Body-oriented therapy (hereinafter referred to as BOT) is a narrow branch of psychotherapy aimed at helping the client to resolve difficulties, experiences and psychosomatic problems by working with bodily, emotional and rational manifestations. The body becomes the key to getting to the deeply buried mental torments and traumas, to discover the primary impulses, the root causes of certain reactions.
We owe the emergence of BOT to Wilhelm Reich. He was the first to use somatic therapy in his psychotherapeutic practice. For that time Reich’s ideas (e.g., body contact with the patient) were revolutionary. Since that time, 100 years have passed and BOT has become widespread around the world, and today the number of people following it is as great as the number of 20Bet users, having dozens of officially recognized schools.
BOT uses words like “bioenergetics.” It sounds like something magical and not scientific. Could you explain what the difference is?
Bioenergetics or bioenergetic analysis by Alexander Lowen, a student and client of Wilhelm Reich, has nothing to do with magic, chakras or esoteric practices. This psychotherapeutic method is psychoanalytically based, combining the concepts of stages of development and Reich’s theories of the mind-body connection. At the core of the method, there are three aspects: breathing, grounding, and vibration.
How does BOT differ from other types of therapy? What problems does it solve?
Its difference from other areas of psychotherapy is, first of all, in the involvement of the body and the therapist’s direct contact with the client. Before BOT, little attention was paid to the body as a psychological diagnostic tool. With BOT, it’s possible to work with the sphere of relationships, with addictions and codependency, with the strengthening of psychological boundaries, separation, somatic symptoms, with acceptance and feeling of one’s own body.
Table of Contents
What Are the Principles of Body-oriented Therapy?
Here are the main ones:
- The principle of wholeness – the person is whole and indivisible.
- The principle of dissociation describes all defense mechanisms, personality formation, socialization, as well as the creation of internal and external conflicts, symptoms and diseases.
- The interaction principle – helping a person to build an interaction with himself or herself and in partnership.
What Are the Main Methods of Body-oriented Therapy?
There are many methods of work in body-oriented therapy and the main ones are:
- Touch (body contact).
- Voice work.
- Motor exercises.
- Static postures.
- Drawing techniques.
- Body metaphor.
Why Is It Important to Work With the Body?
The importance of working with the body, in my opinion, is obvious because we live in our bodies, we have one, and there will never be another. Forming a loving and understanding relationship with it, truly being in your body, feeling its needs and enjoying it – isn’t this one of the important tasks in our lives?
Would dancing be considered body-oriented therapy in some sense? Or yoga?
Dancing, yoga, sports are all practices that involve the body, but you can’t call them body-oriented therapy because there’s no therapeutic relationship or psychological inquiry. They are just body practices, but not therapy.
Who Is Suited to Body-oriented Therapy?
Body therapy is necessary for practically everyone, since we all have a body. It’s important for those people who are desensitized, those who don’t “hear” the signals of their body, who don’t understand it, who have a lot of tension and it interferes with a comfortable existence.
All in all, body-oriented therapy has only recently begun to be used by therapists. It helps people understand themselves and adequately resolve intra-family and intrapersonal conflicts. The methods and techniques of this therapeutic approach are aimed at helping the client find harmony with themselves and with the world around them.