Since there may be psychologists with their own experience among the readers, as well as biodynamic practitioners without psychological experience, I will try to stay within the “broad range”, without specifying exact techniques. These are kind of “markers”, points at which we can expand the “biodynamic reflection in the mirror” with additional details from psychology.
Like biodynamic therapists, therapists in psychology use field effects, control of their state, reading secondary signals, but the main difference is the use of a verbal channel to communicate with a client – that is, through voice, language.
Language and verbal communication with the client within the biodynamics session is what happens anyway. And each time it is individual and depends on the state of the therapist-client system. Sometimes with the same client I can spend the entire session in silence, or I can spend it talking. Here I am talking about using language on purpose — in the right place at the right time for the right effect. Since language is also a method of influence, it is important to use it within the same principles of cleanness that are used in biodynamics and SIM, that is, not to “push” the client into the one’s own concepts and ideas, not to “push” him in a certain process for his own good. This will be addresses by clean language, which has a separate chapter in this work.
You can use the language at almost any of the 5 stages of the session, again – depending on the situation, we can already at the first stage of setting ourselves through the language also “include” the client in this process and let him know what setting ourselves is, what such a feeling of the body, space, oneself in space, etc. This is an important part of developing a client’s own sensitivity and self-regulation skills – an element of his independence from us, an element of his reliance on himself and his own strength, health.
Extending the "mirror" through the language.
Basically, all this work was born out of the “obstacles” of the fourth stage of the process – the stage of searching and resolving – the stage of change. We are talking just about situations when the biodynamic process “gets stuck” due to a person’s unwillingness or unwillingness to let go of any bodily process.
How does it feel to the therapist? Most often it happens that as a therapist observes the process of finding a solution in the body, accompanies to the point of balance, or tunes in to the embryonic fields, the middle line, the client’s system comes to the point of balance, or comes into contact with the mid line, but this is balance and contact is somewhat different, that usually happens before release. It is felt as “tense balance”, “tight contact”, there is a feeling of “equal tension” of tissues or homogeneity of “liquid”, homogeneity of “potency”, but in all this homogeneity there is a tension that “does not want to leave”. You can change the area of expanding your attention, check your settings, synchronize with space and Primary Respiration, check your intention, but the process still “stands” in a tense balance.
Based on the experience that I have; I interpret this state as the system’s “unreadiness” for changes. If you have enough patience (maybe even outside the session), readiness will come. If it does not come within the session, or I could not create the appropriate conditions for resolution, then, as a rule, the system “releases” part of the tension, and the request remains “suspended” until self-resolution or until the next session(s).
And this is where experience from psychology comes to the rescue – knowledge of the defensive dynamics and resistance to change, understanding the model of the formation of trauma in the psyche, understanding how you can go “through” the trauma to the resource hidden behind it. In fact, it is necessary to show the client’s system what is going on – to take a “mirror” wider and “reflect” from which state, what decision or conclusion was made and ask – is it still necessary to hold it? As a rule, the answer is no, and the system is ready to move on towards resolution.
Perhaps you have a similar experience, and if you find your way to continue the process, it will be interesting to know about it! For myself, I found the following way out (given my imperfection):
- I notice what is happening, admit it and “say” (I put it in quotation marks here and further, because I still use the non-verbal channel, i.e., “conversation” is silent, at the level of mental dialogue): “Look, this is what I see – everything is in balance, but there is no solution “
- And then I use non-verbal dialogue, I “ask” the system – “do you want something to happen to this?”, “What would you like to happen?”, “What will help you?”, “What is stopping you?”, “What would you need from me? ” All these are questions from on adult-adult communication level.
- And here it is important to “hear” the answer. If the “answer” to the first question is “do you want this to be somehow resolved?” if there is no or not now, then I just agree with this and look for a harmonious way to reduce the level of tension, for example, through partial letting go. Each question can be answered in tissues, fluid, potency, in the form of some kind of movement (the system tells where it wants to go), or the answer in felt sense is “yes”, “no” or “direct indication “, for example,” I need more space”. Of course, these are all interpretations of my mind, but for me they are always accurate and work.
- Sometimes I “ask” the client’s system – is it ready to translate the work into a verbal dialogue and if I hear “yes”, I ask again in my voice – if client would like to consider what is happening through words.
- In a verbal or non-verbal version, if a “yes” is received from the system, then you can move on, invite the system to look at what is under this feeling of unresolved tension, what keeps it, where exactly, how and what could help change it. To put it simply, these questions can be repeated in different variations until the picture as a whole is seen and this picture is enough to move further in the biodynamic process towards resolution and release. Sometimes, when the whole “picture is drawn” and there is a feeling of its completeness, but something is still waiting, you can ask a “pushing question” – “And when you see all this – do you still need it for some reason?” With a high-quality of the picture and its completeness, the answer is always “no”, the system is ready for release.
- At every step, every question, there is a listening to the response of the client’s system (at any of the listening levels – tissues, fluid, energy). If suddenly the system goes into compression or even more tension – this is the answer “no”, or the wrong direction or form of dialogue. It’s super important to listen and not drag the system where it doesn’t want to.
- In this dialogue, it helps to “look” into that resource and healthy part of the system, to understand that everything that happens is happening in order to connect with health and potential, and not an attempt to “fix the trauma”. This background “looking” into the healthy part also creates more safety in the therapist-client system.
If you look again at the essence of the process, then all these questions to the client’s system bring the attention of the system beyond the problem to the area of its solution, and in the qualitative field and the qualitative mirror of the therapist lead to deep resolution at all levels, including the level of the psychological field.
Sometimes, as I said, the entire dialogue is non-verbal, sometimes when I feel that a person is ready to “pass” the process through the area of the conscious, with his consent I can go to the verbal level. Here it largely depends on the “volume” of stability and the state of the therapist and the client’s sense of readiness. Sometimes, when there is a strong “trauma” in a tense state, I do not go to the verbal level at all. At the moment when the client is on the table, and even with his eyes closed, the transition to the verbal level can switch his conscious part into a repetition of the experience of the trauma, and the way out of this state on the table is much more difficult if the client was sitting, was in contact with the support in contact with the therapist’s eyes. Therefore, I would suggest eliminating the “temptation” to work with the trauma on the table with the use of the verbal level (words).
I already wrote above that in the SIM approach, as well as in Gestalt therapy and, probably, somewhere else, the Contact phenomenon is used. Everyone explains it differently for himself, and I will explain it in my own way. In the context of a psychological session of SIM, it is used when it is necessary to clarify the relationship and establish contact between some separated parts of the psyche (states, phenomena, etc.) or between two people. In such sessions, Contact is the third force that present between two separated “points”, “parts”, and is what “binds” them, or rather, that through which the contact occurs. Within the session, we refer to Contact as something external and something greater in relation to the participants in the process. Contact in this case can contain all states of “points” and “parts” of the process. Its nature is simple – to provide contact, which means mutual recognition, visibility, exchange, transmission (communication). The trick is to transfer control of the process to Contact at some point, thereby removing the ego from any part of the process. This is a very interesting phenomenon, to observe how the pure function of Contact helps to highlight and “remove” unnecessary, obsolete parts and programs. Observe in this case I use in the literal sense. On the one hand, within the process, the client becomes the Contact itself, on the other hand, being a contact, he “moves” into another state, “above” or “inside” or “between” any of the points of the process, and in this state some things (search , release) occur “as if by themselves”, and the Contact has enough powers to notice and “throw away” parts that are no longer needed.
When I first got acquainted with this phenomenon in SIM, I immediately remembered a similar phenomenon in biodynamics, which was introduced by A.T. Still as third principle and Rollin Becker described one specific phenomenon as “second pair of hands phenomenon”. Rollin Becker described this, how during the session there is a feeling that a “third person” appears, in addition to the client and the therapist, a second pair of the therapist’s hands appears, which perfectly see where and what requires attention, and perform “actions” that help to release dysfunctions, they act quickly, effectively, without a doubt. The therapist himself at this moment remains just an observer. The first appearance of such a phenomenon in Becker’s practice was spontaneous, however, when teaching biodynamics, students are asked to repeat this phenomenon by “inviting”, “a second pair of hands” into the process of a biodynamic session, and they, “hands” may or may not come. In my opinion, the “second pair of hands” is another phenomenon of Primary Respiration, it’s just that its action is interpreted by the brain in such an interesting way, but this does not diminish the possibilities that become available through this phenomenon.
In my biodynamic practice, I began to use the Contact phenomenon more consciously. First, we understand that Primary Respiration and Contact are transpersonal forces (outside of us), and they are present regardless of whether we notice them or not.
Secondly, the issue of interacting with them is a matter of recognizing that there is something greater than the client and the therapist, that has greater wisdom and capabilities, and through this recognition “surrender” to them, i.e., refuse to arrogate the results of work, from the idea that we know what is happening and what we are doing.
In moments when help is needed in the process (however – who prevents you from doing it from the beginning and not waiting for this moment? ;)), you can once again notice your position and boundaries, the position, and boundaries of the client, and ask the question – where is the border of contact between the therapist and the client, and where is the “control center” of this Contact. My brain usually “gives out” a point somewhere between me and the client, somewhere just above both of us. When this point is noticed, I “turn” to it with a proposal to take control. Part of the attention, as it were, moves to the point of Contact (here already with a capital letter), and the greater part, as before, is distributed between the client, therapist, and space. At this moment, such processes begin to take place that were inaccessible from my position as a therapist. New details of the picture become visible, new connections are found between the elements of the picture, the process of search and release occurs as if at a speed of 3x. There is a very great temptation to “creep in” with attention and see what is happening and how, but from experience, this is equal to “taking control” back onto oneself, and the “magic” ends. If you try to interpret what is happening, then I would interpret it as the fact that the system always knows more, it always has more resources than each element of the system separately. In this equation, 1 + 1 = 11 (metaphor). In addition, the system is freed from the need to be distracted by “personal” and is completely occupied with solving the problem in the moment.
Try experimenting with this, I’m sure you will like it.
Integration of bodily experience
Among the five stages of working with a client, it is also useful to “tune” the state after the release stage, when the ignition or transmutation occurred.
At this moment, the client’s system is at a much higher level of health, and at the level of increased potency. In the SIM approach, we pay great attention to resource integration. This refers to the conscious assimilation of new states, their embedment into new life experience. For integration in psychology, we offer the client to feel in the body and a space around how a new resource state is felt, for example, how strength is felt, or a state of play. We recommend re-feel them the next few days after the session.
Exactly the same can be offered to the client within the biodynamics session, when we see the result of the work, we see what changes have occurred with the client’s system, we can already verbally ask what changes the client notices (we ourselves can additionally “mirror” – show non-verbally that we see, up to sensations from new “vibrations” at the cellular level). It makes sense to talk about these changes: where they are, what exactly has changed, how it feels. Then you can offer to feel how these changes are distributed throughout the body (if relevant), to feel them all at once, to feel a new level of health and “show” it to the world. “Show” can be done in different ways, depending on the time and quality of contact with the client. The simplest option is to offer the client to imagine how his new state is visible to the world and it radiates like rays of light in different directions, and to offer to feel how the world responds back with joy, further strengthening this state. And you can “show” a new state sequentially forward, backward, left, right, up, down, each time “showing” – “this is what I am”, and listen to what response comes back. Sometimes a different “taste” of support comes from different directions, and it will be of particular importance to the client. The very fact that the client shows a new state will confirm to the psyche not only the fact that the change has taken place, but also the fact that the client now has access to it, possesses it to such an extent that it is ready to demonstrate to the world and receive the experience of a positive response from of the world to further establish itself in a new, more resourceful, and healthy state.