THE PREMISSES OF PSYCHOCORPORAL (BODYMIND) INTEGRATION
-by Dirk Marivoet ©2016
- Central to “Bodymind Integration” as taught by ICPIT (also known as “PsychoCorporal Integration”) is the view that body and mind are inseparable and do not stand in a causal relationship with “each other” since they are dimensions of the same phenomena. Thus holistic psychocorporal work with awareness and consciousness is always simultaneous work with body expression, movement and energy. And conversely work with the body, including deep work with breathing and myofascia, is also simultaneous work with awareness and consciousness.
- Bodymind Integration is furthermore based on the notion of an „energetic flow” which is taken as the core of human experience. The promotion of this flow is considered as health, its persistent blockage is considered as illness. “PsychoCorporal Integration” (or “Bodymind Integration”) presents a clear theory originated by Jack W. Painter, PhD, which uses but goes beyond the theories of F. Perls, MD and W. Reich, MD. It uses Gestalt claiming and experiencing as part of the process of transforming body armor.
- Other presuppositions of PsychoCorporal (Bodymind) Integration are that
- there exists a fundamental connection in the world, driven by energy and consciousness;
- the focus of attention is on intrinsic health or the „essential self”;
- pathology occurs as a consequence of the loss of connection with the essential self.
- the focus is on embodied, current experience;
- this experience can be verbalised in a descriptive manner;
- it is practiced in relationship with the therapist; the work is both interpersonal and intrapersonal;
- it is a mutual enterprise of therapist and client that is done with curiosity;
- both therapist and client change through the experience; there is no set end goal;
- given an appropriate climate, individuals discover their own process of healing and self-regulation;
- from the concepts developed by C.G. Jung, we integrate in the work:
- The collective unconscious and the archetypes (animus; anima; persona(e), shadow, the self….)
- The postulate of the reality of the soul
- The process of individuation as a lifelong process of psychic growth, becoming and realisation of the self.
- The vision in which psychic suffering is not reduced to a pathology, but is seen as a passage in the process of individuation of the individual
- from other angels (see below) we integrate other fundamental insights around consciousness and what it means to be human
Bodymind Integration underpinned and understood by and from several angles
- As an existential approach, “Bodymind Integration” deals with whatever aspect of a given individual — body symptoms, sensations, feelings, images, thoughts, subtle energy, spirituality — is most accessible in this moment as a way of making contact
- “Bodymind Integration” treats embodiment as an intrinsic and important feature of human existence. It re-associates the spirit with the body in order to more deeply appreciate life; It helps dissociated parts of our spirit that have been fragmented from our body back into our body, re-united, re-associated.
- In “Bodymind Integration”, a „somatic mindfulness” is encouraged which includes the detailed moment-by-moment tracking of sensations, feelings, emotions and impulses to movement, as well as the use of charging and discharging of energy through the working through and completion of a „natural energetic cycle” (see below).
- As a body psychotherapeutic approach ( and a counseling approach, and self development approach) it is a powerful way of making a profound and authentic contact with the Self in order to restore and promote energy balance, cognitive understanding, insight and equilibrium. The therapeutic alliance in “Bodymind Integration” is the powerful joining of forces which energizes and supports the long, difficult, and frequently painful work of life changing healing & transformation. The conception of the practitioner here is not of a disinterested observer-technician but of a fully alive human companion for the client.
- “Bodymind Integration” is a resource-oriented approach. It emphasises helping clients establish connection to the parts of self that are already organised, coherent and functional with interest, curiosity and exploration. It tries to work inwards from that point to the more defended, disorganized, ignored, dysfunctional or excluded aspects of a person’s being, without however making these elements the primary focus of therapy or becoming a regressive model.
- Blockages in the natural flow of energy (see chart below) are dissolved in unique tailored sessions (different for each client) through the use of both : hands-on-bodywork and non-touch guidance depending on the client’s needs, encompassing a process of titration (the bit by bit discharge and minimization of disregulation or excess load as a result of traumatic suffering) and pendulation of internal experience (the gently back and forth rocking between contraction and expansion, between fear and safety, between anger and calm, between grief and acceptance, between inaction and action,…) in order to mitigate overwhelming, or not yet integrated emotional states, all while keeping the nervous system activation within a “window of tolerance.”
- “Bodymind Integration” as a holistic bodywork approach: A focus on the body (guided by 12 steps ( or paradigm sessions) in Postural Integration® and 12 steps (a paradigm energetic cycle) in Energetic Integration® (also included in Postural Integration® and Pelvic-Heart Integration®)),brings dissociated parts of our spirit that have been fragmented from our body back into our body, re-united, re-associated. Specialised holistic sexological work, called Pelvic-Heart Integration focusses on and supports the integration of the split between love and sexuality (heart and pelvis), sexual ability, satisfaction and a fulfilling quality of life.
- All this “Bodymind Integration work” is the result of a rich synthesis of many influences, clinical and theoretical sources (see further down below): Reichian and Neo-Reichian work (e.g. with breath, muscular armouring and character defenses), Gestalt work, Peter Levine's Waking of the Tiger/Somatic Experiencing, Work with
placeholders (Mother, Father, etc.), work with the theory of the 5-elements (connected with emotions, energy flow, etc.),... ”