At the heart of the work are the methods as applied within the practice of Integrated Psychotherapy (Character Styles, Insightful Communication, Bodydrama, Reichian Breathing, Group Dynamics). This is complemented with Systemic Work and Embodied Imagination.
The various methods intersect, underscore and strengthen one another. Years of training and practice have taught me to listen into situations and find an appropriate approach to a specific question or need. Should it fall short, we try again. We investigate and explore the interaction between you and your project until insights and images surface and are uncovered, contributing to the work. Also the feedback and reflections of other participants enrich the creative processes profoundly.
The body-oriented approach to psychotherapy is based on the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, John Pierrakos, Jacob Moreno, Fritz Perls, Jack Painter, Marianne Bentze and Peter Levine. Embodied Imagination and Systemic Work is based on the work of James Hillman, Henry Corbin, Robert Bosnak, Bert Hellinger and Henne Arnolt Verschuren.
In the training and workshops you learn more about people’s mental, emotional and physical coping mechanisms and you are invited to investigate what mechanism drives you. You experience what effects this mechanism has on your vitality and you find ways to free yourself from old patterns. In time your body loosens up and you create more freedom of action, thinking and feeling for yourself. The theoretical framework is the Character Styles developed by Wilhelm Reich. This is combined with hands-on knowledge and experience of working with narcissism and symbiosis.
Many of the beliefs we carry have been taken from the family and culture in which we grew up. Unconsciously we make these beliefs personal and let them define us.
The beliefs are guarded by internal voices that criticize us, warn us, compare us to others and tell us what’s acceptable and right for us. Whenever we do something that the voice considers ‘wrong’ it becomes a critic that uses shame, blame, humiliation, threats and fear to get us back in line. While this internal critic was helpful when we were young and kept us out of trouble, as adults its control has become largely unnecessary and stifles us in our everyday life. It keeps us small, tells us we’re screw-ups, scares us away from anything new, threatens us with ridicule by others and warns us not to make waves. The disconcerting thing is that we think this is us, giving ourselves good, truthful advice, while it is really a repetitive and constricting ghost from the past. What is more, the inner critic uses our vitality to power its constant judging and commentary, sapping us of the strength we need to live our lives.
In the workshops you are invited to give words to your thoughts and feelings in a safe and open space. You practice listening with empathy and without judgment. We examine how you tend to interpret the world around you and check its worth and value for your life today. Eventually you can feel how your strength – usurped by the inner critic – once again becomes available so you can stand up to the criticism and act more freely in your live, guided by your own capacities.
Bodydrama (a synthesis of Gestalt and Psychodrama):
Feel into inner dynamics and polarities. Work towards stability and centeredness.
Gestalt Therapy is a phenomenological-existential therapy founded by Frederick (Fritz) and Laura Perls in the 1940s. It teaches the phenomenological method of awareness, in which perceiving, feeling, and acting are distinguished from interpreting and reshuffling preexisting attitudes.
Explanations and interpretations are considered less reliable than what is directly perceived and felt. Patients and therapists in Gestalt therapy ‘dialogue’, that is, communicate their phenomenological perspectives. Differences in perspectives become the focus of experimentation and continued dialogue. The goal is for clients to become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they can change themselves, and at the same time, learn to accept and value themselves.
Gestalt therapy focuses more on process (what is happening) than content (what is being discussed). The emphasis is on what is being done, thought and felt at the moment rather than on what was, might be, could be, or should be.
Psychodrama is a system of role play techniques from the theater world, used as a psychotherapeutic method. Using this method, the relationships and interactions between people and the different roles they play are depicted, under the motto ‘the thinking is in the action’. The resulting thoughts and feelings can then be discussed and processed, preferably in a group.
Much of what you feel, think and do is reflected in your posture and movements. This is illustrated by metaphors such as to carry a load on your shoulders, walk on tiptoes and sink your teeth into something.
The bodywork aims to increase body awareness, to help your body to relieve tensions, and to deepen your breath. You will connect more easily to deeper feelings, emotions and physical sensations within yourself, and you will gradually become more spontaneous in your expression of sounds and movements.
Body Awareness: Your body has a different tempo than your mind. By slowing down you start to experience yourself more from within.
Reichian Breathing: The way you breathe tells a lot about what happens in your mind and body. An example of how emotions relate to breath is when we are startled. We take a deep breath and hold it (with the necessary tensions in the jaw, throat, chest etc). Exercises help you to release body tensions and allow you to breath more freely and deeply, bringing more vitality.
Bio Energetics: In a safe and nurturing environment an atmosphere is created that allows you to open up, and to listen to the story your body is telling. Varied techniques are utilized such as:
- Grounding. You are asked to attune to the flow of energy from your body to the ground.
- Movement. You are encouraged to give expression through movement, especially body parts where tension is held.
- Containing. You are asked to refrain from certain movements until they are analyzed to explore the feelings behind the desired movement.
- Supportive Body Contact. Therapeutic touch is used to call attention to body tension or to support the person in adjusting to safe touch.
Dreams (and memories):
Dreams are the most pure form of imagination, the least influenced by environmental factors. The method used is Embodied Imagination. It helps you to experience dream images as a living, animated environment, and gives new impetus to creativity. The method is applicable for memories as well and is widely used within healthcare, science and the arts (writing, theatre, dance), when a process stagnates or a different perspective is called for.
How do you relate to important people in your life? Are there any entanglements and what does this mean for your project and creativity?
The influence of systems and contexts we are connected to is large. Everyone is rooted in his or her family of origin and from there on connected to previous generations. In addition, we live in different groups, in work, in club life, in leisure time. These contacts also have a strong influence on individual functioning. Systemic Work diverges significantly from conventional forms of psychotherapy.
Many projects are jointly created. What is the influence we exert on each other? What is the group role you are taking on, and what does this mean for your creative abilities and project?
Group dynamics is a more complex process than just summing up the individual characteristics of each group member. Instead, group dynamics considers the characteristics of each group member, how each group member’s actions affect the group, and how these group interactions affect each group member. This creates a cyclical and reciprocal feedback loop which simultaneously impacts all group members and all group members’ relationships.