The body is in unity. It is not the mind that becomes angry nor the body which strikes. In posture, attitude, and every gesture, the person speaks a language, which antedates and transcends its verbal expression.
A somatic therapist not only assesses the psychological problem, but also the physical expression of that problem, as it is manifested in the physical expression and movement of the client.
We can physically manipulate changes in the physical body (e.g., exercise to breathe more deeply, enliven the body, or massage), but the changes will not hold until the underlying psychological meaning is uncovered. This releases the grip on the tension leading to one living more in the present, as opposed to holding onto the past. This ultimately gives the client more conscious control over emotional reactions.
What is Bioenergetic Analysis?
Bioenergetic Analysis is a highly effective, body-based psychotherapy that helps resolve emotional issues by engaging the wisdom of the body in a safe and caring relationship with a highly-trained therapist.
Bioenergetics has a long and established history, yet finds itself on the cutting edge of contemporary psychology as rapid advances in neurobiology highlight the intricate relationship between body and mind.
How does it work?
Bioenergetics recognizes that our life experiences – from our earliest days of childhood onward – leave physical imprints on our body. We have physiological responses (i.e., shallow breath, tense jaw or neck, or back pain) to events in our lives that are stored not only in our brains, but also in our cells and muscles. Early traumatic experiences often manifest in a range of problems in adult life, physically and psychologically.
Bioenergetic analysis – a type psychotherapy – gives you the opportunity to release unconscious holding patterns in your body through breathing, movement and emotional expression while being supported by an experienced, empathic therapist. Common interventions include:
- Awareness Experiences: The focus is on muscular tension, breathing patterns, and ways in which physical and emotional tensions, behavioral patterns, and mental states are related. Methods to increase body awareness may be suggested between sessions.
- Physical Interventions: Used to help bring more aliveness and movement to the body. They may include stretching, breathing, and stress reduction tools to expand the range of states you are able to experience. This also helps increase the capacity of movement, often resulting in resilience, creativity, and improved self-expression.
- Direct Expression: You may be asked to participate in exercises or experiences to deepen your emotional expression. These are designed to support an expanded range of feelings and a deepening of emotional awareness.
- Touch: This is sometimes used to help bring awareness to your body, to release tension, and to support the expression of feelings. The use of touch is dependent on your comfort level and designated by my licensing board and professional associations.
As a bioenergetic therapist, I believe strongly in the connection between our mind, body and emotions. Bioenergetic psychotherapy is one of the most useful and effective techniques I know for getting unstuck from the effects of past traumatic events. I use to help my clients experience more pleasure and love in their lives.
Qualifications for Bioenergetic Psychotherapists
It’s not easy to become a bioenergetic therapist: you must complete a four-year training program through the International Institute of Bioenergetic Analysis and – following two years of clinical supervision by a master teacher – can then became certified to do this skillful and challenging work.
Due to the rigorous training and supervision required, there are currently only 2 therapists in all of New Jersey who are trained to do Bioenergetic Analysis. I am proud to say that I am one of these highly-skilled group of psychotherapists.
Why is it better than traditional talk therapy?
Many of my clients want bioenergetic therapy because they have already experienced the benefits (and limitations) of traditional talk therapy and still weren’t where they wanted to be.
As a wise teacher once told me, “Traditional talk therapy doesn’t address what happens from the neck down. Working with the body-mind relationship in psychotherapy helps draw out an inner knowledge that no amount of reading or talking can do.”