06 Nov APPLICATIONS OF PHYSICAL PSYCHOTHERAPY
Somatic Psychotherapy is a psychological and scientific approach, the origins of which lie in the discoveries of Wilhelm Reich, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, student and collaborator of Freud. Reich’s theories, which he formulated and applied at the beginning of the last century, include, among other things, a special emphasis on the prevention of mental disorder through intervention in groups close to the infant, child and adolescent.
Another category, for which preventive intervention is very useful, are the groups of the population in a vulnerable situation, such as women, the unemployed, “traumatised” populations, etc.
The Somatic Psychotherapeutic Approach is as timely and useful in today’s difficult life circumstances of people as ever.
With the basic premise that our body reflects the whole person and that there is a functional unity and relationship between mind and body, psychotherapeutic work that combines mind and body is a great complementary fund of direct help for individuals, couples, parents, pregnant women, adolescents, the elderly, families and generally the most vulnerable groups in society.
Somatic Individual Psychotherapy
Individual psychotherapy is the most basic form of psychotherapy.
Individual psychotherapy is the most basic form of psychotherapy.
Individual psychotherapy requires the exploration and emergence of the past, various traumas and intra-psychic conflicts, so that on the one hand, repressed and forbidden emotions can be released and on the other hand, strengths and abilities that have been locked up can be utilized.
During the process of individual psychotherapy, individuals learn to come closer to themselves, to perceive and understand their real needs, their most authentic feelings and their deepest thoughts.
The role and personality of the psychotherapist-counsellor are extremely important and decisive factors in order to create the best therapeutic relationship with the person being treated. Necessary elements and conditions for a good therapeutic relationship between the two parties are confidentiality, safety, protection and warmth from the therapist and trust, good intention and acceptance from the therapist. These factors ensure the greatest possible cooperation and alliance to resolve the therapist’s basic requests.
In the individual psychotherapy of the somatic approach, the body with all its qualities, characteristics, memories and reactions is an additional excellent tool-means (with its many different techniques and exercises) for the more complete development and maturation of the individual.
Somatic Group Psychotherapy
The group therapy is the most effective way to develop and improve the physical and psychological skills of the individual.
The authorship of group psychotherapy is claimed by many approaches, but no one holds it.
The group performs a very important therapeutic as well as social work since it helps the individuals involved to communicate and connect in a unique and profound way with others.
In the group the goals are:
training individuals in new forms of communication, more human and more functional
the acquisition of knowledge and the reception of new information and ideas through the sharing of stories and experiences of the members of the group
the creation of an appropriate climate of confidentiality, safety and protection, free of criticism and interference, prohibitive orders and instructions, with a view to the free expression of feelings and thoughts
the discovery of abilities, skills and personality traits in order to make the best use of them in everyday life with a view to acquiring new positions and roles in the family and society
the recovery of values such as collegiality, altruism and solidarity that have been neglected
In Somatic Group Psychotherapy the body is considered interconnected with the emotional life and therefore any approach to the state of our body is an approach to the whole of our being.
Through the many different techniques, as well as specialized exercises that activate the body, participants in a Somatic Psychotherapy group are helped to express and develop their emotional world in a context that enhances communication and connection with others.
Some of the requests that lead individuals to the individual psychotherapy process include the following:
Emotional symptoms – anxiety, fear, sadness, hopelessness
Negative self-image – lack of self-confidence, self-esteem
Physical disorders in all systems – respiratory, circulatory, skin, visceral, etc.
Relationships with the environment – phobias, panic attacks, difficulty in communication and interpersonal relationships etc.
Communication in the couple is one of the most important factors in the structure, functioning and development of the relationship.
Physical communication occupies a large part of the overall communication between individuals, especially in couples.
So by introducing the body into couples therapy, we greatly increase the depth of the experiential experience, adding another tool factor to the work on the mental and emotional realm.
Thus the exercises with the body and their various related techniques (breathing, grounding, relaxation, physical contact, eye contact, expression with sounds, etc.), in the context of a long-term therapy, help to change many factors in the couple’s relationship, such as:
relax the psychosomatic defenses of the character
gradually discover the way each partner seeks or avoids contact with the other
to observe in each other the movements of the body (infinitesimal, small, large), the posture and the asymmetries
to allow their bodies to ‘tell’ the story of their lives with immediacy and without mental ‘censorship
acquire more authentic relationships with each other
express their creative abilities and imagination more effectively
free the energy that has been trapped by commands, instructions, prohibitions, guilt, shame, fears that have immobilized their bodies, and so on,
gain the ability and power to share their needs and desires with the goal of alliance, peace and joy in their relationship and in life
The role of the parent is one of the most important functional roles in terms of the healthy development and growth of the family and by extension the whole society.
The character, personality, knowledge, stories and experiences of parents largely determine the balance and maturity of the family system.
In parenting groups, we aim to provide a framework for education, wider knowledge, sharing of experiences and feelings among members.
These groups are experiential in nature.
They include activation and relaxation through physical “exercises”, guided visualizations, creative expression, etc. In this way, parents can allow themselves to “let in” to the group (through imagination) thoughts, images and memories of their inner child, so that there is greater and better communication between the parent and their child.
This is a developmental phase of human life in which basic needs and existential issues are a component of human life.
Issues such as loneliness, loss of loved ones, loss of role within the family, physical condition, illnesses (dementia – depression – psychosexual dysfunction), the agony of death, etc. are some of the issues that concern people in old age.
There are many different approaches that touch on these issues.
The Somatic Psychotherapy approach helps in many ways, particularly with exercises of relaxation, reflection, ego strengthening and expression through movement, dance and creative expression.
Childbirth preparation groups
A mother’s positive contact with her baby creates the conditions for a healthy and happy personality.
Pregnancy groups, from the 3rd month of pregnancy to childbirth, include:
Information and exchange about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum
Processing of the particular issues of pregnancy: anxieties, identification with the “mother”, sexuality, body image, ambivalence towards the baby cl
Physical “exercises” suitable for a good pregnancy and childbirth: widening of the breath, relaxation, preparation of the perineum, restoration of the tonicity of the areas that affect childbirth – pelvis, throat, mouth, eyes, feet
Involvement and information of partners about childbirth and postpartum
Preadolescent and adolescent groups
Preadolescence, along with adolescence, as a developmental phase of a person’s life, is a passage. The passage from childhood to the now mature phase of life. Adulthood.
It is a period characterized by major changes and separations on both physical-physical and mental-spiritual levels. How the pre-adolescent-adolescent perceives, accepts and copes with these changes is very much related to the care and attention he or she received in the early developmental phases of life and to the stimuli and circumstances that followed.
Some of the dominant themes of these ages are:
The changes in the body
The relationship with parents
The relationship with the opposite sexRelationship with friends and social groups
Fear of being different along with the need for uniqueness
The need for support and guidance together with the need for freedom (insecurity and desire together)
Difficulty at this stage of life can manifest itself in a number of ways some of which are:
Behavioural disorders (over-closing or over-opening with underlying feelings of anger)
Substance dependence (drugs, alcohol, etc.)
Fanatical attachment to ideologies – groups
Somatic Psychotherapy groups enable young people to:
Get in touch, through physical exercises, with their hidden emotions. To express them and recognize the energy of these feelings so that they can use it in a creative and non-destructive way.
To see and accept their body through its history and uniqueness
To share their fears and concerns with peers in a context that mirrors and, as appropriate, reassures or troubles them
Text retrieved from: https://www.pesops.gr/swmatikh-psychotherapeia/plhrofories/efarmoges-ths-somatikis-psichotherapias/
It is worth noting that in addition to physical exercises, the tools used in Somatic Psychotherapy groups (psychodrama, painting, expression with or without words, etc.) generally stimulate the emotion and spirit while mobilising the body.