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A man enters a party with many new people. To join in and as an attempt to connect with these unfamiliar people he makes a joke. Everyone stares at him, no one laughs. The joke falls flat because it was loaded with harsh humour and this party was not the best place to share it. At this point, the man probably experiences feeling a sense of shame after seeing the response. He looks awkward and becomes quiet. It is an uncomfortable situation for all.
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.
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?
What does it actually mean to care for oneself? Some of the first words that come to mind are personal integrity, to feel oneself and to listen to oneself. One of the great gestalt therapists was once asked: Who was more important the client or the therapist? The answer was the therapist. It is a provocative way of seeing it, but the point is true. If the therapist does not see him/herself as the most important, it is not possible to help the client fully.
What is it that lets a work group function optimally? What promotes the completion of the task, an atmosphere conducive to cooperation, the solution of conflicts and the further development of the group and of its individual members? Many models have been constructed at various times to answer these questions. BODYnamic's answer is a model consisting of eight necessary functions to be maintained by a leader (leader functions) or as a group (group functions). Hence the name: F8. Associations to the F16 fighter bomber are not out of place here: A "crash landing" cannot always be avoided, but the F8 model generally "keeps you flying" when used consistently.