“Failure informs me,” William Cornell said. “You can’t learn if you’re not disturbed.” With 45 years in the field, William certainly understands the importance of noticing what excites you and what disturbs you—these are your learning edge, your leading edge, he said.
In today’s cultural climate, it’s essential to appreciate that people live in systems of oppression. We need to ask ourselves: What is it like to live within that system, a system that is not going away? How do you leave therapy and go back to that prejudicial system? How do you work with the internalization of oppression on part of the self?
How the latest research in epigenetics, neuroscience, polyvagal and attachment theories are making somatic psychology and body psychotherapy foundational for effective clinical practice, according to Dr Marti Glenn.
Medical trauma in patients and providers: interpersonal neurobiology and the autonomic nervous system with Jacqueline Carleton, PhD
Current state of body psychotherapy research and contemporary somatic psychotherapeutic practices with Ilse Schmidt-Zimmerman.
Post-modern challenges to embodiment and human vitality: a view from the street and the therapy room with Gustl Marlock
Nancy Eichhorn offers her experience listening to six speakers’ viewpoints at the day long celebration honoring The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology in a four-part blog posting with some longer writings and some short eclipses of the content shared. As well, she hopes to reflect their collective themes that resonated with William Cornell’s call for institutions to train ‘embodied’ psychotherapists rather than body psychotherapists—a play on the aliveness of the adjective rather than the solid structural nature of a noun.
To be human means to orient vertically; it is our most fundamental human orientation. We live the majority of our lives in a vertical posture, assuming the advantages and challenges of the evolutionary development of a vertical spine. From infancy on we don’t waste any time trying to get ourselves vertical. Place a baby on his stomach and one of his first movements is to raise his head. He doesn’t stop there. As soon as possible he proceeds to push up, sit up, and stand up.
Yet, integrated vertical standing is not a fixed and rigid state. Rather, it is a dynamic stance that makes continual fine adjustments in gravity. This continual stable motion in our posture and internal organs rouses information in the form of emotions, memories, thoughts and sensations.
One of the most important and influential figures in somatic psychology is… a philosopher. Odd? Actually not. Because the more we learn about Eugene Gendlin’s revolutionary philosophy of the body, the more it makes sense that he is known as one of the originators of modern body-oriented psychotherapy.
John Gray PhD has taught gender differences and ways of understanding communication styles for over 40 years now, and he continues to evolve. I learned that he realized healthy human relationships depend on more than strong connections, understanding our differences and good communication skills—they are also influenced by our physical health: “If you aren’t healthy in your mind and body, it’s hard to be healthy outside your mind and body. So if you feel sick, tired, exhausted, stressed and generally unhappy, this will cause your relationships to feel the same way” (www.marsvenus.com).