Other therapeutic principles and methods of the Bodynamic System
All major therapeutic modalities of the Bodynamic System – the Character Structures, Ego Functions, Shock Trauma – PTSD work, the Bodymap, etc – fully incorporate the body in the therapeutic process.
Our list of somatic-verbal tools for therapy is long and includes (among others):
- Active Sensing; (evolved from Carl Rogers and Active Listening)
- Body Awareness (which in turn comprises Body Sensing, Body Experiencing, Body Emotions/Expression, and Body Regression); a theory and practice widely implemented in Danish education since the 1950’s;
- Body Reading and Postural Mirroring;
- Psychodynamic exercises and boundaries exercises;
- Guiding the client to sense and understand Reflexive Movement Patterns;
- Unlocking impulses frozen in the body;
- Using resistance in movements and counter-movements to change patterns of body tension, et al.
All those somatic-verbal tools help the client develop new resources for action that are at once psychomotor and cognitive.
Ways of using the body to support the psychological process
The body is a constant source of reliable information that can make enormous difference in the psychological process. The Bodynamic System utilizes both supporting touch and activation of individual muscles or groups of related muscles to facilitate the unfolding of the psychological process.
Informed by decades of precise research into the psychological function of individual muscles, that approach brings to the surface, in a very simple and straightforward manner, the themes that need to be addressed at the time so that the psychological process can continue toward resolution.
Another resource is that as the session progresses the therapist can physically monitor (visually and by touch) the quality of response in a muscle, and be able to confirm the actual improvement of the psychological process. For example, when working with an issue involving boundaries, the therapist may choose to touch the lateral deltoid muscle on one or both sides, activating the psychological issue of boundaries. Any significant progress in the actual boundary issue will inevitably be accompanied by a palpable change in the response of the muscle and by a change of body posture or attitude.
To a trained practitioner, the quality of change in muscle response at any moment during therapy can offer precise information about the current progress of the psychological process, information that is not available by any other means.
A fundamental principle and therapeutic method of Bodynamic Analysis is Active Sensing. Many psychotherapy modalities base their understanding of the therapeutic process on the mental representations of the patient and/or therapist, which may or may not be relevant to the particular stage of the therapy process. Bodynamic Analysis utilizes Active Sensing, a real-time skill for authentic and accurate understanding of actual body-mind events and conditions at every moment in the therapy process. Active sensing offers a solid basis for interaction and builds grounded containment of emotions.
Originally we used Carl Rogers’ Active Listening, as we had learned it. We looked to improve his model by adding precise knowledge of the body and expanding the effectiveness of Active Listening by adding questions and instructions related to the BodyKnot (following paragraph), thereby formulating Active Sensing.
Transference and Counter-Transference
Transference and Counter-transference are important tools for healing old developmental patterns. According to Boadella (and others before him), transference reflects the history of earlier psychological patterns in the muscles, which then get projected onto therapist / trainer / group members.
Many years of experience in teaching and training psychotherapists that work with other modalities (non-Bodynamic) have shown that the Character Structure model may be applied as a powerful tool for describing different patterns of transference and counter-transference. The Character Structure model describes muscle response patterns in tandem with the person’s patterns of contact, social interaction and behaviour.
The Bodynamic therapist-trainer can involve transference patterns specifically in relation to character structure or developmental patterns by utilizing specific exercises, healthy parent messages, contact patterns, psycho-motor work and language. By establishing this new contact pattern in the transference, or resonance as Boadella describes it, a new imprint is created and integrated into daily life.