Body Psychotherapy is a method of counseling that begins with the premise that problems of the mind are revealed and expressed in the body. It is important to understand that problems of the mind are not necessarily the result of specific traumatic incidents, but of the day-to-day repression of feelings over time. People suppress emotions by holding their breath and tensing their muscles. Neuroscience has recently substantiated the importance of working with the body in psychology. What this means is that to help you address problems you are having, the work of therapy will involve your body, as well as your mind.
Bioenergetic Analysis is a specific form of body psychotherapy founded in 1956 by Alexander Lowen, a student of Dr. Wilhelm Reich. Wilhelm Reich was a colleague of Freud, and contributed much of the knowledge of “character” to psychology in the 1930s. Dr. Reich also developed the original body psychotherapy, called “Character Analysis.” His understanding of character, and how to help different “character types” address their problems, came from his study of muscular contractions in the body and how they corresponded to psychological defenses used to ward off anxiety.
Anyone struggling with problems that are addressed in traditional talk therapy can be helped with bioenergetic analysis – body psychotherapy. Issues addressed with body psychotherapy include, depression, anxiety, panic, anger problems, personality issues that interfere with relationships or work, identity issues, addiction and eating disorders, among others. If you have tried traditional talk therapy and found that it did not work for you, or if you have given up on medication, you may want to try body psychotherapy.
Much of traditional psychotherapy tends to work primarily with the conscious mind. Logic and rationality are taught and used to overcome and handle difficult emotional situations. Psychodynamic therapy and Psychoanalysis attempt to involve your unconscious feelings by using what is called “the transference,” to help you. Unfortunately, though highly effective, developing and using “the transference” can take a very long time. For some, the slow development and resolution of “the transference” is just the right pace. For others, the process can be too slow or cost prohibitive. Bioenergetic Analysis – Body Psychotherapy is a combination of the work of traditional psychotherapy’s logic, psychoanalytic understanding and use of “the transference,” and the use of “stress positions” and other work that involves the body and induces feelings immediately.
The advantages of Bioenergetic Analysis – Body Psychotherapy are that through the use of stress positions and other body work, feelings are accessed immediately and are then useful in the psychotherapy process. The time it takes to gain understanding and then make any change you want is greatly minimized. Character, or “personality” problems can also be resolved with the use of body work and psychoanalysis. By releasing the chronic tensions that create your “character,” and gaining an understanding of your motivations, you ultimately have a more broad choice of actions in any given situation, rather than being locked in to responding “in character.”