Because of new research into child development, the developmental perspective has captured the attention of the therapeutic community for the last fifteen years, and it is transforming the way therapy is being carried out. Most schools of body psychotherapy have also been deeply impacted by this shift, but most have had to rely on theories that address primarily psychological development to inform their work. In this interview, I discuss the formation of a truly somatically based theory of human development with its founder, Lisbeth Marcher.
Since the mid-80s, the Bodynamic System has developed new ways to work with trauma and stress-related conditions by incorporating the body in a very concrete, physical manner. In this article we describe how we work with the Ego split that is caused by shock.
Overcoming Shock Trauma and PTSD Bodynamics Training for the Ukrainian veterans is aimed at the post traumatic growth of the combat operations participants and is based on the “equal to equal” principle. The training is created by Ditte Marcher, Director of Bodynamics International, and is based on the 30 years of experience working in the war zones. The training was first carried out in Denmark for the Danish veterans in 2013-2014, and the veteran organization VaKa was established as the result. The first training in Ukraine was taught by Ditte Marcher and the Ukrainian assistants in 2015 based on the contract and the request of the Healing War Scars organization.
In this article, we will present the method of working with therapeutic re-birthing as practiced by psychotherapists trained in Bodynamic Analysis. The principles set forth here were presented by Lisbeth Marcher in a lecture before the Third Congress on Pre- and Perinatal Psychology in San Francisco, California in 1987.
What is the impact of incorporating work with the body in the therapeutic treatment of assault/abuse? Victims of violence or sexual abuse who have tried to work it through exclusively in verbal therapy often express: "I know what happened, and I have talked it through, but I'm still missing something." "I can't seem to be finished with it." "I still don't like my body." "I'm still scared." Body-psychotherapeutic work with victims of assault/abuse usually enables radical progress. First the client will experience the assault/abuse as more "real" -- the experience gains a somatic and emotional reality. Later s/he will find it is actually possible to release the experience: feelings can be expressed, nausea and anxiety disappear, the stomach becomes quiet again, etc.
When we work with clients or train therapists one of the models we use is - a "Model of energy fields", developed by Lisbeth Marcher. This energy model is especially inspired by Danish spiritual teacher Jes Bertelsen and Lisbeth’s studies of intercultural issues. We use this model to find out how an issue that we are working with interrelates in the greater picture. It is important for us to know which other fields the issue has to be integrated with.
When I work, I use both verbal and non-verbal interventions. I analyze, I make contracts, I integrate cognitive, behavioral, somatic and social elements, I touch (in ways that can be supportive, neutral and/or evoking), I work from ethical guidelines, I teach and I confront, I use developmental theory and character structure theory, I use transference and countertransference concepts, and much more. My intention is to help clients with issues that prevent them from functioning in the world, help them to overcome obstacles and to develop new resources.
In terms of understanding the scientific validation of The Bodynamic System, we alternate between calling it The Bodynamic System (Analysis), The Bodynamic Analysis, Bodynamic Analysis and The Bodynamic System. It is the same, but occurs owing to a recent name change from Analysis to System, which signals that our System includes so many models and concepts, and that we traverse (go across) officially recognized boundaries between different professional disciplines.
It is a common experience that language is not a very precise means of communication. Very often we encounter misunderstandings like “but I thought that …” or “didn’t you say that …?” Maybe you do a certain thing in the belief that it is going to make somebody else happy, and then it does not. Or you “follow your intuition”, and it turns out to be all wrong. If such misunderstandings are not cleared up, the result may be complicated conflicts, ruined friendships and lost business possibilities.
Challenges on the way towards a common ground of body psychotherapy – Body psychotherapy versus the established areas of psychology.
I believe that we need to move towards a common ground of body psychotherapy, and also that we need to enter into a more professional dialogue with the world of established and academic psychologists. These are no easy challenges. I will address some of the difficulties I see as connected to these processes including what I perceive as our fears and resistances. And I will suggest a few steps in both (interconnected) directions: what is the common ground of body psychotherapy and how can we establish a dialogue with the world of academic psychologists?