Bioenergetic body-mind psychotherapy has a very clear focus on supporting the free flow of life in a person. That is, bioenergetics focuses on enlivening, rather than simply “removing” troubling behaviors.
Much of the difficulty that people suffer – from a bioenergetic perspective – is a result of natural and healthy instinctual strivings (e.g., to survive, to connect with others, to feel good about the self, to seek pleasure, to feel fully, to take initiative in service of the self, and so forth) are hindered by early and often traumatic experiences. And thus, many difficulties arise in our lives because our natural and healthy strivings, motivations, and instincts get frozen. Or those instincts get re-directed in ways that are not fully life-affirming.
For example, we may learn through early experience that we can’t or should’t make mistakes – and that we only get positive attention when we are “perfect.” This means we increasingly must live from an image of what we “should” be, rather than being able to pursue things that please us, and do them imperfectly. We cannot be a whole self, we cannot make mistakes, and we struggle if we fail at something, or can’t accept or let others see our struggles or imperfections. Guilt, shame, anger, and hurt emerge in this scenario – but perhaps never get to see the light of day because they too are “imperfect” feelings.
With the process of enlivening that can happen with bioenergetic body-mind therapy, these feelings also can make their way to the surface for expression – in addition to the joy and pleasure that can begin to emerge from living a life that is fully embodied and energized. This also means that – as many of us have heard – “you have to feel it to heal it.” In other words, the energy must move. And when energy moves, we feel.
In bioenergetic body-mind therapy, we don’t just get to this enlivening by talking about it, or by being “talked into” so-called healthy or constructive behaviors. We learn by doing, and by discovering and dissolving our blocks – our frozenness.
Being angry, sad, hurt, lonely, wanting to connect, excited, curious, loving are are part of being human – and natural expressions of the life force. When we can experience and express our anger or sadness – as well as our excitement or desire to connect – we are learning to allow the natural process of life to flow in us. We are enlivened.
In this approach, we “get better” by letting our natural health living process emerge. By being all of ourselves, and coming increasingly to trust our instincts and living selves. Body-mind psychotherapy helps us discover and explore what it’s like to experience and express the energy and instincts that want to flow through us as the natural impulse to live fully – as our individual selves.