Frequently Asked Questions
Is body psychotherapy or biodynamic massage a treatment?
No, neither is a treatment like visiting an osteopath, chiropractor, deep tissue masseur or acupuncturist. Both methods are a joint investigation between client and therapist to understand the client better, and both require willingness on the part of the client to engage in self-reflection.
What is the difference between body psychotherapy and biodynamic massage?
It is difficult to separate the two, as they are both a form of therapeutic exchange between client and therapist. A biodynamic massage session will be structured around the massage itself - however elements from body psychotherapy (talking, release of emotion, movement, expression) may surface and make the session feel more like psychotherapy.
What is the difference between biodynamic massage and other forms of massage?
Biodynamic massage is rooted in psychotherapy. It focuses on the whole person, regarding outer circumstance, inner emotional life and physical symptoms as inseparable. For that reason, biodynamic massage practitioners will be interested to hear about their client's current emotional preoccupations, as well as general life situation and bodily state. The therapist will then select a massage most suited to their client's needs, whether this be releasing blocked energy, soothing integration or energising the body system. While some of the techniques will feel similar to those of other massages, there will be forms of touch that present more as therapeutic enquiry, reassurance or validation. In this sense, biodynamic massage is really non-verbal psychotherapy because the therapist is always trying to read and attend to the unique psychological voice of their client.
Why is a stethoscope used in biodynamic massage?
The founder of biodynamic body psychotherapy, Gerda Boyesen, made the discovery that massaging key points in the body - areas that held blocked or suppressed energy from unresolved emotional processes - produced tummy rumblings similar to the sounds of food being digested. She theorised that when a physical or psychological blockage is released, it causes a re-organisation of the whole body allowing trapped intestinal fluid to be finally digested. Defining this as 'emotional' digestion, she coined the phrase 'psycho-peristalsis' to differentiate from 'peristalsis' which is a part of food digestion. Boyesen found that a stethoscope placed on the client's lower abdomen highlighted these 'emotional rumblings' thus dictating the form and path of the massage.
Psycho-peristalsis may sound fanciful but biodynamic massage clients are often taken aback by the loud rumblings they hear from the stethoscope as sore or shut down areas of their body are contacted in an atmosphere of safety and human warmth. And just as food can only be properly digested when we are relaxed, psycho-peristalsis requires that there is no danger or need to defend. Biodynamic clients who come to know their psycho-peristalsis through massage, also begin to recognise the significance of their tummy rumblings when in profound connection with another and in that rare moment of feeling totally understood and accepted.
I am interested in trying a session - can I do this without committing to ongoing therapy?
Absolutely - in fact I would always advise booking just one session at first to see if you like my approach, and indeed if you like me! Then if you feel that this is what you have been looking for, we can arrange either a block of sessions or ongoing weekly therapy.
If I decide that I would like weekly psychotherapy, how long does this last?
I'm afraid that there is no answer to this as it depends on the depth of work that we are doing and the type of difficulties that you are facing. Sometimes blocks that have been held in place for a long time, require an extended period of exploration in the context of a growing and deepening therapeutic relationship. Alternatively, it can take just a few key moments in therapy to give the client all they need at that point in their lives. What is important is open communication around ending therapy to ensure a proper sense of completion.
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