3rd Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy Conference
London • 31 October 2015
1) Dr Elya Steinberg MD
Contemporary Views of Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy
Introduction to the Conference
2) Siegfried Bach
Biodynamic and Mind pt 2
In this talk I draft a biodynamic perspective of psychotherapy to map our practice from the heart. The motor of biodynamic therapy is a trustworthy relation to the vegetative core and a gentle unblocking of its self-regulatory and creative functions. Still, it is difficult to manifest the possibility of communicating with the Vegetativum (the autonomic functions), the internal milieu closest to medical health which shows in intestinal rumbling, the rhythms of the heart and fluid circulation.
I sketch out a general theory of Biodynamic to sharpen the eye for its specific laws, such as homeostasis or the conditions for creativity. Specific states of being we will conceptualize as an affective continuum. The mind will be distinguished as a phenomenon on another plane of complexity and mode, as it is rooted in the language of human communities, and in individuals it constructs maps of the world as well as maps of itself.
In particular I give theory driven suggestions for issues like: “how do we deal with transference and relation?”, “how should we train students?” and “what is our standing in society and what is our message?”
Siegfried Bach, born 1953, Biodynamic Psychotherapist and Trainer, works as a Clinical Psychologist in Germany.
He trained in the first regular biodynamic training group in the “Centre for Bioenergy” starting 1977. Ten years later he became a trainer in the “Gerda Boyesen International Institute”. From 1995 onwards he supported Gerda Boyesen’s “Academy for Biodynamic Psychology” and the training of her final decade in the German “Institut für Biodynamik”. In 2005 he finished his university Diploma in Psychology with a thesis about vagal reactivity under controlled affective states using the ECG of the heart. His clinical career started in 2009 in the rehabilitation of orthopaedic and cardiac patients. He now works with chronic pain conditions in a multi-modal medical frame in the Klinikum Westfalen, Dortmund.
3) Anat Ben-Israel
Biodynamic Psychotherapy and Spirituality
In this presentation I share my thoughts, observations, experiences and understandings, which demonstrate the importance of a spiritual dimension for the therapist and client alike in Biodynamic Psychotherapy and especially in this era and why this is so.
In these times where the natural sciences are explaining more and more of “How” physiology, psychology and neurology intertwine, the mechanistic approach to life can be strong. Questions like: Are we more then the sum total of our history and our biology? Does the body with its brain have a purpose beyond just existence?
In somatic therapies in general and in Biodynamic Psychotherapy in particular, we often speak of a Body-Mind connection, we seldom if at all, speak of a Body-Spirit or Body-Mind-Spirit connection and yet within the name of our profession we continually affirm it with the word Psyche. The term “Psychotherapy” can be translated, if one wishes to “Healing of the Spirit of the Soul or of Breath”. Isn’t it interesting that we prefer and maybe even feel more comfortable with the term “Mind” then the term “Spirit”?
From Wikipedia – “The term psychotherapy is derived from Ancient Greek psyche (ψυχή meaning “breath; spirit; soul”) and therapeia (θεραπεία”healing; medical treatment”)”.
There is a dimension within the human experience that our shying away from may do a disservice to the therapist, student or client in our modality.
The spiritual aspect is not the exclusive domain of religions or the Primary personality.
It is larger, it encompasses phrases and concepts Gerda Boyesen created like:
Trust the life force
The client is always right
Only the client knows
The client can never fail a method
Making friends with the resistance
“The Heart ” and “The Median Line” (two additional stages Boyesen observed in the psychosexual development).
We are in a paradigm shift, where traditional structures which guided humanity are losing strength, while in parts of the world aggression is on the rise. People are at a loss and fear is on the rise. Personal one on one contact is not encouraged as it was before the digital era.
What is missing?
What moves, inspires and motivates us beyond day to day survival?
What makes human crave connection and physical contact?
Why are we drawn to create art and to enjoy beauty?
The answers may point us to the permanent and the ephemeral, to what five senses can not interact with directly, yet we experience and embody the effect in wholeness of the body and our being. It may direct us to a state of wholeness, of gratitude and at times to profound yearning to reconnect to those states. It may remind that one’s life is not fading away like a clear and strong coloured rainbow does in time but that one is an unfading rainbow at all times. Does Biodynamic Psychotherapy and massage offer what may be missing?
Anat Ben-Israel is a Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapist and teacher trained by Garda Boyesen as well as Clover Southwell, Mary Molloy, Ebba Boyesen, Mouna-Lisa Boyesen among others. Received her diploma in Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy in 1988 from the International Institute of Garda Boyesen, London.
Anat has been teaching Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy and Massage including Deep Draining and in private practice for more then 28 years. She taught for the institute in London and Germany and at her school in the USA and Israel. She has a private practice in California and Washington state where she lives. For 27 years she is engaged in spiritual practice and studies.
For more info. Go to my website: www.biodynamictherapy.net
4) Gabriel Shiraz
The Therapeutic Process of Melting the Armour of a Couple With The Aim Of Reconnecting the Couple To Their ‘Primary Couple Personality’
In this talk I present an approach to couple therapy, using the basic principles of Biodynamic Psychotherapy. Wilhelm Reich and Gerda Boyesen defined 2 basic concepts that relate to intra-psychic process, the armour, the primary personality and the secondary personality. We will explore those concepts and how we can use them psycho-therapeutically for the couples. I will use clinical example to demonstrate our ability to re-connect to our ‘primary couple personality’.
Gabriel Shiraz is 50 years old, married with four children, two boys and two girls. Upon his return from studying Biodynamic psychotherapy with the late Garda Boyesen in London in the 90’s, for the past 18 years, Gabriel Shiraz is practicing as Biodynamic Body-psychotherapist. He is a trainer, lecturer, supervisor and psychotherapist for individuals, couples, therapists and groups. In 2001-2008,he had founded and was a director of the Body psychotherapy program in Israel at Reidman College. Currently, he is a senior trainer at the college and he teaches various courses for 15 years. He had supervised and trained about 10 years in hospitals for mental health in Israel. Gabriel is a senior teacher in the field with extensive experience in Israel and Europe. He is a qualified member of the EABP, European Association for body Psychotherapy. He teaches for the third year, couples therapy for trained psychotherapists who want to develop and expand to become couple body- psychotherapists in the field. He runs workshops for couples, with focusing on improving their communication and relationships. He is holding the vision that every experienced Body psychotherapist can progress and expand, to work also with couples.
5) Dr Elya Steinberg MD
Voodoo Death, Neuroscience and Biodynamic Psychology
Freezing and momentary paralysis is a normal adaptive reaction to a scary situation. We hear an unexpected loud voice from somewhere near us and we stop, freezing to enable ourselves to assess the situation. We assess, think and choose the best adaptive response, shake ourselves, shake our body and mind out of the freezing state and move into a chosen action – back to the flow of life.
But what happens if the scary situation does not stop, such as in times of war or a household in which physical punishment is permitted? What happens if, after we have assessed the situation, we come to the safe conclusion that it is better not to move? What happens to us if we are like a little child in a scary situation created by somebody close to us, like our caregiver, a care giver who is dangerous because they can abuse us physically, sexually or emotionally? What happens to us if the dangerous situation is that our needs are not attended to as they should be by our caregiver, and we are left in a pool of painful feelings, isolated instead of having somebody to support us and relieve our pain? For example, somebody to come to us when we scream when we feel alone in our cradle? What if we are born into the cradle of evilness and there is no good reaction that we can find to undertake other than paralyse ourselves and wait, hoping against hope, for a better time in the future when it will be safe to move and join the flow of life again. Sometime freezing our selves, cutting ourselves off mentally, dissociating ourselves from experiencing pain and terror, is the most adaptive reaction we can choose.
However, if we stay in this situation for a very long time we may not be able to shake ourselves afterwards and we can’t shake our body and mind out of the frozen state anymore. We may even die, as could happen in a voodoo death. Sometime we can’t shake ourselves and once again join the flow of life without having another sympathetic person with us who can show us the way to bring ourselves back to life. Our mind in such a state is oftentimes unavailable. Talking does not registered in our frozen brain. Then the only way to access us is through our body. We need to learn again, body to body, beyond the boundaries of the spoken language, how to trust the fundamental flow of interaction with another person who is a caring and sympathetic human being.
In this presentation tell the story of a client who believed that he descended towards his voodoo death and how I worked with him and supported him in re-engaging with the flow of life. The story will be presented as the the subjective phenomenology of the psychotherapist and will enriched by findings from contemporary science and Biodynamic theory.
Dr Elya Steinberg, MD, is Co-Director of the Centre for Biodynamic Psychotherapy (London School of Biodynamic Psychotherapy). She is a biodynamic psychotherapist, integrating body-psychotherapy, Gerda Boyesen methods and bioenergy with conventional allopathic medicine and complementary medicine. She interweaves alternative and conventional approaches to allow a person to grow as a holistic complex. .
6) Gabriele Gad
The Eyes, the Windows of the Soul
Our eyes have worked for us so many years and all we do is take them for granted. With glasses and contact lenses we force them to see.
In this workshop we experience various exercises by William Bates, Martin Sussman and Harry Benjamin; ways to protect our eyes, give them attention and help them to improve.
We will focus on our eyes in a Biodynamic way, exploring subjects such as:
“How to relax on your computer”
“Biodynamic eye and face massage”
“How and why to use pinhole glasses”
Gabriele Gad dipl. psych, psychotherapist, spiritual healer and jazz musician came to London in 1981. She trained with psychologist Gerda Boyesen for six years in Munich and London. Gabriele has held various workshops about Energy in Balance, Biodynamic Massage, Keeping Your Sacrum More Sacred and Vocal Expression at the Body Mind Spirit Festival in London, Rudolf Steiner House and the Bonnington Centre where she lives in a housing-coop where people know and cherish each other. She also wrote two books about therapy and a fairytale about her sons and their childhood. For the last 30 years Gabriele has been running a private practice in South London. Gabriele sees the music, where people listen to her, as a balance to her therapy work where she listens to her clients.
7) Carlien van Heel
The Diaphragm Is The Gateway To The Unconscious
What did Gerda Boyesen mean with this statement? What is the role of the diaphragm in psychotherapy?
I first look at the structure of the diaphragm and its function in our body and particularly its relationship to breathing. I then link this to its role in repressing and allowing emotions and explore how we work with diaphragm tensions and breathing defences in Biodynamic psychotherapy.
Carlien van Heel was taken by the Biodynamic work from the moment she met it in 1982. She moved from the Netherlands to London in 1985 to study at the Gerda Boyesen Centre and continued learning from Gerda Boyesen till her death in 2005.
Carlien has worked as a Biodynamic psychotherapist in private practice since 1987 and was a member of the LSBP Training Committee and LSBP trainer from 2001-2013. She was a co-director of LSBP between 2010-2013. She gained an MA in Body psychotherapy from the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge in 2014.
Carlien has a private practice where she sees clients for Biodynamic psychotherapy and Biodynamic massage in Southgate, North London (N14). She also works as a supervisor.
8) Shlomit Eliashar
The Implications of Attuned Parental Presence on Child Development and Adult Life (A Biodynamic Body Psychotherapy Perspective)
Attuned parental presence and attuned touch play a pivotal role in early child development, and has significant implications in adult life. Yet, most of us did not experience such presence. Developing this quality of being attuned to the baby/clients can prove a huge challenge for parents and health professionals alike.
Child development starts in the uterus before birth, and continues throughout our lives, shaping us as adults. Hence, more awareness to this simple yet essential concept of attuned parental presence can make a huge difference and can shed more light not only on babies’ development but also on how we understand our adult clients.
This informative presentation will be focused on attuned presence and how it might feel to be a baby in the first weeks of life. Core principles of child development, neuro-science and Biodynamic Body Psychotherapy will be presented and ways of integrating these insights to inform your work with children or adult clients will be explored.
The workshop is suitable for counsellors and psychotherapists of all modalities, complementary therapists, health and social care workers, teachers, parents, nannies and the general public who has an interest in people’s welfare.
Parents may find this information motivating and supporting in their demanding and rewarding role.
“Working with adult clients, I feel and hear the children they have all been. I feel and hear their longing for an attuned parental presence and a touch that also touches the soul. Is it unavoidable to become adults carrying painful wounds stemming from a lack of such parental presence? What if the parent is made aware of the importance of attuned touch at the right time?” Eliashar. S, (2015), Somatic Psychotherapy Today.
Further reading in this article published in Somatic Psychotherapy Today, 2015, volume 5, number 1:
Shlomit Eliashar is a UKCP registered Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapist with an interest in relational approach. I am a qualified school teacher (B.Ed.), a trainer and workshop facilitator, working at Mind and in private practice in North London and Hertfordshire and was a course coordinator at LSBP. I draw on my experience of other therapeutic modalities such as brief therapy, mindfulness, neuroscience, breath and energy work to create a unique embodied approach. As a mother of two and a qualified Baby Massage teacher, I am passionate about attuned presence and touch and believe it has a strong implication on adult life.
9) Guy Smith
From Identity to Id-entity:
Biodynamic Psychotherapy as Soft Tissue Feminism
In this presentation, I argue that biodynamic psychotherapy methods can bring about the kind of psychophysical-social change called for by feminists, LGBT activists and post-colonialists. Biodynamic methods, with their emphasis on the softly powerful, facilitate transformational shifts in the deepest reaches and furthest stretches of a person-in-their-environment, that take us beyond ‘man/woman’, ‘man/animal’, ‘subject/object’, ‘mind/body’, ‘work/play’ and ‘higher/lower’ dualisms.
The presentation draws on biodynamic methodologies, feminist literature, LGBT literature, child development research, embodied cognition research, and most importantly subjective experience to substantiate its thesis.
Guy Smith achieved a distinction for his recent MA degree in Gender, Society and Representation (UCL) and is a published writer, including the recent paper ‘Empathy and Other Ways of Not Understanding’ (Think Pieces journal). He has trained extensively in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy and various schools of Body Psychotherapy (including biodynamic and deep draining massage); and, although he currently works without touch, he considers his work biodynamic. Guy is an environmental, post-colonial, feminist, LGBT, bi and ‘bio’ activist.
10) Ebba Boyesen
Essence and Expansion of Biodynamic Psychology
Ebba Boyesen, daughter of Gerda Boyesen, gives an overview of the context of Gerda Boyesen’s groundbreaking work: how it is related to the work of Freud and Reich, the ways in which it developed during the 1960s, 70s, & 80s, and how it continues to develop in the present.
Biodynamic Psychology has played a central role in the development of Body Psychotherapy internationally. Like every discipline, Biodynamic Psychology is determined by a range of objects and methods, a corpus of assumptions that are perceived as true, and an array of rules and definitions, techniques and tools. Naturally, as in other disciplines in psychology, some of the tools were influenced by other disciplines and some were originally developed by the founders and developers of the methods of Biodynamic Psychology. Ebba Boyesen will portray the past, present and possible future of Biodynamic Psychology. She will map it in the historical context of Body Psychotherapy and the development of the unique Biodynamic methods.
Biodynamic psychology has a uniquely integrated multi-dimensional perspective, where the practitioner works concurrently with the different dimensions of human existence. It relates to the different embryonic layers: Ectoderm, Mesoderm and Endoderm. These layers give rise to the different physical tissues of the body. The Ectoderm develops into tissue such as the brain and skin, the Mesoderm develops into connective tissue such as muscles and bones, and the Endoderm develops into the internal layer of many organs such as the gut. In addition, Ebba Boyesen looked systematically at another layer; (the theory of which has not yet been developed scientifically) the energetic layer of human existence, named the Exoderm. Ebba will map the different methods in Biodynamic Psychology according to those four dimensions, relating to which method and school of thought has developed according to each layer.
Ebba Boyesen is one of the founders of Biodynamic Psychology and works as an international trainer and supervisor. She is an important member of the EABP and EAP; she and her sister Mona Lisa Boyesen run a Biodynamic Psychology school in Germany. www.biodynamik.de