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Reichian Therapy Wilhelm Reich, a student of Freud, is often referred to as the grandfather of body-oriented psychotherapy, however, a long history of body-oriented approaches to healing, predate his work. Eiden, His development of character analysis correlated psychological and physical patterns. This represented a radical departure from the rigid tenants of traditional psychoanalysis by initiating direct physical contact with his clients, for which he was censured and eventually excommunicated from the psychoanalytic community Older, Bioenergetics Lowen studied with Reich, but focused on the larger realm of pure feelings instead of emphasizing concerns with orgasmic performance as Reich had Lowen, Reichians work with the hypothesis that there is one, fundamental energy in the human body whether it manifests itself in psychic phenomena or in somatic motion.
Both Reich and Lowen believed that organistic potency was a criterion for cure, but Lowen included the ability to express all emotion fully. To this end, he developed exercises to help the client magnify and release tensions in the body, freeing blocked emotions. He used pressure on muscles, expressive exercises, breath work, and worked with dreams, memories and emotions, which might emerge from the unconscious as a result of the bodywork Lowen, Stanley Keleman broke from mainstream bioenergetics in his articulation of how movement creates the body and the body creates movement.
He works with breath, movement and sound as he examines the vibratory processes of the body down to the cellular level. He believes that the quality of this pulsation shapes our physical form. He seeks to reestablish charge, formation, and discharge in a process that develops healthy tissue and holistically healthy individuals. There is more focus on how a person blocks fear, anger or painful emotions rather than on content. He uses visual techniques to open the ability to access deep, spontaneous emotion and to choose appropriate goals, increasing self-direction, control and significance in the life of his students.
For Kelley, the focus is on education and growth. Most Radix work is done in groups Caldwell, The SE modality is based on the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild, according to SE theory, utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors.
According to the Foundation for Human Enrichment Somatic Experiencing is not considered as a form of psychotherapy, it stands on its own as an approach to healing trauma. The Foundation is clear that SE is neither a psychotherapy nor a bodywork technique, but lends itself well to being integrated into these and other treatment modalities. Focusing The term focusing was popularized by Dr. Focusing refers to the simple matter of holding an open, non-judging attention something which is directly experienced but is not yet in words. The Focusing technique that can be successfully used in any kind of therapeutic situation, including peer-to-peer sessions Gendline, Keleman , He describes as follows:.
Formative psychology, is based in the evolutionary process in which life continually forms the next series of shapes, from birth through maturity to old age.
The five vital signs of conversation : address, self-disclosure, seating, eye-contact, and touch.
At conception each person is given a biological and emotional inheritance, but it is through voluntary effort that a human fulfills the potential for forming a personal life. Form gives rise to feeling. When individual identity is grounded in somatic reality, we can say: I know who I am by how I experience myself. Formative psychology gives a philosophy and method of how to work with our life.
We learn to regenerate our emotional and instinctual vitality, to inhabit our body, and to incorporate our excitement and emotional aliveness.
The goal of formative practice is to use daily life to practice being present and to create an adult self and reality. I proceed from the premise that we are each conceived as an adult and that we grow the adults we are meant to be. Additional approaches to body psychotherapy Other pioneers in the field have blended disciplines to form their work. New forms of body-centered psychotherapy are evolving which apply softer techniques and less analytical methodology. These forms use less exploitive, stressful postures, invasive touching, or breathing to extreme states.
There is less of a focus on analysis as the client takes more responsibility for finding meaning in the communication from their body voice.
This is a foreign concept to most Western traditionally trained practitioners but ancient and alternative healing methods refer to a force of energy that animates the entire organism. The limbic system, often referred to as the part of the brain that controls emotions, has forty times more neuropeptide receptors than other parts of the brain. Blood flow is closely regulated by emotional peptides, which signal receptors on blood vessel walls to constrict or dilate, and so influence the amount and velocity of blood flowing through them from moment to moment.
The brain requires a plentiful source of glucose in order for the neurons and glial cells to perform their function. When emotions are blocked due to denial, repression, or trauma, blood flow can become chronically constricted, depriving the frontal cortex, as well as other organs, of vital nourishment. This can cause one to feel foggy and less alert, limited in awareness, with diminished ability to facilitate the body-mind conversation in order to make conscious decisions that alter physiology or behavior.
Hence, one becomes stuck repeating old patterns of emotion and behavior. The nervous system learns from pleasure, as well as pain. Each time we make sense of new information, the brain rewards us by releasing endorphins and other pleasure-producing petrochemicals.
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Touch is a very sophisticated language that is communicated through our skin, both receiving and giving information. It bypasses words and rational concepts housed in the neocortical brain Caldwell, We could say that CRF is the peptide of negative expectations, since it may have been stimulated by negative experiences in childhood. Animal studies show that monkey babies deprived of maternal nurturing, neglected or abused have high levels of CRF.
Feeling is healed through somatic experience because our minds and our feelings reside in our bodies. She asserts that we are literally able to consciously and intentionally intervene at the level of our molecules, making significant changes in our physiology, releasing certain biochemicals into our systems.
The well-known tools of traditional psychotherapeutic trade, such as dreams and the symbolic meaning of words, as well as touch do, in fact, access the psychosomatic network.
There is no doubt that these traditional tools have their place and their effectiveness but it is necessary to acknowledge other effective points of entry as well: the skin, spinal cord, and organs are all nodal points of entry into the system. The deepest oldest messages are stored and must be accessed through the body. Multiple factors effect the decision making process in forming a treatment plan that includes touch.
It is crucial to address the specific touch experiences of special populations. Survivors of Childhood Trauma The use of touch with survivors of childhood trauma has been much debated. However the clinically appropriate and ethical use of touch with survivors of childhood abuse can be invaluable in helping them heal and recover from their traumatic experiences Hunter, Struve, Due to the nature of their original injuries, many of these clients are likely to feel intense vulnerability at the suggestion of touch in the intimate setting of psychotherapy.
There is the possibility that touch used with clients who are survivors of childhood trauma may recreate, or evoke, previous client-experienced dynamics of submission and victimization, entrapment, anger, fear, vulnerability and feelings of worthlessness. Because of this, Lawry states that the use of touch is contra-indicated in early sessions due to the potential for retraumatization , and Cornell suggests that language based interventions may allow more adequate time for developing rapport, trust and a sense of safety in which deeper affect and profound pain can be released and tolerated.
The concept of memory and trauma is highly controversial. Many studies document that traumatic memories are encoded in our sensorimotor system as kinesthetic sensations and images. This results in the client having great difficulty reconstructing a narrative of their traumatic memories as they experience them instead as emotional and sensory recall Van der Kolk et. Bar Levav, reports that physiological patterns in the body can be changed by touch to correct early injurious experiences. Most authors agree that a client must want to touch or be touched and understand the concepts of empowerment before it is clinically or ethically appropriate to begin the use of touch in session Hunter et.
To this end, clients should be encouraged to express their preferences, to practice boundary-setting exercises, and to participate in creating a treatment plan. Many abuse survivors respond to anxiety by having difficulty in protecting their boundaries. Therefore, it is helpful for the therapist to state clearly that he or she accepts full responsibility for ensuring that there will be no sexual contact with the client, and to be clear about the process and type of touch that will be involved.
Hunter and Struve suggest that it is helpful to draft written ground rules as many survivors are highly dissociative and have difficulty retaining verbal information in stressful situations. Helfer developed a program, which includes a series of graduated exercises through which a client can address developmental tasks, which were missed in childhood as a result of abusive or neglectful parenting.
The Five Vital Signs Of Conversation Address Self Disclosure Seating Eye Contact And Touch
Since most survivors of abuse have learned to mistrust touch, he begins by helping the client get in touch with his or her five senses that may have been undeveloped, underdeveloped, or overdeveloped. These exercises explore the distinction between good touch and bad touch and help the client to enjoy the benefits of soothing supportive touch.
The therapists may then guide the client in nurturing, supportive self-touch such as self-massage or self-stroking. Another approach is to direct the client in the use of imagery to reconnect with his body, to recognize bodily sensations and to name them. It can also be less threatening for a client to experience safe, nurturing, non-erotic touch through the use of imagery. Clients might further be instructed to deliberately engage in various types of touching activities, such as touching trusted friends or animals, massage, or contact sports.
Any touching in therapy should be solely for the benefit of the client and great caution must be taken if the client is dissociated. The hypocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus and thalamus function by laying down memory traces that are subsequently regulated by stress hormones. Flashbacks can occur when a current stressor activates traumatic memory traces and the client dissociates and loses full contact with essential details in the current environment.
Positive therapeutic results have been demonstrated in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological trauma survivors. It is essential that the therapist be familiar with the dynamics of dissociation before working with a trauma survivor. Asking communicates respect for her and her body; it says that her preference will be respected and that no intrusion however slight will occur against her will Courtois, Many therapists consider touch of any kind to be inappropriate with clients who have been abused through violations of the body. Many therapists and all somatic therapists believe that a client will have great difficulty in fully recovering from such trauma if only verbal or cognitive approaches to therapy are used.
Clients traumatized in childhood are often unable to make distinctions between affectionate touch and sexual touch Ball In a study done by Horton et.
Durana states that touch is usually contraindicated for clients who are paranoid, actively hostile or aggressive, or who implicitly or explicitly demand touch. Hunter and Struve suggest that special care should be taken using touch with populations that have experienced assault, neglect, attachment difficulties, sexual addictions, eating disorders, and intimacy issues. Rothschild , suggests that a better strategy for these clients is to assist them in learning how to perceive and respect his or her own boundaries and to teach how to meet the needs of touch among close friends and family due to the complication of the possible provocation of transference and countertransference.
Children and Adolescences Clinicians who do use touch in session, tend to do so in ways that reflect biases inherent in the larger culture. Hyperactive children tend to have negative reactions to being touched Bauer, and clinicians are alerted to be aware of the profound social implications of this sensitivity Thayer, Adolescents may be particularly sensitive to dimensions of control with regard to touch and may react negatively to touch that could be interpreted as patronizing or unduly familiar Smith, et.
A growing body of literature has linked aggressive, violent, and antisocial behaviors to early childhood touch deprivation Katsurada, ; Mitchell, ; Older, In one study, the staff of an adolescent treatment program modeled nonsexual, nonviolent touch to incorporate physical contact as an acceptable aspect of the milieu. This is in contrast to high touch cultures in which elders are generally cared for at home in the company of extended family.
Most people experience some level of decrements in physical faculties and general perceptual skills but the sense of touch generally remains intact for most older people and actually is valued as increasingly important as a source of contact and communication Hollinger, Gender issues Touch in psychotherapy occurs between female and male clients as well as same-sex therapist-client dyads, but the highest frequency of physical contact occurs between male therapist and their female clients Brodsky, In this context, attention should be paid to power dynamics whereby women touched by male therapists might feel devalued because of social stereotypes Alyn, Redleaf, appropriately cautions that any treatment modality reserved for only one sex may be interpreted as being sexist.
Rigid application of touch along gender lines fits the definition of sexism and is clinically inappropriate. From birth, American women receive more affectionate touch from males and females and are given greater permission to touch either gender and be touched by either gender.
They are more likely to have and expect a broader repertoire of touch. American males are given less affectionate touch in infancy and early childhood and this has been linked with higher rates of violence and aggression in later life Redleaf, For most men in our society, touch has been limited to violent and sexual encounters with the exception of rough yet affectionate touch that is allowed in sports and the military Montague Clinicians are cautioned that for men, who generally do not give or receive nonsexual touch, regression transference may be elicited by the use of nonerotic touch in psychotherapy Downey, Psychoanalysis traditionally has placed an almost total interdiction on physical touch between client and analyst within the analytic arena.
Yet touch, based on our largest sensory organ, the skin, provides a fundamental and elaborate form of communication. Psychoanalysis, from the days of its inception, has been highly concerned with the effect of physical touch in analysis. The issue erupted, beginning with Freud, back in scolding Ferenczi for letting a female client kiss him. Freud wrote to Ferenczi:. You have not made a secret of the fact that you kiss your patients and let them kiss you… Now I am assuredly not one of those who from prudishness or from consideration of bourgeois convention would condemn little erotic gratifications of this kind… But that does not alter the fact… that with us a kiss signifies a certain erotic intimacy… Now picture what will be the result of publishing your technique… A number of independent thinkers will say to themselves: Why stop at a kiss?
And then bolder ones will come along who will go further, to peeping and showing and soon we shall have accepted in the technique of analysis the whole repertoire of demiviergerie and petting parties, resulting in an enormous interest in psychoanalysis among both analysts and patients.