Understanding Bioenergetic Therapy!
Bioenergetics is a type of psychodynamic psychotherapy, which integrates work with the mind and body in order to help people resolve their emotional problems and to make them more aware of their ability and potential for taking joy and pleasure in their life. Bioenergetic Analysis was developed by Alexander Lowen who was an American physician and psychotherapist. Bioenergetic Analysis is a type of mind-body psychotherapy. Bioenergetics psychotherapists believe that there is a relation between the mind and the body. If anything affects the body then it affects the mind too and vice versa. The psychological defenses used by an individual to manage the stress and pain of life are also rooted or based in the body. They are represented in the body as distinctive muscular patterns that hinder self-expression. These patterns can be recognized and understood by bioenergetics psychotherapists who have the ability to look at the movement, structure and breathing patterns in an individual’s body.
Like other psychotherapists, bioenergetics psychotherapists pay special attention on the muscular patterns in an individual’s body. They focus on these patterns and their relationship to breathing, movement, posture and emotional expression. The body’s each physical expression has some meaning. The bioenergetics psychotherapist analyzes the muscular patterns and initiates the patient to physical expressions or exercises in order to help them recognize their body’s patterns of constriction. The therapist explores with the patient the feeling of releasing these patterns and recovering the repressed feelings during childhood and which continue to be repressed in their adult life too. The bioenergetics psychotherapist also help their patients in understanding the manner and reason of development of the patterns of constriction/restraints and how these resistances which are obstructing their life today, had permitted them to endure an initial environment that was not helpful to their life. While these repressed emotions emerge, patients become aware that these patterns were inhibiting their ability or potential for creativity and spontaneity in self-expression. They realize along with these defenses becoming prolonged or chronic, their muscular patterns in their body also do so. As the patients advance in bioenergetics psychotherapy, their old, ineffective patterns which were hindering or obstructing connection, pleasure, spontaneity and joy gradually disappear. During the release of physical and emotional feelings in the body, the individual starts to experience healthy, safe, and supportive association with him/her and also others in new and more rewarding ways.
Bioenergetic exercises are tailored to relieve the chronic stress of character armoring. These exercises improve respiration, promote the breakdown and release of tension, boost the release of repressed emotion and improve the capacity for building up energy.
Benefits of Bioenergetic Exercise:
When these exercises are done consistently over a long period of time, they make changes on a deep bodily level, which are mirrored in an individual’s increased capacity to function in love, work and his/her interpersonal relationships. These exercises are done during the therapeutic sessions, group exercise classes and at home.
All the bioenergetic exercises comprise of respiration which is the fundamental pulsation of the entire body. The production and utilization of energy is dependent on open and deep respiration. The main way to restrain feeling is to restrain respiration. ”Kicking” and ”blanket roll” are some of the exercises which work directly with respiration.
3 Best Bioenergetic Exercises for Beginners
Lie down on a bed and start kicking about 20, 50, 100 and up to 200 times. Every kick counts as one. The leg should be kept straight and the ankle relaxed, permitting the foot to flop or snap and carry the foot upwards perpendicular to the bed. This is beneficial on different levels by getting the respiration started. It pulls energy downwards into the feet, legs and pelvis. It also gives the patient an opportunity to express anger or frustration through ”kicking,” and thus is a good stress reliever.
For this exercise, an old woolen blanket should be folded lengthwise into quarters. It should be then wrapped up around anything which is firm and cylindrical, e.g. roll of newspapers and magazines held together by a duct tape. Keep this roll on the floor and lie on it such that the roll is immediately below the shoulder blades. Now the arms should be stretched back. Observe the stretching and opening of the chest. Now permit an effortless sound to come from the throat. Allow this sound to travel all the way ”to the bottom of the barrel.” Lastly, allow a crying sound to escape from the throat, like ”hah-hah-hah,” such that the diaphragm throbs. Try experimenting with this and the effect it has on breathing and allow the crying to escape, as crying is healing.
This exercise is done by standing with the feet a foot apart. The feet should be placed parallel with each other or with the toes pointed slightly inward. Relax your knees, belly, shoulders, and jaw and let yourself bend forward, rolling over one vertebra at one time, till your fingers are touching the floor. Keep the knees relaxed and the legs slightly flexed. Maybe you will need to stretch a little bit behind the knees. Breathe. Hold this position for a few minutes until you feel a slight tremor or vibration in the legs. Slowly roll back up. Always feel your feet on the ground or floor during this time.