I have no experience of working in psychology outside of the SIM approach, so I do not presume to say what is used and what is not used in all possible schools and methods of psychology. SIM is a psychotechnique that has its own models and techniques, and at the same time has absorbed many phenomena and approaches from other schools and methods of psychology. Considering that biodynamics is work primarily with the body, it will not be possible to directly transfer its methods and techniques to psychology, but there are useful phenomena and techniques that can still be adopted in psychology.
Working with field and space, sensitivity
The space level is used in SIM in diagnostics and in the process itself. For those who start work and do not feel the processes taking place in space or in the field (a more often used term in psychology), they have to rely on the art of asking questions and leading the client through the process on a verbal level. However, as experience is gained, the therapist begins to feel what is happening in the client’s field, in the field between client and therapist, in the field between client and the world, in the field between the therapist-client system and the world. When we say space, people often imagine a specific volume in space, but a field is something more than a given volume, because now it is not uncommon (if not a rule during a pandemic) when psychological sessions are conducted remotely via Zoom, WhatsApp and etc., but the therapist may feel “density”, “clarity”, “turbidity” and the like in the field around the client, between oneself and the client, etc., the distance is not important here.
These phenomenon of working with the field are something natural for specialists in biodynamics because this level of sensitivity is developed in practice. For the therapist psychologist, the perception of field processes becomes another channel for receiving signals from the client’s system and is especially useful for understanding what is happening in the session.
How is the ability to feel the field developed? Of course, through practice, but as they say, the minus of any practice is that it must be practiced. Well, if, except for jokes, then the practice can be consious or unconscious. I will translate it into the realm of awareness so that your growth is faster. The skill of sensitivity in biodynamics is acquired through practice, but at the beginning of each practice there is a “therapist’s tuning” – the first stage in the session. What happens in this setting? This is done differently in different schools, but there are common points:
- Establishing your own fulcrums (supporting points in this case) – contact with the ground through the legs, chair / buttocks, straight (but relaxed) back, contact with the “sky” in order to connect with something greater than the therapist himself and receive support and support in this
- Awareness and recognition of one’s own processes at the level of the body, emotions of the mind. Firstly, being noticed and recognized, they calm down, and secondly, there will be no mixing with the client’s processes and feelings
- Inclusion in the area of conscious space and observation of its qualities. There is already a transition to the field level. It turns out that the therapist himself already sees the difference between himself and space, between sensations in himself and sensations in space (and it can be very different: kind and not so, heavy or light, calm or stormy). It is important to develop the skill of observing not only the qualities of space, but also where they are, how they change in the process. This stage, as a rule, ends simply by acknowledging what is happening or I like to wait for the “homogeneity” of the space – when it becomes aligned with the therapist
Already at this stage, there is a strong slowdown in all processes, including breathing, thinking. At lower speeds and the absence (or at least a decrease in the number) of thoughts, it becomes possible to notice more subtle phenomena. Once I saw a story from one eastern sage who linked the rate of breathing with what becomes possible for perception and, it seems, with a certain slowdown, understanding of birds and trees becomes available. In my opinion, a great incentive to practice :). And if you are not inspired by birds and trees, then it can also be interesting to explore yourself in this slowdown and increase your own level of sensitivity. You can simply use 1 question: “And when I see and feel all this, what else do I notice and feel.” You can ask it as much as you like, and if you do not strain, then more and more new sensations will come and something else will be noticed. When we have the experience of feeling ourselves, the feeling of others is available to us. When we have learned something ourselves, then we can teach it to others. It happens that in our work clients come to us who feel bad about themselves or the processes in themselves. This practice will only be a plus for them.
Other biodynamic settings will be superfluous here. For those who want to increase their level of sensitivity and feeling of the field, this practice of tuning will be useful just like that or just before the session. Within a psychological session, when a conversation turns on, it is unlikely that it will be possible to maintain a slowdown, and it is not necessary, but the experience already gained in recognizing sensations in space and in the field will work, it will be clear where there are own processes in the field, and where are the client’s processes.
Levels of attention
We have already discussed above that both in biodynamics and in SIM (and other psychological approaches), work with attention takes place. For biodynamics, this is one of the key skills – the skill of managing and distributing attention. When in contact with the body, even a little more attention to the client and especially attention “directed” to the embryonic processes can simply stop the entire therapeutic process. Therefore, in biodynamics, we learn to distribute and maintain attention between the dysfunction, the client, the space around us and the client. For general terminology in biodynamics, there are 4 main areas of attention:
- Zone A – the area of the body bounded by the surface of the skin; attention is here when working with anatomical structures.
- Zone B – “biosphere” zone – conventionally, a sphere at 40-60 cm around the body. This is a really felt zone, and its sensation can be trained. Used when working on fluid perception level.
- Zone C – the space around the person, which, as a rule, includes the room where the person or therapist is. In fact, this is a social zone, you need to feel what it is for you or the client, it can go beyond the room. Used to work at more subtle levels, like the zone D.
- Zone D – the space outside the room, nature around us, up to the horizon or even further, the zone of 3rd
Why should a psychologist know all this?
The zones of attention in themselves are artificial thing, but it is important to understand what they affect. There are two main factors:
- The attention zone is used to move to the required level of the process, i.e., the process parameters also change based on the area of attention. The wider the area of attention, the more accessible subtle levels of perception and more subtle processes, the narrower – the more “material” things happen (they are also needed)
- Expansion of the area of attention expands the overall “system” of the therapist-client, and the larger the system, the more resources, more information, and incoming signals.
In SIM, the concept of points of attention in the process is also used: the client, therapist, the point of contact, the point of the observer, but maybe not all of them are used intentionally.
How to use attention zones consciously? As always – you have to “dance” from the task. I will give a few examples in the SIM (the terms CS – controlling system, MCS – meta-controlling system are part of the SIM model), using the terms of biodynamics, since they may be more descriptive for someone:
- At the first orientation stage, therapist’s attention is distributed from A to C – it is important to feel yourself in space
- At the second stage of synchronization with space and the level of nature – attention is in zone C and more in D
- At the third stage of attunement with the client, it is advisable to use a combination of zones C and A, B of the client. Part of attention in C (in my opinion, corresponds to the “point” of Contact in SIM) and part of attention in area A, B of the client, while the therapist does not lose his area A, B. That is, the distribution can be approximately 40-30-30.
- In the fourth stage, especially in “searching,” the therapist “must” be proactive in managing his attention. If it is necessary to “see” the client’s bodily sensations – zone A, or to feel his immediate space (a frequent place of residence of the “controlling systems” (CS) – clients B. If necessary, look at the field processes, what and how is felt in the space between the client and the therapist, the level of “meta control systems” (MCS) – attention in the client’s zone C. If at some point the therapist discovers that “something is wrong” in the field, or that something in the process is repeated from time to time, or it will simply be necessary to assess the general state of the process – attention can be transferred to zone D. Here it becomes possible to observe the general dynamics of what is happening, including the therapist’s own states and patterns, but if attention is not sufficiently trained, small details of the process may be lost.
It turns out that managing attention in the process is like a function of zoom (zoom in and out) in a camera, plus aiming the lens at different parts of the process picture – depending on where the focus is, what zoom is selected – a different part of the overall picture is available – the “mirror” parameters changing.
Anatomical reference points. Midline
Knowledge of anatomy and embryology can be useful for a psychologist in different situations. I do not take into account the work with psychosomatics here. I think this is useful in the following cases:
- At the stage of resource integration, when the anatomical reference points, or rather the midline (you can use the metaphor of the ray going through the perineum through the crown upwards), the energy heart center, the lower dan-tien (the area 2 fingers below the navel), the pineal gland (the center of the head and the metaphorical third eye) are used in order to direct the client’s attention to them, as places where the collection and redistribution of the resource can occur. This is not a prescriptive direction, but, as always, you can just ask how the new resource is felt in these significant places. As a rule, this gives an even greater effect of “learning” and memorizing the resource at the cellular level.
- At the stage when the client needs to be “assembled”, for example, sometimes at the beginning of the session, the client comes and his attention hovers or he cannot get his attention. Then you can invite the client to imagine/feel his middle line and offer to return “all lost” parts of attention, lost in events, plans, people, dreams, etc. for the last day, week, month. And then invite all attention to redistribute in the body and along its midline. This is a really good at getting the client together and “assemble” him back to the whole.
If someone else has other approaches in this regard, I will be glad if you share.
Nature as a third force
In biodynamics, an integral part of any process is nature, its constructive, sustaining, and destructive forces. Of course, this vision may already seem intangible to someone, I have no goal to convince you, whether it is so or not. Nevertheless, all practitioners of biodynamics can observe the wisdom of both the body and the nature that supports us through various phenomena of what in biodynamics is called Primary Respiration, which creates and maintains life in all living things, including in us. In any case, it is something greater than a client, therapist or a single person, and this something greater that has its own “mind”, which is often not understood in a local manifestation (on a local scale of space or a local time scale).
There is also “something greater” in SIM approach that participates in each session – the Process. I will talk about it in the final part of the work, here I would just like to note the commonality of these concepts and recognize that in any work there is something greater than us, and this “something greater” is interested in our life, our development, and this can be addressed in session and beyond, especially when you need to see a wider picture of what is happening in ourselves or in the client’s therapy.