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).
According to Joan Borysenko, “the body is the way in,” when it comes to spirituality, sexuality and healing. “Life force energy,” she says, “shows up as a spectrum of emotions. To work with life force energy you have to be in the moment. This seems to be the way to work with trauma and resilience. It’s less top down intellect, and more bottom up body-to-mind, how changes in the body show up in the mind, in our thought processes. Working with clients for years, I frequently see people who are traumatized have a moment of transcendence—they leave their body in trauma and enter a different reality, akin to a mystical experience. The spiritual realm is beyond religion. No matter what door you go through, if you talk to a mystic from any religion—Jew, Christian, Muslim—something larger than the individual mind occurs. They are all talking about the same thing: this immediate sense of recognition.”
Having accepted her kind invitation to offer the Thursday Keynote at the 2016 USABP Conference, I pondered how to respond to President Beth Haessig’s request that I say something that will help bodymind psychotherapists and somatic healers to comprehend, more broadly and more deeply than some do, the crucial importance of their work, and the visions that it might represent. That is, going beyond the healing offered to individuals and small groups who benefit from our professional practices, what is the more general, historical and cultural significance of the “bodymind” movement? Although I have not yet planned my talk, I am considering a free‑wheeling exploration of the ways in which healing must address—directly or indirectly, somatically and spiritually—the distinctive human capacity for hatred.
What does it mean to provide a somatically attuned and integrated style of psychotherapy? How can attunement to the innate organic wisdom of the body help us guide our clients to discover and use the healing resources within? Questions like these often guide the essential aspects of our clinical work. We leave our graduate programs, our modality trainings, our seminars and workshops and then consider, how do I bring it all in?
Bette Freedson, LCSW, offers her first monthly blog: Soul Wisdom to discuss intuition, Self-wholeness and holistic integration of body, mind, soul in psychotherapy.
Stephen Porges, Bessel van der Kolk, Ian Macnaughton and Joseph LeDoux discuss the biological nature of trauma (defined as a life threat in the face of helplessness) and the position that if trauma is stored in the body and in the limbic system what are effective treatment approaches?
Kelly Mothner, PhD, explores Tiger Wood’s precipitous fall from a mind-body connection, using current neuroscience to support her hypothesis that his decline is rooted in something more profound, more deep-seated, more subconscious. . Her perspective not only illuminates the underpinnings of his downfall, but it also holds the key to his recovery.
Serendipity? Fate? Karma? Divine intervention? What force has brought no less than six Christian ministers to this Jewish somatic psychotherapist? Ronan M. Kisch writes about his experience with spirituality, religion, and his role ‘preaching’ to the preachers.