April 5, 2023
How Engaging the Body Can Enhance Your Psychotherapy Practice
Perhaps you have training in EMDR, know about tapping, have read The Body Keeps the Score, or studied body-based therapy approaches that focus on awareness but have not experienced the value of working directly with the body in therapy. Bioenergetic analysis incorporates the body through movement linked with feeling and as central to the psychotherapy process. Based on the notion that the body needs to change, along with the mind, to address the roots of the issues which bring clients to psychotherapy, bioenergetic therapists learn to read a person’s history in the structure of their bodies.
The movement-based tools of bioenergetic analysis integrate an understanding of a client’s history and ability to address the roots of their presenting problems. This understanding fosters compassion in the therapeutic relationship and a capacity to facilitate change on a deep level. Bioenergetic therapists incorporate exercises to release chronic tension, which may be out of a person’s awareness but profoundly impacts how they feel. In addition, bioenergetic therapy focuses on exercises to open unconscious breathing patterns, increase a person’s connection to the ground, link verbal and non-verbal communications in personal boundaries, and allow emotions to move through the body beneficially.
Studies confirm that exercise helps alleviate depression. However, getting a depressed person to exercise can be challenging. Bioenergetic therapy addresses this by introducing movement as part of psychotherapy. Further, neuroscientists such as Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett teach that the body acts as an antenna for the brain, constantly providing information about how to respond.
In her book How Emotions Are Made, Dr. Barrett reminds us that no matter how much a person changes their thoughts, if their body does not feel good – from being tired, hungry, in pain, or filled with tension – they will not feel good. Therefore, working with the body in the context of psychotherapy makes sense and becomes essential to helping clients feel better and enjoy their lives more fully.
To learn more about how you can incorporate movement and bioenergetic therapy into your sessions, click below to visit the course page for Laurie Ure’s online therapist course taught in collaboration with Robert Coffman and Vincentia Schroeter.
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