The body psychotherapy

Wilhelm Reich (march 24th 1897 – november 3rd 1957) is considered today as the founder of psychobody therapies. His vision of psychotherapy, his way to consider the inter relation body-mind, his demonstration of the importance of a harmonious sexual life in the psycho-somatic balance of a person, were revolutionary at his time. James Kepner, american psychopractitioner, resumed in his book named « the re-found body in psychotherapy » some of Reich’s concepts. He’s mentioning in particular three different doctrines for the body-mind notion.

In the monist doctrine, the spirit is nothing else than the product of the brain electro-physical chemistry. That is that a person is equivalent to the functioning of its organs. In this vision, the spirit and the body are machines, of which problems are from a mecanic kind.

The second is the one of the dualism. The branches of the body and the spirit are completely different from one to the other, and each must be treated separately. In this case, we use a verbal therapy for mental disorders – because in this approach, it is mainly about understand them to resolve them – and a body therapy for the pains or corporal problems. In this splitted approach, there is on one hand the body, and on the other the spirit.

The third doctrine, the parallelism, considers that the branches of the body and the spirit are different, but never the less linked, in the sense of one is inevitably affecting the other. A psychic suffering affects the corporal functioning : « being unsure of itself ». In the same way, a back pain, a heartache can be the expression of emotional and/or existential conflicts. In this vision, any change in one of the branch, physical or psychic, has an effect on the other by their intrinsic link. This way of viewing the psychosomatic functioning establishes the status of the body in a form of intelligence, of which the expression is not made of words but of motions, sounds, feelings, emotions.

For the “bodymind”, the consciousness body, founder Reich’s concept of the psychobody therapy, there is an inseparable synergy between the body and the spirit. In this perspective, the feeling and the emotions have the same importance than the thoughts or the words. All are connected and interactive. In his therapeutic support, the psychobody practitioner will invite the patient to take into account, just as much his thoughts and the words he’s pronouncing, a motion, an unconscious movement, a stiffness in the neck, a tension in the chest or a particular intonation. The place given to the messages of the body works then as a fulcrum to free sufferings where words are not enough. The so considered body, becomes then a resource, a precious help, a living memory for the patient in his therapeutic path.