THE STAGES OF HEALING, PART THREE

Here is the third installment from my class on the Stages of Healing. This stage, all about feelings, is not one that is always reached by patients in therapy, and in fact, many traditional therapies don't even involve techniques that engage the body and the emotions directly. If your goal is happiness and health, however, this is a big one.

Energizing, Moving and Releasing Feelings

Whatever the person’s stated reasons for coming to therapy are, and regardless of the symptoms, the main problem of every “patient” (person in pain) is that they are not as happy as they feel they could be. (This does not mean that every patient’s “goal” in therapy is going to be finding happiness, nor does it mean that every patient is going to stick around until they do.)
Emotions are the movements of energy in the body which are perceived and interpreted by the mind in order to decide upon an action relative to the emotion. Joy, pleasure, love and happiness are emotions which, under natural circumstances, move us toward the sources of the “positive” stimulation. Pain, fear and anger move us away from the catalysts of those feelings. However, if we are unable to move towards the sources of pleasure or away from the causes of pain, as is the case when we are helpless and dependent in childhood, we go into a crisis that feels life-threatening to the child. The only recourse to the child in such a situation is to try and move away from the feelings themselves. To do this, she will clench her muscles and distort her body structure to inhibit the flow of energy. While this approach seems to avoid the unpleasantness of the “negative” feelings, it also makes the experience of happiness and pleasure equally inhibited.
These characterological defensive structures are built into the body as well as the mind and therefore cannot be dismantled with insight and awareness (the mind) alone. The body must be engaged in a therapy process if the aim is to facilitate the person’s full capacity to experience real happiness and pleasure. Only minimal and partial relief can be attained through minimal and partial therapies, and very often, the positive results of limited therapies often don’t last because the person’s basic defensive structure has been left intact. (In many cases, however, patients - and therapists - are satisfied with Freud’s “goal” for therapy, once expressed in his famous quote that “the best psychoanalysis can offer is a return to a state of common unhappiness.”)
A fully therapeutic bodywork psychotherapy includes working with the physical/emotional aspects of the person in the following ways: 1. Unblocking, loosening and strengthening; 2. Expressing; and 3. Restructuring.
Knots, kinks, contracted or overextended muscles, etc., can be directly worked on by the therapist to aid the unblocking, loosening and strengthening. Hitting, kicking, stamping, jumping, screaming, shouting, biting, etc., can all be used to facilitate the expression and release of long-held emotions. Corrective breathing and vocal toning, various posture and movement techniques and skeletal adjustments, as well as detoxifying, internal cleansing programs can all be used to help the freeing-up person restructure their bodies to prepare for “full permission living.” (Rolling can be used for everything!)

1 comment:

Mind Body Shop said...

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.

 

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