"You are your body."
- A. Lowen -
The type of bodywork practiced at the Connecticut Center grows out of an understanding of the body-mind connection as it is explained by Bio-energetic Analysis. Bioenergetics comes from the teachings of Wilhelm Reich and Sigmund Freud. Dr. Alexander Lowen, a student of Reich’s, developed this integrative approach to psychotherapy in the late forties and fifties of the twentieth-century. The following are excerpts from some of his writings that explain his approach:
Bioenergetics is a way of understanding personality in terms of the body and its energetic processes, namely, the production of energy through respiration and metabolism and the discharge of energy through movement, are the basic function of life. How much energy one has and how one uses his or her energy determine how one responds to life situations. Obviously, one can cope more effectively if one has more energy, which can be freely translated into movement and expression.
Bioenergetics is also a form of therapy that combines work with the body and the mind to help resolve emotional problems and so allow the individual to realize more of his or her potential for pleasure and joy in living. A fundamental thesis of Bioenergetics is that the body and mind are functionally identical.
What this means is that the mind's troubles manifest in the body, and the body's symptoms represent troubles of the mind. According to Alexander Lowen, what one thinks affects how one feels. The converse is equally true. Lowen writes that:
". . . the interaction of the body-mind system, however, is limited to the conscious or superficial aspects of the personality. On a deeper level, that is, on the unconscious level, both thinking and feeling are conditioned be energy factors. The energetic processes of the body are related to the state of aliveness of the body. The more alive one is, the more energy one has and vice versa. Rigidity, or chronic tension, diminishes oneÕs aliveness and decreases oneÕs energy. At birth, an organism is in its most alive, most fluid state; at death, rigidity is total: rigor mortis. We cannot avoid the rigidity that comes with age, but we can avoid the rigidity due to chronic muscular tensions resulting from unresolved emotional conflicts".
In Bio-energetics, understanding stress and its impact on the body is crucial. According to A. Lowen:
"Everyday stress produces a state of tension in the body. Normally the tension disappears when the stress is relieved. Chronic tensions, however, persist as unconscious bodily attitude or muscular set after the provoking stress has been removed. Such muscular chronic tensions disturb emotional health by decreasing an individualÕs energy, restricting his or her motility (the natural spontaneous play and movement of the musculature), and limiting his or her self-expression. It becomes necessary then to relieve chronic tension if one is to regain full aliveness and emotional well-being".
“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche -