talking cure." Over the past few decades, the nature of that talking has changed dramatically. Psychotherapy used to be talking about - about feelings, about relationships, the past, or anything else the client wanted to talk about. It was conversational. Focusing on present experience, especially on emotional expression, came later. It came with Reichian Therapy, Psychodrama, Gestalt, encounter groups and all that followed. At that point, much of psychotherapy moved from merely talking about experiences to actually having them.

The shift towards experience was also a shift towards the present, where experience is. In encounter, one of the rules was: talk only about what is going on here and now, at this time, in this room. Stay in the present.

In the 80's, the therapies at the cutting edge, like Feldenkrais and NLP, took the shift one step further. These therapies deal not only with experience but, more importantly, they deal with the organization of experience. In meditation, for example, we study what follows in the flow of mental life, how the mind puts experiences together. In these new ways of working, we're still having experiences, but we're not just having them. We're also studying how experiences are organized. We're studying the systems that put experience itself together. The goal of this new therapy is to contact and understand the events which create and maintain the flow of experience itself. We do it in order to transform the way we organize all experiences. This therapy is transformational.

When you change not just what you experience, but how you experience, you have transcended, you have become a different self. You have changed at the level of character. Your personal paradigm has shifted. This is how psychotherapy has changed. In Hakomi, we don't just talk about experiences. We don't just have experiences. Rather, we study how each of us organizes his or her experience. We first focus on a particular present experience, like a muscle tension pattern, a feeling or an image. This present experience serves as a current example of experience being organized and is a route to the core material behind it.

One big way you study the organization of experience, is to set up experiments in consciousness. The therapist is saying: "You get mindful, I'll say something or do something, and we will see what happens when we do that." There are two types of experiments: one where the client is passive (mindful, still) and the therapist does something, a probe (statement), a touch, walks towards the client, closes his or her eyes, etc. In the second type, we ask the client to be active and do something like: "notice what happens when you slowly make a fist." "See what words come up when you tighten your body in the way you feel it tightening when you think of being at work." We're not asking the client for an answer to a question. We're asking for a report on what's experienced.

We have incorporated the body into psychotherapy through accessing bodily expressions of core beliefs and by embracing alternative approaches such as nutrition, exercise, body work and movement, as adjuncts to the work. Particularly important are Rolfing, the Feldenkrais Method, Tai Chi, Yoga, Rolf Movement and, closer to home, the Hakomi Bodywork developed and taught by Pat Ogden of the Hakomi Institute.

Mind and body influence one another. They interact. This principle puts Hakomi Therapy in the camp of the mind-body interactionists. My particular interest is in the influence deeply held beliefs, guiding images and significant, early memories have on behavior, body structure and all levels of physiology. From the level of cellular metabolism and the strength of the immune system, to blood flow and the distribution of heat and muscle tone in the body, to the expression of these beliefs in posture, movement, gesture and facial expression. There are of course influences that body has on mind - from the inheritance of talents and dispositions to the moods that are part of having a diseased liver.

In therapy, we attempt to work constantly at the "mind-body interface". We work with the interaction of belief and experience, image and emotion. Sometimes we work by focusing attention on bodily experience and ask for meaning or belief. Sometimes we focus attention on belief or meaning and study the experiences evoked. We alternate one direction with the other, constantly crossing and staying as close as possible to the mind-body interface.

Psychotherapists work to get parts communicating, whether it's members of a family, the body and the mind or parts of mind. It's an art, full of high skills, to coax those parts out of hiding, to help them speak openly and directly, and to help someone do that.

This drive to unite is the healing force. This process of communication organizes parts into wholes. That's the healing. "The psyche spontaneously reorganizes," to quote Ken Wilbur. The nervous system spontaneously reorganizes, according to Feldenkrais. Health is a natural result of the attention each part gives to the others. This is the faith that healers have.

In therapy, we attempt to establish and enhance communication between conscious and unconscious, and between mind and body. In using mindfulness, we create opportunities which allow the unconscious a clear chance to express and be seen, heard and felt. In our focus on the mind-body interface, we work to create channels of communication between them. When we work with the child, we are often hearing from a part that has long been suppressed and silent. When the client comes into insight, meaning and self-acceptance, again it is one part understanding or accepting another.

The unity principle states that the universe is fundamentally a web of relationships in which all aspects and components are inseparable from the whole and do not exist in isolation. We embrace unity when we bring attention to aspects of ourselves and others that are in isolation and conflict. We embrace it when our way is acceptance and curiosity; when our goal is to bring together all aspects of the person: mind/mind, mind/body and self/universe; when we know as part of our being that we are connected, to each other and this world. That knowing is the healing power of this work.

Ron Kurtz
Founder of Hakomi


AN OVERVIEW OF THE HAKOMI METHOD OF PSYCHOTHERAPY... by Cedar Barstow

"I know you did your best," he says gently. The woman begins crying and then dissolves into sobbing. As her head sinks down and her shoulders turn inward, he helps her curl up. He stays with her, neither telling her it will all be all right, nor how to change so she'll do better next time. After the sobbing quiets down, they do some more processing and she discovers a level of acceptance of herself that didn't seem possible before. The light in her eyes and the fullness of her breathing speak to me. I feel very touched. I have been privileged to watch a "master" at work. Ron Kurtz is the therapist. I feel mesmerized, wondering, "How did he know to say this?"; "Why did he do that?"; "How did she feel so safe so fast?"; "How can he go so gently and get such powerful results?" As with all masters, whatever their practise, his work seems magical, effortless and full of artistry.

As a young man working in electronics, Ron became fascinated by how things work--the circuitry and the systems. An insatiable reader, he read about how things work in many disciplines--always searching for ways in which one system fits with or augments another. He read psychology, philosophy, systems theory, physics, biology, anthropology, mysticism, meditation. He got curious about psychological change, about healing, about the mind of the body, about therapeutic applications of mindfulness and non-violence, about the evolution of consciousness. Then while spending a period of time teaching at Esalen Institute, he began developing a new system of body-centered psychotherapy called "The Hakomi Method." Though I say a new system, Ron would be the first to acknowledge that Hakomi is a synthesis of extant philosophies, techniques, and aproaches. Among the modern therapeutic masters he has studied are Feldenkrais, Lowen, Pierrakos, Pesso, Perls and Milton K. Erickson. Even though drawing from the understandings of other disciplines, the Hakomi Method has its own unqiue artistry, form, and organic process. "Hakomi" is a Hopi Indian word meaning, "How do you stand in relation to these many realms?" This was their ancient way of saying "Who are you?" and is an appropriate description for this therapeutic process, a process in which therapist and client explore the complex web of relationships which form our personal identities.

Ron Kurtz observed that in psychology's quest for the answer to the illusive question of how is it, precisely, that people change, psychologists and other helpers/healers have made a significant shift. As an overgeneralization, they have moved from talking about past experience (Freud, for example); to having a present experience or emotional release (Encounter Groups, Gestalt, Bioenergetics); to studying the organization of experience (Hakomi, Feldenkrais, NLP). Ron is convinced that long-term change happens through studying the organization of experience as it is lived and present (in other words how we do what we do). Thus we may bring to consciousness core beliefs which might be limiting, so that new and more satisfying options become possible. For this often delicate process to take place, a special atmosphere must be created: safety, mindfulness, mind-body interaction, attention to live present inner experience, and a sense of pacing that allows an organic process to emerge without pushing to solve a problem. Ron thinks of therapy as "learning, not just fixing something." This kind of learning is what Fritz Perls calls "the discovery of the possible."

One of the most exciting things to me is that Ron Kurtz, with the invaluable assistance of eight special students (now Hakomi trainers) who studied with him over the last ten years, has actually taken apart the magic of how he works when doing therapy and put it back together into a very teachable system. The best way for me to describe precisely how this system of Hakomi Therapy works, is to go through verbatim sections of a therapy session and intersperse this transcript with client commentary, descriptions of the process, what the therapist is doing, and some of the underlying theories and philosophies.

The Hakomi session which follows lasted about an hour and a quarter in real time although the client experienced an inner sense of timelessness. The Therapist in this session has studied with Ron and other Hakomi Trainers and is certified in the Hakomi Method. Please keep in mind that these are selected sections of the actual session.

Therapist: A little nervous, huh:
Client: Yes, a little. That wasn't what I expected you to say.
Therapist: You're surprised ((?)) *
Client: Yes, I thought you would ask me what I was here for. I had my little speech all prepared, you know, about how I can't get angry and why that is, and what's not working in my life and (big sigh) and I'm nervous. I'm nervous.
Therapist: So something shifted inside with that sigh ((?))
Client: Yes, it's like the speech was so that I wouldn't have to notice that I was nervous.
Therapist: So, let's find out more about that nervousness. OK? You may want to close your eyes and check with your body. How do you experience this feeling? What signals are you getting right now?
Client: Ummm. (forehead furrows slightly).
Therapist: It's a little hard for you to identify ((?))
Client: Yes, a little, but mostly I just haven't done this before, except in meditation, but that was not out loud. (little smile)
Therapist: You're interested, huh?
Client: Yes.
Therapist: So, why don't you go back inside and check again.
Client: (big sigh)
Therapist: A little easier now, huh?
Client: Uhhuh, well, part of me is taking a deeper breath and not thinking so much and the nervous part of me is wanting to open my eyes and not be here.
Therapist: So, it's clear how your body is taking part in your feelings right now.
Client: Yes.
Therapist: So your body and your feelings are going two places at once.
Client: Yes.
Therapist: Are you willing to stay inside and find out a little more about this conflict?
Client: Oh, yes!

* The symbol ((?)) is meant to signal a subtle and important part of the process. It is necessary though not sufficient that the therapist embody an attitude of open exploratory curiosity. It is crucial that the client assume this attitude on her own behalf. It is her exploration of her own organic, inner wisdom that leads to transformation. So when the therapist says, "something shifted ((?))", it is more than a simple statement of fact. The tone of voice implies both that the therapist is willing to be corrected and also that the therapist is inviting the client into her own curiosity. If the client only seeks answers that respond to the therapist's curiosity, the process remains interpersonal and bogged down. When the client becomes curious about her immediate experience and explores it in a way that allows the therapist to know what is happening and make some guiding suggestions, a powerful process is in effect.

CLIENT COMMENTARY:

I'm surprised. Within the first few minutes it's clear that I don't have to explain what's wrong with me. I feel like the therapist is on my side, that whatever is going on right now is of interest. I'm amazed at how quickly and gracefully we get to my feelings. Although some of the therapist's questions sound artificial, I'm interested. I'm not just describing things that I have felt. I'm feeling them vividly from the inside. The interaction feels authentic within the first minutes.

PROCESS:

During the first few minutes, the therapist creates the context for the therapy session. Her first words "a little nervous, huh?" are a simple recognition of present feelings. Her voice is soft, straightforward, accepting, curious. She consistently uses techniques of "contact" and "tracking". She makes contact with the nervousness with a simple, clear acknowledgment: "a little nervous, huh?". She doesn't say, "How are you feeling?" She simply demonstrates in an accepting way that she understands.

Her words continue to be an invitation to go inside. She makes contact both with what the client is saying and with her body signals. Watching another person for clues is called tracking. The clues are often tiny and brief and usually unconscious--a sigh, a slight furrow of the forehead. Making contact with them as the therapist does, "You're surprised!" is a continual demonstration that she is paying attention, understanding, and interested. That in itself helps create safety.

The second thing the therapist is doing from the beginning is inviting the client to turn her awareness inward. Her questions like, "How do you experience this feeling? What are the signals?" require the client to check inside her body to get the information. Again the acceptance and curiosity invite her to go inside. The therapist demonstrates awareness and her understanding makes it safe for the client to let go of her normal protective, focused outward awareness and be inside, learning and discovering. Mindfulness is available when we feel safe, when we know the outside is being taken care of. Mindfulness is a place of deep knowing. What a privilege for the therapist to be able to meet someone there.

The third thing she is doing is crossing the mind/body interface by continually inviting the client to discover how her body is participating in her feelings and how her thoughts are being reflected in her body. This interface is a rich, lively source of new information. For example, she makes contact: "So your body is taking part in your feelings," to encourage the client to study these dual events.

In addition, the therapist is creating a space where the client and therapist explore information that is spontaneous, interesting or compelling. These qualities are the bottom line, the creative edge of therapy. The therapist lets go of specific goals and stays with an orientation of discovery, helping the client study how she does what she does, how she organizes her experience.

During the first few minutes, the Hakomi therapist is doing a number of things. She is making contact and tracking, inviting the client to move from ordinary consciousness to mindfulness and curiosity, crossing the mind/body interface, and paying attention to the things that come up in present awareness that are of particular aliveness.

THEORY:

In Hakomi Therapy, the first order of business is always safety. Feeling safe is a prerequisite for any kind of deep exploration. When we're not feeling safe, our defenses are automatically up, and rightfully so, to protect us from danger. The defenses produce a lot of "noise" making it difficult or impossible to go inside and learn about the part that needs protection. For this client, for example, her "speech about what was wrong with me" was creating a lot of noise.

Another idea that's involved here is the art of mindfulness. In Hakomi Therapy, mindfulness is a special state of consciousness in which awareness is turned inward toward present experience, mind and body, without judgment or efforting. A therapy session begins with outward focused ordinary making-breakfast-and-paying-the-bills consciousness and moves into an inner awareness of experience which is the source material that leads to core organizing beliefs and habitual patterns of relating to the world. This is the rich fountain where what's possible can be discovered, where limiting patterns can be identified and new more satisfying and effective choices and responses can be made.

A foundational Hakomi principle is mind-body holism. The body is a constant reflection of our beliefs, our way of being in the world, our way of organizing our experience. It contains a lot of information that our mind, in it's busyness, doesn't notice. The mind is supported in its beliefs by the body. Try saying, "Nobody's ever there for me" with your shoulders and head stooped forward. And now say the same sentence with your shoulders up and your head back. Dissonance, right? Moving back and forth between mind and body information is rich, interesting, powerful, meaningful, and necessary. Change occurs in mind and body as one unit.

Here is the next piece of the session: (Further exploration of the conflict).
Therapist: So what kind of conflict is this?
Client: (Closes eyes and turns awareness inward.)
Therapist: Now you're inside, good.
Client: My head is very busy.
Therapist: Very busy. Is that with thoughts or are you seeing things?
Client: Gosh, my head just feels like a computer printer that's gone wild.
Therapist: That's pretty busy!!!
Client: (little laugh) Yes, I can hardly even make out words--just lots of type.
Therapist: So, now notice as your head is so busy printing, if there is any other part of your body that is participating.
Client: Yes, I notice my breathing is very tight.
Therapist: Your breathing is tight ((?)) Can you say more about that.
Client: Well, it's shorter. I'm breathing in a smaller space.
Therapist: How big is the space?
Client: Well, it's like, from here (shows place) to here. That's all.
Therapist: And how fast is the breathing?
Client: It's pretty fast.
Therapist: Let's try an experiment. Maybe I can help you with the breathing so you don't have to work so hard at it. How can I use my hand to do this
breathing for you?
Client: Well, try putting your hand right here and kind of push in.
Therapist: Okay. Is this the place (She notices a frown). Not quite right, huh?
Client: It's a little this way. Yes, now press in and out.
Therapist: How fast?
Client: Uh, I'll show you.
Therapist: Is this right?
Client: No, I guess it's better if you just keep the pressure there.
Therapist: That's better, huh. Okay, now check it out. Let's get it exactly right--so that what I'm doing really matches what you're doing.
Client: Yes, that's right.
Therapist: Okay, now notice what it's like for you when you let me do this pressure for you. (Sees corner of eyes droop a little) There are some feelings here ((?))
Client: Mmmm.
Therapist: It's not quite clear?
Client: Mmmm
Therapist: Take your time...a little sadness?
Client: No,...it's...I'm scared.
Therapist: You're feeling scared (her voice softens even more). Can you tell me more about it while you continue to stay inside? What kind of scared is this?
Client: I'm really scared. I don't want to breathe.
Therapist: You're holding your breath?
Client: MMM...(pause, then lots of tears). There's something wrong.

CLIENT COMMENTARY:

I'm finding myself very curious about the details of what's going on inside me. I've meditated before, but I've never tried to get quite so precise. My feelings are strong and authentic welling up from deep inside.

PROCESS:

Having made contact, established safety, and set the tone for mindfulness, the therapist begins accessing her client's particular unique experience--both mind and body--of nervousness. To do this she asks a series of questions which require her to be "inside" in order to answer. For example, "Is that with thoughts or are you seeing things?" There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. The purpose is to ask for details and help her deepen her awareness and study how she is organized around this nervousness which before has been simply familiar, habitual or unconscious.

Next, the therapist tries a Hakomi technique called "taking over". Seeing that breathing smaller and stopping her breathing requires energy on the client's part which then is not available for discovering whatever it is that she is "stopping", the therapist suggests an experiment in which she will take over the effort of the client. She will do one piece of what the client is doing, so the client can feel safe that it is being covered and allow her awareness to go to deeper levels and to identify more fully with the unexplored part. She's supporting and honoring her natural defense system. In this process it is very important to take over the action of the client in precisely the way she is doing it herself. She takes quite a while making sure that she's doing it right. "Is this the place? How fast?" In Hakomi work, there are many things which can be "taken over": a voice in the client's head, a desire to punch can be held back so the client can safely explore the impulse, a tightening in the stomach, held up shoulders, and so on. Almost instantly as she takes over the shortened breathing, she notices feelings and makes contact with them and begins to ask questions which will deepen and clarify the experience. With this experiment the therapist has chosen an access route to the core belief which is involved here.

THEORY:

There are three important theories involved in this section. The first is the all-pervasive principle of non-violence. The principle of non-violence acknowledges and respects the wisdom of living organic systems to know what is needed for themselves. It is reflected in Hakomi Therapy sessions in several ways. One is the sense of going gently, taking whatever time is necessary--not pushing or demanding in any way and matching the pace of the client. Another is in the predisposition of the therapist to follow whatever process is naturally emerging for the client, to simply be there and assist in exploring the information that presents itself.

Supporting the defense system is a very important component of the concept of non-violence. When defenses are confronted directly, they get stronger and louder. Guarding what's underneath that needs protection. An efficient, compassionate and powerful way to learn about the delicate feelings and memories that have for so long been held back by the defenses, is to support and honor the defenses.

Non-violence is also reflected in Hakomi Therapy by the therapist's embodying and modeling attitudes of compassion, acceptance, trust, and patience--qualities which are much needed in the empowerment and heartfulness of our relationships with ourselves and our larger communities. The principle of non-violence is so vital to Hakomi Therapy that a number of the techniques were developed to enable the therapy to be non-violent, and simply won't work without the corresponding attitude.

Another aspect of the Hakomi approach is its experimental attitude. This relates to the concept that therapy at its best is a learning process. It is not a fix-it process. Therapy is learning how we do what we do, and how we have decided what is impossible. When something seems impossible, we have no choices. By doing little experiments in awareness we witness how we organize ourselves around various inputs, and the possibility of exploring new choices for experiencing and expressing ourselves arises.

In Hakomi Therapy, there are a number of kinds of awareness to pay attention to: thoughts, sensations, tensions, feelings, movements, images, impulses, memories, meaning. By staying with and paying attention to any one of these, the experience will become more vivid and deepen into awareness on another level. Eventually, the vividness of the experience and/or the accumulated information will reveal a core belief normally created in childhood. This belief, if it is a limiting one, functions as a barrier to the normal process of updating the files when new and different information comes in. Transformation is possible when the client is enabled to change his or her mind about the belief.

So far in the session described here, the therapist has made contact with thought and sensation, explored the sensation and some strong feelings have emerged.

Therapist: It seems like something is wrong? Just stay with that feeling a bit. What do you notice about that "wrong"?
Client: (more tears) I don't know. (now crying and shaking)
Therapist: A little overwhelming right now ((?))
Client: Mmmm (She puts her hands to her eyes and bends her head forward). The therapist sees the direction her body is moving and helps her curl up, putting her hand over her eyes. Lots of tears and shaking. The client doesn't speak for some time and then gradually the tears and shaking slow down. Somewhere a fragment of a memory appears: "I think something's wrong with ME!"
Therapist: You're remembering something?
Client: Yes, I'm lying in bed.
Therapist: Can you see where you are?
Client: I'm in a big bed, my parent's bed. (The memory unfolds suddenly with great clarity.) I'm 9 years old. I'm wearing a light blue flannel nightgown. I'm sick. I'm real weak and I can't walk by myself. I have dolls that I'm playing with on the bed and the doctor's here. He's been here before. He's old and not very nice. He says, "If you throw up once more, you'll have to go to the hospital."
Therapist: You're pretty scared about this, huh?
Client: (nods)
Therapist: So I bet you sure don't want to throw up!

CLIENT COMMENTARY

Client: Yes, I'm amazed. I'm actually simultaneously really being a nine year old and watching myself be a nine year old. These aren't in conflict. It's quite easy. I notice my head nodding as a child would and my lower lip curling a bit as the sad, scared nine year old would. Here is a piece of this traumatic experience I've never remembered before. I remembered being in the hospital, but not the circumstances of how I got there.

(The session continues with more contact with the child.)

THEORY AND PROCESS

At this point, the process of mindfulness has deepened from thought to feeling and then a childhood memory. The feelings, as they emerge are pretty overwhelming, since they have been locked up for many years. The therapist makes contact with how strong the feelings are, notices the direction in which her body seems to want to move (curling up) and simply supports this spontaneous behavior, helping her cover her eyes and curl up. This releases a lot of feeling in another state of consciousness which Hakomi calls "riding the rapids." This is a genuine, spontaneous emotional release. There is such intense feeling that mindfulness is simply not available. So the therapist supports whatever behavior the client is doing and maintains contact with the client until mindfulness returns.

In Hakomi, four distinct states of consciousness are used. First, ordinary everyday outward focused consciousness. Most of our lives are lived in this state of consciousness. The second (where most of Hakomi Therapy takes place) is mindfulness: awareness focused inward on present experience. Here, the vast richness of inner experience is available. The third is riding the rapids, and the fourth is the child.

For the client, a childhood memory, at first vague and fragmentary, emerges after the rush of feeling subsides. The therapist helps to stabilize the memory by asking for the details of the scene. "What are you wearing? Is someone else there with you? Where are you? What's happening? How do you feel?" As the client gets more in touch with the event, she becomes noticeably more childlike. Her words get simpler, her facial expressions younger, she begins referring to her nine year old self as "I". In Hakomi, this is the child state of consciousness. It is the fourth state and is a rich source of information about core belief's which may be limiting to the adult. Since these core beliefs were formed in childhood, it is very valuable to return directly to their source. Now, back to the session.

Therapist: So you're probably scared to eat or move around.
Client: I'm staying very still and only breathing very quietly from right here (sternum up). I move my eyes around, but not my head.
Therapist: You're scared to move.
Client: Well, kind of frozen. I'm not feeling anything!
Therapist: You're not feeling anything ((?))
Client: I'm making it all still on the outside.
Therapist: So if you don't move and you don't feel then maybe you won't throw up.
Client: (Nods and lips purse a bit and head comes down)
Therapist: So, you probably don't want to talk much either.
Client: (Nods)
Therapist: I want to talk to you a little bit. Is that okay? I know you're scared and I know you're afraid something bad might happen...but I want you to know it's okay to tell me how you feel.
Client: (Shakes head "no")
Therapist: It's not okay, huh?
Client: (Shakes head again) If they know, then I'll have to go to the hospital. (whispers) I think there's something wrong with me.
Therapist: You're pretty confused and scared and you sure don't want to go to the hospital.
Client: (Nods, more tears, holds her knees to her chest and starts rocking back and forth.)
Therapist: (Helps her fold up and rocks her.)
Client: (Takes a deep breath ad lets go a bit.)
Therapist: I'm not your mommy or your daddy or the doctor, but I want to know how you feel and I'm happy to be here with you now, holding and rocking you. I know little girls who are scared need to be held.
Client: (More tears and more letting go)
Therapist: Feels good, huh? You need to be held. (Now therapist tracks a little furrow in forehead.) You're worried about what might be wrong with you, huh?
Client: (Nods)
Therapist: I bet you have some ideas.
Client Something real bad.
Therapist: So you're scared there's something bad inside you.
Client: Uh huh, but I don't know what.
Therapist: So how do you know this?
Client: (Curls up her lip) The doctor.
Therapist: So all this must be pretty confusing. It seems like the doctor is telling you something is bad inside you and you shouldn't let it out by throwing up. You don't know what it is so you're pretty worried, especially about going to the hospital. So you're deciding you'd better be very careful and quiet and still.
Client: Uh huh. (Therapist has been tracking for signs of agreement as she talks.)

PROCESS AND THEORY:

The therapist's goal at this point is to assist all the components of this child's experience to emerge so that they can be honored and recognized. She wants to get all the details of the big picture: the client's feelings, how she organizes her body to respond to and reflect those feelings, and the theme, the core belief which is operating here; and the strategy, what the child learns to do about it. The statement: "It;s okay to tell me how you feel" is, in Hakomi, a technique called a "probe". A probe is an experimental statement given to the client so that (s)he can mindfully study what it is that goes on

spontaneously when (s)he hears it. It is not given as an answer or advice, but as an experiment. Probes are positive statements designed to be potentially nourishing. If the statement is "taken in", the response will be more relaxation and the therapist and client will then wait for the process to orient around the next thing that is needed. If the client, and this is usually the case, finds a barrier to the sentence (notices, for examples, a voice inside saying, "that's not true" or his or her breathing tightens up or (s)he feels angry), then this is a place for some processing. Normally, a probe is preceeded by a phrase like "what happens inside when you hear the sentence...(pause)." However, when working with the child, the form is less formal. In this case the sentence is used as part of talking with the child and is not set up as an experiment.

Ron Kurtz speaks of four components of a "Sensitivity Cycle." These are four stages in the continuing flow of increasingly efficient functioning. Clarity leads to the possibility of effective action which sets up the possibility of organismic satisfaction. This leads to relaxation of tensions mobilized

around the original need and the chance for greater clarity about what the system next needs to orient around. CLARITY, EFFECTIVENESS, SATISFACTION and RELAXATION. Processing in Hakomi Therapy is not concerned with solutions, advice or comforting. Rather, the therapist is concerned with helping the client explore the barriers inhibiting the normal organic process of efficient functioning. As soon as the sensitivity cycle is cycling again, the solutions or changes needed will be available and easy.

In this situation, the barrier is the insight barrier at the clarity part of the cycle. She does not know what is wrong ("I don't know what's wrong with me"). Because she isn't clear about what is wrong, she inhibits her responses and cannot act as revealed by the probe and seems to be stuck at the effectiveness part of the cycle. This is the response barrier. Because she is inhibiting her response, she can't take action. Unable to act (unable to tell people about her feelings), she can't receive the nourishment which would help her to relax. In turn, when relaxed, she could get more clarity about the situation. And so on. So the therapist wants to help the client "un-stick" the theme of holding herself down which has evolved naturally from the core belief about it not being okay to let people know. She wants to help her update her files so that her own realistic organic possibilities can emerge.

Working with the child is a special opportunity. Here is a child who made a decision which has effected her whole life and her body. One of the main tasks of childhood is to categorize, order, and make sense of an enormous amount of information, feelings, reactions, experiences. Children's thinking naturally tends to be black and white, either/or, not containing the many permutations and adjustments and allowances available to adults through years of gathering data. Because they are uninformed and have a small data base, children also take information very literally and casually. So, in this client's case, the obvious conclusion from the doctor's statement was that there was something dangerous inside her that she must not let anyone know. She didn't have enough information to know that there were other possibilities.

The child doesn't need to erase or release the experience from his or her life. The child doesn't need therapy. The child simply needs the presence of a compassionate adult to help the child through the upsetting event by understanding, comforting, and clearing up the confusion, so that the child can change his or her mind and replace the old belief with a new, informed one. So the Therapist works with this child gently and delicately as a "magical stranger".

As she does this, now and during the rest of the therapy session as well, she is shifting back and forth from the big picture, the gestalt, the theme, the organization of the process, to the fine grain, the details, the spontaneous events. It's as if she moves from looking in a telescope to looking in a microscope. For example, at the same time that she's noticing that the barrier is the response barrier, that the theme is holding back, and that the body is holding back, she is also quick to notice and make contact with a furrow of the eyebrow, a nod of the head, a slight movement forward, a big breath. Contact with whatever is going on at the moment keeps the process fresh, lively, spontaneous and flowing, while awareness of the larger context enables the process to reach its organic conclusion and transformation.

In addition to the Sensitivity Cycle, Hakomi also makes use of character theory. Ron uses eight major body types, each tending to reflect a corresponding character strategy. Contributors to the character patterns by which experience is organized include the structure of the nervous system, metabolism, language and culture, and habits. Character theory is not used to label people, but rather to help the therapist understand a certain part of the client faster and better. There are specific ways of working with each strategy which seem to work best. And there are specific core beliefs which seem to be the basis for particular character strategies. In this situation, the Therapist recognizes a "schizoid" or sensitive/analytic process. There are both strengths and weaknesses inherent in each strategy. (Strategies are normal and necesssary in being alive and interacting with the world, and Hakomi Therapy both identifies and affirms the strategies and supports changes in the system. The sensitive/analytic strategy is to hold everything inside from a fear and belief that there is something bad or dangerous inside or some inescapable dangers outside. In very general terms, the approach to use with this strategy is to go slowly and gently, and help the client hold herself in to defend against the fear which paradoxically allows the belief underneath to emerge.

Returning to the session.
Therapist: (Speaks very slowly like an adult talking to a child.) So, I'd like to tell you something. I know how terrible this is for you. You really needed someone to talk to and there wasn't anybody, but you can talk with me about it now. I don't know exactly what's wrong either, but I do know that it's not too terrible because I meet you many years later and your body is very healthy. And I know that sometimes little girls' bodies get sick and don't work quite right. Being sick doesn't mean that there's something wrong with your feelings or that you did something wrong or that you need to hide or pretend. (Therapist notices Client nodding as she speaks.) This is what you were thinking, huh? It feels good to understand, to hear all this. So you're feeling better now?
Client: I'm not so scared...!
Therapist: It's different inside when you're not scared((?))
Client: I can breath easier and it's like my chest is more open and my shoulders lower. I can move!
Therapist: Great. So I want to tell you something else. Let's watch what happens when you hear..."It's okay now, to show your real feelings."
Client: (big breath)
Therapist: So something's changed. You can begin to believe that now. Let's just relax and enjoy that.
Client: Yes, what a relief!
Therapist: Is there anything else you'd like to hear that would make you feel even better?

PROCESS AND THEORY:

For the Client the transformation is simple and touching. Her body relaxes and softens as she feels understood, comforted, and no longer confused. The Therapist repeats the probe which earlier seemed impossible and what goes on is entirely different now. A big breath, one of relief and release. It's now possible that it's okay to let people know. The change from impossible to possible is enormous, and the beliefs are clear, available, and satisfying. The session concludes with the therapist and the client spending some time absorbing the new belief. The Therapist also makes sure that the client is clear about what goes on in her body and with this new belief--deeper breathing, shoulders lower, a sense of movement. This supports the integration process.

When the process is complete, the client spontaneously returns to ordinary consciousness. The therapy session has moved from contact to accessing to processing to transformation and now to integration. Although transformation in the therapeutic context is immediate, integration in the real world is recognized as an essential and longer part of therapy. Some of the personal changes will occur spontaneously as a result of new beliefs. Other aspects of change will take some time, and some trial and error, as the client discovers her own new sense of when and how much of herself it is appropriate to share in given situations. She will have a system of body cues to help her out. When she notices herself holding her breath or holding down movement, she'll be able to recognize the fear and then make a choice instead of automatically, habitually shutting down and hiding. This change took place in an organic process of working with, honoring and bringing to consciousness the inseperable interweaving of three systems: body, emotions, and beliefs. There is also another essential component of change which has not been mentioned here. As useful as it is to have a system and techniques, there is a healing that comes through the spirit in a manner beyond logical theories and systems. This special gift is welcomed and honored.

In conclusion, I'd like to say something about the goals and outcomes of the Hakomi Method of Therapy. The ultimate goal is the discovery of the possible, the transformation of limiting self-imposed beliefs, and the empowerment which results from new freedom and new options. Another goal is simply accepting the past and moving on as an adult, learning how to take in nourishment in new ways and, having "updated the files" in the therapeutic setting, learning how to apply these new beliefs in the real world. Applying new beliefs is greatly facilitated by understanding the particular and individual body-mind organization of experience which has been created to support and reflect the old beliefs. Just as important, however, are the skills the client learns through Hakomi Therapy. One is the skill of being mindful of present experience. Another is the skill of using the witness/observer part of awareness. A third is the skill of learning to notice both the big picture and the fine grain in any situation. There are also attitudes which are acquired in Hakomi Therapy: attitudes of curiosity and openness, patience and going with the grain, responsibility and non-violence, compassion and respect, and attention and humor. In the biggest picture of all--how the world works--these very skills and attitudes seem to be what's needed for people everywhere to understand our essential interconnectedness and our responsibility for the care and healing of each other and the planet.

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APPENDIX 16 : BIODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY A PRÉCIS OF THE THEORY AND PRACTICE

Biodynamic Psychology's theory of the person centres around a Primary Personality (1) which is the latent potential within the person, often unattainable through unresolved repressions, traumas, conflicts, and fear. These, and especially the fear, limits the primary personality in its thinking, its ability to feel and in relationship to itself, to others, and the socio-physical and emotional environment, so that it does not develop its creative potentials and abilities. This is done by the placement of a series of neurotic blocks, emotional and psychosomatic, on one's actions and expressions of thought and emotions. Similar blocks have been shown clearly in animal studies. They also exist in our upbringing, not just from one event, but from repeated occurrences creating complex overlays throughout childhood - and they exist on many levels; intellectual, emotional, psychological, social, relationship, proprioceptive, and including the unconscious vegetative systems of the body, creating a multi-level interlaced pattern, based on fear, that comes to be called the neurotic or secondary personality (2).

Whilst the basic matrix or pattern of the person and their intellectual, emotional, and physical make-up has a reasonably strong genetic component, this only sets a boundary to the latent potentials. Biodynamic Psychology uses the basic Freudian theory of development, modified by Reichian and Jungian concepts. It sees that there are basic, significant stages of development; oral, anal, phallic, genital, social and eventually spiritual.

It must be emphasised that with all these emotional and psychological developmental phases there are exactly corresponding changes in the person's physiology and in the energy flows within their body (By "energy" it is essentially meant a complex mixture of the subtle energies found in Eastern medicine (acupuncture meridians, shiatsu points, etc.); Reich's libidinal and vegetative streamings; and fluid build-ups in the tissue and tense or dry areas of the body recognised in various massage techniques). The various "energy" flows result in a build-up of physical symptoms over time that eventually rigidifys and is then called "armouring". The pattern of armouring differs with different psychological character structures.

Biodynamic Psychotherapy, since it works on both the mind and the body, can help, through its physical and psychological methodologies, to free the character pattern, loosen up any psychological fixations and thus enable the underlying personality to move more easily towards its natural state. The aim of Biodynamic Psychotherapy is to help undo and dissolve the constrictions of the Secondary Personality and to encourage the Primary Personality to emerge and mature.

Within the Freudian structures, Biodynamic Psychology further sees that a child sucking at the breast is involved in two interactions; there is the physical and psychological nurturing; and then there is also a phase of contentment and bliss, involving alpha rhythms, similar to REM sleep. This secondary function is necessary for full emotional development, and if this second stage is disturbed (as it often is), this can help create an oral fixation. In the anal phase, there are again two significant stages, but more separated. Dysfunctions in these stages can have powerful effects. The potty-training stage, if badly handled, can help to create a pedantic rigidity, neurotically over-clean, with attendant obsessive-compulsive behaviour patterns. This originates from a holding pattern, the fear of letting go, and is mixed up with aggressive attitudes towards the parent. In the second phase, the temper-tantrum phase, the child begins to express its independence from the parent(s), and starts to find its own will. To the extent that this is allowed, the self-determinative function is not impaired in later life. There is also a testing of the parental love at this stage. Karen Horney's concepts of moving towards, moving against (fighting), and moving away are seen to be significant here. The environment is also seen to become significant here. Conditional love can create neurotic but socialised patterns - always having to be nice, being eager to please, not wishing to rebel, etc. - which are conditioned by the big fear that the child will be thrown out into an environment in which it will not be able to survive.

In the later Freudian phallic phase, there is a possible distortion when the person's sexual energy flow gets caught in an axis running between the anus and the genitals. This often results in masochistic or sadistic impulses. But when the energy and the libidinal streamings flow freely through the body, there is witnessed a higher frequency electromagnetic energy flow that has a corresponding set of spiritual feelings. Biodynamic Psychology postulates a positive reinterpretation of the Freudian "Super-ego" concept in this light. Whereas the negative super-ego represses the higher parts of the personality, the soul and the spirit, and this connects with Freud's theory that hatred towards other is connected to self-hate (very strict and condemning against pleasure). The super-ego represses and distorts a pleasurable sense of self and pleasurable feelings within the body, and correspondingly distorts the natural energy circulation, and thus in turn represses the primary personality.

The Biodynamic Psychology theory of health & disease is partially based on a quote of Freud's when he said that the ego is not only a matter of brain and nerves but is also in the muscles. As mentioned, Biodynamic Psychology links the ego structure (psychological armour) and muscular armour where the former, based largely on childhood repression and fear, prevents a healthy flow of energy within the person's system. Repeated incidents and layers and layers of repression ultimately creates the muscular armouring. Which exists as a relatively stable neurotic system. However, at some later point this armouring can break down. This is when a period of psychosomatic stress can activate the unresolved deeper conflicts and traumas and repressed emotions start to come up, but do not come out. At this point the person is effectively in crisis, and their mental, emotional, or physical health will begin to deteriorate.

Biodynamic Psychology postulates that when the levels of fear are reduced, emotionally, and vegetatively, the flow of health is largely restored. Biodynamic Psychotherapy works to do this. The main goal of Biodynamic Psychotherapy is to help the client move towards a position of health within the body, and within the psyche. Within the body, when there is a clear, steady energy flow fully between the two hemispherical domes of the cranium and the pelvic bowl, and into the head and down the limbs, such a healthy flow gives an 'oceanic' feeling to the person, often not experienced since early childhood. In psychological terms, the person then experiences a state of independent well-being, separate from the therapist and capable of flexibility and strength, gentleness and power, compassion and healthy aggression.

The actual practice of Biodynamic Psychotherapy varies considerably with the level of armouring and its permeability, and the extent of psychological 'updrift' (3) (which means the ability of the person to access memories, and emotions, and then to express them eventually). There is a sort of sliding scale starting from the very rigid personality, with a lot of armouring, who would need a lot of bodywork to begin with to get in touch with themselves and their feelings. This type of person has both psychological armouring and muscular armouring, and these ensure that any verbal contact is usually on quite an intellectual and unemotional level. Techniques used tend to be special exercises, some of them similar to some of Bioenergetics (Lowen), though done in a more Biodynamic way, some special assistance to get in touch with the person's breathing patterns, and possibly some Biodynamic massage and direct bodywork. After a while, or if the person is less armoured, the therapist can use techniques more akin to vegetotherapy (4), where the person is asked what they are feeling, and subtle gestures, impulses and movements are encouraged, and these sorts of techniques lead towards more easy emotional expression. As the psychological and emotional 'updrift' increases, both the psychological and physiological armouring softens, and the therapy becomes much more verbal; free association is more relevant and meaningful; the therapist listens much more, 'does' much less; and the client progresses more readily towards the desired independent state. The primary therapeutic technique at this stage is called "rooted talking" (5).

However, if there is initial negative transference, before some of the deeper bodywork can be attempted, levels of trust must be built up first, before bodywork can be attempted with any degree of success. Imagework is often used here, to see the therapist 'in the mind's eye' and see whether this changes back to the mother or father. Alternatively initial positive transference is used to work on the bodywork level to build up levels of trust first, and the negative transference can be worked with later.

There are obviously people that cannot be worked with in normal circumstances using Biodynamic Psychotherapy. Besides the practical difficulties, psychopathic personalities cannot tolerate any lessening of the armour, which makes them feel very out of control, which is terrifying. Pre-psychotic and psychotic clients can only be worked with in a secure environment and cannot usually be worked with in normal therapy situations with ambulant clients. These limitations and how to recognise these are taught to the trainees.

Furthermore, there are very different techniques used for encouraging emotional and psychological updrift and then helping discharge the emotions. Trainees need to know how and when to use these different methods, when to "provoke" and when to "empty", and when to work towards integration and "balance". There are considerable dangers in using the wrong technique at the wrong time as provocation further repressed material at a time when there is already a lot of unintegrated feelings and emotions can overwhelm the client, and they can get very ill, physically or psychologically.

Something must also be stated about the Biodynamic Massage work. The whole vegetative nervous system is seen as very important as emotions are directly related to the autonomic nervous system. Constant sympathetic (adrenaline-based) stimuli and activity has the effect of inhibiting the parasympathetic functions of the digestive system (food and emotional digestion). This can result in chronic nervousness and stress. Using psychotherapeutic massage, working to restimulate the parasympathetic functions (using a stethoscope) can help rebalance the autonomic nervous system, reduce sympathetic activity symptoms, and reduce fear and tension. Gerda Boyesen calls this storing of emotional material and then having to process it through the digestive system, the "psychoperistalsis" (6) and sees a healthy psychoperistalsis as the day-to-day regulator of emotions. This is often used as a pre-treatment for Biodynamic Psychotherapy, or for remedial work, if there is a residue of fear and stress around any particular trauma that is being worked through. It is taught to trainees in the early stages of their training and is a very useful component within Biodynamic Psychotherapy.

Finally, in order to clarify the distinction (sometimes asked) between whether the Biodynamic work is just a psychotherapeutic body therapy, rather than a full body-oriented professional psychotherapy, Biodynamic Massage is definitely the former and can be used without activating the person's psychodynamic process simply as a therapeutic means of relaxation and stress reduction, and as it touches the emotional levels, it has some psychotherapeutic aspects. It is not seen or practised as a psychotherapy, but it can be practised as an efficient adjunct to and in parallel with Biodynamic Psychotherapy. Psychotherapeutic trainees are thus taught this Biodynamic Massage as part of the Diploma training course in Biodynamic Psychotherapy. It is also taught separately as a part-time two-year training in Biodynamic Massage only.

Differentially, Biodynamic Psychotherapy is working primarily with the whole of the person's psychodynamic process, at various points in their psychological development, and assisting them, the client, to move towards a more healthy and un-neurotic state. It has a totally different professional background, outlook, intent, scope, ethics, and set of methodologies. The Psychotherapy training course complies with UK & European criteria for a training in the profession of psychotherapy, and particularly body-oriented psychotherapy. It uses (in some small way) some of the Biodynamic Massage techniques. The difference is therefore quite profound.

It is clear that with the moves to form an independent profession of psychotherapy, that Biodynamic Psychotherapy, and it's offshoots and developments, fall well within the field of a proper psychotherapy, and a body-oriented one at that. Body Psychotherapy is clearly a seperate modality within psychotherapy and has been recognised as such. At various times, the practice, the trainings, the various courses throughout Europe, have varied in their content and their emphasis. At times there has been more emphasis on teachng a psychotherapeutic body-work, as an adjunct to other therapies or psychotherapies, rather than on the full-blown Biodynamic Psychotherapy as outlined here. This is all developmental.

The Gerda Boyesen Centre in London trains people in Biodynamic Psychotherapy, to a professional standard, as a psychotherapist.

Foot Notes:

(1) Primary Personality - this is seen as the ideal unneurotic state. At birth (for the most part) the person's energy flows freely throughout their whole body and this provides a feeling of well-being and a basis for the vitality and charisma so evident in young children. This free flow allows the natural, spontaneous, creative personality within to emerge. This personality is spontaneous and adaptable, at ease with itself, and content, and what is meant by the primary personality.
(2) Secondary Personality -
is the distortion of the Primary. It arises out of the various protective defence mechanisms with which the person attempt to protect themselves from stress, hurts, and unmet needs. Wilhelm Reich called these the "character armour" relating to how the neuroses become embodied in the person.
(3) Psychological or Dynamic Updrift -
this is the psychological parallel to the body throwing out a splinter, or breaking out into a rash, or having a cold, in order to eliminate foreign objects and toxins. On the psychological level, unconscious material repressed in the psyche and held within the body has a natural tendency to push up towards consciousness in order to find expression and a resolution to the conflict. It comes in many forms; memories, feelings, dreams, insights, and vegetative reactions. Biodynamic Psychology pays particular attention to this material as a significant part of the person's natural healing and "client-led" process.
(4)Vegetotherapy - this has been described as a technique of "free association" through the body. It is a form of direct contact at various points of the body, giving gentle pressure, or a holding, or a light encouraging touch. It's primary use is (in Reichian therapy) is to bring awareness of long-held tensions and chronic holding patterns in various areas or 'segments' of the body. As these come into awareness, the memories of the tensions and traumas come to the surface. The attendant emotions can then be expressed. Biodynamic vegetotherapy is practised more gently and works more to encourage spontaneous and freer breathing patterns.
(5) Rooted talking
- is a form of free association verbal therapy where the client is connected to their emotions and bodily sensations.
(6) Psycho-peristalsis -
The simplest organisms have a flexible consistency, a vital pulsation, and having wave-like plasma currents running through it's whole body. More complex organisms have more rigid structures - bones, cartilage, muscles, and tendons all of which have the potential to restrict the pulsating flow. If the two systems; the blood, fluids, and pulsating organs which expand and contract and which are organised through the parasympathetic nervous system; and the structural system, organised by the sympathetic nervous system, are in balance - any stress and tensions built-up during the day in the skeletal & musculature systems are digested and processed at more relaxed moments by the internal organs. The peristalsis of the intestines have the strongest wave-formations and the healthy functioning of this system can be heard through a stethoscope placed above the descending colon. As tension switches during the massage from the sympathetic into the parasympathetic, the resulting increase in parasympathetic, digestive activity can be heard and encouraged by the masseur/euse and the stethoscope thus acts as a direct form of feed-back.

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