Browsing: somatic psychology

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What can the theory and practice of somatic/body psychotherapy, ecopsychology and Buddhism offer to each other?

For the past five years, Kamalamani has shared life and work at the confluence of these fields in her quarterly Bodywise articles for Somatic Psychotherapy Today, an independent international publication representing various modalities in body psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and pre-natal and perinatal psychology. This volume brings together these quarterly Bodywise articles. Kamalamani explores client work in embodied and relational ways, drawing upon her practice of Buddhism. With her characteristically warm, immediate, accessible tone, Kamalamani encourages personal reflection and professional consideration as she offers insights illuminated by traditional Buddhist texts along with personal and clinical anecdotes that range from birth to death, from meditating with character to Reich’s character structures, from trauma and terrorized bodies to diversity, embodied spirituality and pre-natal and peri-natal psychology.

Reviews

Trauma is pervasive in our lives, from smaller situations that trigger feelings of inability and fear to larger catastrophes that render our entire being useless as we careen out of control. Be it a result of human inflicted acts of violence—war, terrorism, genocide— or the result of natural occurrences such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and wild fires that leave us feeling victimized, isolated, abandoned, people walk through their lives numb to their reality. Their senses are overwhelmed; scenes flash in as if happening now, not then. People exist in the past as if it is the present. And when these people become our clients, when in fact these people are in part, ourselves, we, as therapists, need to offer hope and possibility to move from then to now, to live a better quality of life than what we are experiencing in the current moment.

But, how?

Currents

The Fall 2017 issue of the International Body Psychotherapy Journal, volume 16, number 3, is now online. This issue marks a significant transition to the IBPJ editorial team. Jill van der Aa, the managing editor since the journal’s inception, is stepping down and Antigone Orepoulou is stepping up for the Spring 2018 issue. We welcome her to the editorial team. The fall issue offers a range of papers. Readers can partake in an in-depth conversation about self-disclosure from a relational body psychotherapy stance, and explore client suffering as potentially originating from civilization then look at how getting in touch adaptively with the body resonates with helping society get in touch sustainably with the ecosystem. The pioneering work of Sabina Spielrein is explored as is the Triphasic Cumulative Microaggression Trauma Processing Model.

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In therapy, I believe our work is to support our clients as they and we enliven the places in imagination where we consciously and unconsciously create and cultivate visualizations vital for healing—specific images and sensations that are less apt to trigger distressing images but rather become integrated as components of recovery and healing. As we work within the psyche’s realm of awareness to re-envision scenes that support mental health and wellbeing, healing light becomes available when the darkness of harsher images from a terrifying past invades the mind and the body. Indeed, the recent tragic loss in Bev’s extended family had brought forth just such –a cascade of painful emotions, restless insomnia, anxious anhedonia, and a flare of her osteoarthritis.need for warmth and healing peace, Bev is learning how to confidently summon these images. However, for survivors of abuse like Bev, darker, more troubling pictures arise in the mind, unbidden and unwelcomed these images disturb their tranquility, knock them off balance.

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Jagged edges of pain were audible and palpable in Kris’ voice when he initially called. “I need therapy. But . . . I can’t come now . . . I’m . . . in a hospital. I’d like to call you again . . . when I’m out.” I met Kris two months later after his discharge from a local psychiatric program. No longer at risk for self-harm, Kris was a tall, attractive man in his late thirties with a story of misery. Kris talked about childhood bullying and his recent marital demise that had caused him financial and emotional devastation. Yet, regardless of these past and current traumas, Kris possessed strengths.

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Walking over to my chair, cell phone in hand, Bev exclaimed (the tone of her voice implying the answer was a given to her upcoming question), “Aren’t these pictures beautiful? Here, look at this one—I took it from the old Fort. Can you spot the house in the background across the inlet? That’s where my father would put the boat in the water to take us up the coast. Those were good times.” Bev’s photographs, composites of her beloved seas and shorelines along Maine’s southern and mid-coast, comprise a visual memorial to the beaches and bays that provided a measure of playfulness and serenity within the more chronic and painful vagaries of her childhood and adolescence.

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Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) by Toni Herbine-Blank, Donna M. Kerpelman, and Martha Sweezy is geared toward psychotherapists who are seeking an alternative method for practicing couples therapy. IFIO therapy stems from Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS), a model developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1980s as an approach to working with individuals and families, then later expanded to include couples. IFIO couple’s therapy involves a two-step process of planning for the predictable universal issues that couples face and responding skillfully to other unexpected factors. Couples entering IFIO therapy often hold the two goals of feeling safe within their relationship and reestablishing intimacy. In the initial session, the therapist meets with the couple to inquire about hopes and goals, assess their ability to accept differences in each other, and then offer a perspective on the possibilities of treatment.

Currents

This conference brings together two dynamic clinician-authors at the heart of the contemporary discourse on the place of the body and somatic experience in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis: William Cornell, author of Somatic Experience in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (2015) and Jon Sletvold, author of The Embodied Analyst: From Freud and Reich to Relationality (2014).

The program will combine conceptual elements with discourse, clinical and supervisory examples, demonstrations of training and supervision techniques, and a good deal of experiential work drawn from the speakers’ many decades as clinicians and trainers. This diversely formatted program will appeal to psychodynamic and analytic clinicians, those involved in the training and supervision of psychotherapists, and somatic psychotherapists who want to experience the clinical and training styles of these internationally-known body psychotherapy innovators.

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We’ve just posted our summer book review issue on issuu.com for those wanting a digital read of the entire magazine. We’re working on embedding it on our site as well. Stay tuned for more exciting advances.

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It is with great pleasure I wish to introduce myself to you, as the new incoming President of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). The association has continued to serve our profession for over two decades by providing a hub for all somatic psychology. As the new board transitions this year into the administration we hope to continue to champion our mission to help advance the art, science, and practice of body psychotherapy and somatic psychology.