Bioenergetics

A body-oriented growth process that emphasises the energetic processes of breathing, movement, feeling, sexuality and self-expression, and addresses interruptions of these life functions, especially through patterns of chronic muscular tension. The exuberant but grounded bioenergetic body with a belly and a heart is the inspiration for the Bodyspace logo.


Weekend Groups: Bioenergetics


Contents

Explanation

Would you like to be able to express yourself to others in a more contactful way? Do you clamp feelings down inside of you, judging them too uncomfortable to share? Will you let others touch you with their feelings? Can you sustain a feeling of contact with yourself?
Over the weeks an ongoing group deepens contact with yourself and others, and enables changes to be recognised and relationships to develop. In this group I will work with your embodied attitudes and beliefs as these emerge, from movement interactions, dialoguing, enactment, recent dreams and the story of your week. Most evenings will include about a quarter hour of bioenergetic voicing, breathing and moving.
The group is limited to 10. Four weeks notice of leaving is required. New members may join as space becomes available. An enquiry can be made at any time. I ask for an initial minimum commitment to seven sessions.
 

About Bodyspace Groups

  • Bodyspace groups work simultaneously with four dynamics: group dynamics, role dynamics, body dynamics and transference dynamics. Thus Bodyspace groups feature action methods (from Humanistic Psychology) within a psychodynamic frame
     
  • Bodyspace groups aim to integrate body sensations, emotional expressions, fantasy/dreaming and cognitive understanding within a framework of the meaning all these dimensions of being have for the individual.
     
  • Bodyspace groups generally begin with active, movement-based bodywork followed by a go-round phase of checking in with responses to this, with references to carried-over process and claims for the group's further attention. The group then proceeds into a longer unstructured phase known as 'open group time'.
     
  • Bodyspace groups hold the space for the actual concrete body along with its sensations, emotions and impulses to become an organ of experience, for awareness of feeling to precede communication. DH Lawrence wrote, "The body's life is the life of sensations and emotions…All the emotions belong to the body and are only recognised by the mind." Bodyspace subverts the consensual drift in psychotherapy towards cerebralized procedures and "aboutism" (disconnected speech).
     
  • The discourse within a Bodyspace group takes in body language, body image and body structure, homes in on the bodily aspects of issues of identity and differentiation and holds in focus the ways in which bodily events are symbolised.
     
  • Besides its value in supporting whole person presence and the emergence of joie de vivre bodywork has two specific justifications that argue for its indispensability (i) it provides transitional structures or 'bridges' to and from pre-verbal spaces where no words can be found until after a bridging has occurred (ii) with actual trauma (shock) from any time in a person's life the primary defences involved are often physiological rather than psychological and are therefore more responsive to body-based interventions.
     
  • Bodyspace groups address the main domains of ordinary living - love and work, intimacy and creativity, cultivating the capacities to think with feeling and to feel thoughtfully, promoting an articulate, honest and at times passionate encounter between participants. The mode is one of being-with as opposed to doing-to. Ground rules and a working contract safeguard confidentiality and continuity.
     
  • Bodyspace groups are also a response to the contemporary dearth of organic community. Many of the 'natural' or traditional groupings intermediate between mass society and the isolated individual eg families, clubs, churches, political parties fail to perform developmental functions for their members. This leaves an acute need for groups where personal issues can be worked through.
     
  • The term Bodyspace is replete with meaning and should not be misread as a facile market-driven exercise in branding. A schizoid (bodymind split) culture carries deep fears about the emotional body and therefore has need of 'spaces' within which this schiz/schism can safely heal. Bodyspace weekly and weekend groups are a manifestation of this project and are appropriately sited in the supportive environment of London's Open Centre, a growth centre with its roots in the Human Potential movement of the 1970s. See www.opencentre.com.
     
  • Bodyspace carries forwards and reinvents Wilhelm Reich's preoccupation with the cultural and political role of character analytic praxis, while heeding Norman Mailer's qualification of psychoanalysis as a process of attrition in which the worn out wear others out.
     
  • The normalising tendencies within groups are balanced in Bodyspace groupwork by the fostering of deconstructive attitudes. There is also a countercultural emphasis (eg the behavioural challenge of bioenergetic bodywork is distinctly counter cultural) on human potential without the often concurrent New Age transformational hype (whereby meaning is delivered rather than authentically discovered and promises are made which the typically transient teacher cannot possibly deliver).
     
  • Bodyspace is a vehicle for humanistic values of self-actualisation and personal authenticity, and is explicitly in tension with both the adaptive and normalizing ethos of the consumer/patient with medical provider and the tokenism and image-driven, profit-centred, selective accountability of market values.
     
  • Over the 32 years more than two thousand people have participated, many for a period of several years, in Bodyspace weekly and weekend groups. Bodyspace is here to stay.

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