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.
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.
Shock trauma can, of course, occur at any time in one's life. Thus it might occur within developmental stages (pre-birth through adolescence). The focus in this workshop is on trauma that occurs within particular developmental stages -- the attachment stages: Existence (2nd Trimester to 3 months): Need (1 month to 1.5 years of age); and Autonomy (8 months - 2.5 years). During these periods, most of the infant's experience is in the sensory motor realm. Spoken language is barely available, and the limbic and cortical portions of the infant's brain are not fully developed.
A basic knowledge of Post-Traumatic Stress or Shock is crucial for the Body-Psychotherapist. Shock reactions often present themselves in body work. Much of what we observe as discharges of fear and probably all of what we observe as discharges of terror are expressions of shock. Most people 'With marked Schizoid tendencies, Psychotic experiences and Borderline traits have significant amounts of shock. In my personal Reichian body work I was, unknowingly by my therapist, pushed into the core of my own shock which resulted in my falling apart 2 times.