From yoga to neuroscience, a tour of major ideas about the body and mind.
Body psychotherapy, which examines the relationship of bodily and physical experiences to emotional and psychological experiences, seems at first glance to be a relatively new area and on the cutting edge of psychotherapeutic theory and practice. It is, but the major concepts of body/mind treatment are actually drawn from a wide range of historical material, material that spans centuries and continents.
Here, in a massively comprehensive book, Michael Heller summarizes all the major concepts, thinkers, and movements whose work has led to the creation of the field we now know as body/mind psychotherapy.
The book covers everything from Eastern and Western thought—beginning with yoga and Taosim and moving to Plato and Descartes. It also discusses major developments in biology—how organisms are defined—and neuroscience. This is truly a comprehensive reference for anyone interested in the origins of the idea that the mind and body are not separate and that both must be understood together in order to understand people and their behavior.
"Amazing . . . exciting . . . remarkable. Tracing the historical roots of this field to its emergent disciplines today, this tome is a vital reference book for body psychotherapists and body workers of all types. It is also a profound reference for any clinician wishing to study this field seriously. Thank you Michael Heller for this gift of incredible scholarship." —Peter A. Levine, PhD, Developer of Somatic Experiencing® and author of In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
"In recent years, those involved in neuroscience, trauma studies, and mainstream practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy have all become aware that the body plays a central role in psychological processes. This recognition has moved the study and practice of body psychotherapy from the fringes of the world of alternative therapies into the fold of legitimate, mainstream treatment options. Michael Heller's masterpiece text not only cogently illuminates what body psychotherapy is, it also traces the origins of how it evolved, where it is going, and its promise for the future. Heller is the only one I can think of who could tackle this monumental task of mind, body, intellect, and spirit. Moreover, there is no one else who has the immensely broad base of knowledge necessary to produce this critically important, comprehensive, and historical volume. Destined to become an immediate classic, this text will educate and enlighten while also provoking food for thought and lengthy discussion. All researchers, practitioners, and students of body psychotherapy, as well as those interested in understanding and integrating expressions of the body with expressions of the mind, will be well rewarded by studying this awe inspiring book." —Babette Rothschild, author of The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
"Michael Heller has taken on the herculean task of compiling the vast wealth of scientific and theoretical knowledge that has contributed to the field of body psychotherapy into one massive volume. Without adhering to a particular school of thought or methodology, he presents an authoritative, enthusiastic, but yet unbiased synopsis of historical and current trends and forces, themes and thinkers struggling to comprehend the interface of body, mind and more. This textbook will prove an informative and vitalizing resource to both seasoned practitioners and students of body psychotherapy for years to come." —Pat Ogden, PhD, Founder/Director, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and author of Trauma and the Body
Part 1. The organism in the Far East: In search of the universe that manifests in organism
Asana and Pranayama of Hatha-yoga. Chinese and Taoist Refinements
Part 2. Starting with the certitudes of the soul and ending with the ambivalences of the mind
Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume and Kant
Part 3. The organism of the biologists
The theory of evolution (Lamarck, Wallace and Darwin). Artificial intelligence. The concept of auto-regulation in the organism (psychophysiology)
Part 4. Hypnosis, relaxation, and gymnastics at the birth of body psychotherapy: How to mobilize the forces of the organism
Physiognomy, phrenology, emotional expressions, and character analysis. Spirituality, hypnosis, and energy. The first methods of relaxation. Organismic gymnastics: From Elsa Gindler to Moshe Feldenkrais. The dynamics of the postures
Part 5. The psyche as regulator of the organism
The origins of psychoanalysis and Freud's first topography. From the dynamics of the libido to the Second Topography and the death instinct. Psychoanalysis and the body. (Adler, Spielrein, Groddeck, Ferenczi, Gindler, Fenichel and Reich).
Part 6. The organismic approach of Wilhem Reich and the systemic psychosomatics of Otto Fenichel
Vegetotherapy. Psychosomatics and Orgonomy. After Reich (waal, Braatoy, Bulow-Hansen, Boyesen and Lowen).
Part 7. Nonverbal communication research and psychotherapy
Filmed bodies: a fuzzy organism. Nonverbal communication of systemic psychoanalysis: the behavior of the infant as a form of self-organization of the other (Stern, Beebe and Tronick). Downing and Integrative body psychotherapy in 2001. Towards a form of psychotherapy, that integrates non-conscious practices.
About the Author:
Michael C. Heller is a USA and Swiss citizen, born in Paris. He is a psychologist who has studied, as a researcher and a clinician, the relation between mind and body. As a researcher, he has primarily studied the nonverbal behavior of suicidal and depressive patients in the Geneva University Psychiatric Institutions. As a clinician, he trained in body psychotherapy in Gerda Boyesen’s school, and has participated in the development of body psychotherapy with his colleagues of the European Association of Body Psychotherapy (EABP). He has participated in the creation of several journals in the field of body psychotherapy, and has occupied key posts in the EABP (Vice-president, chair of the Ethics Committee and Scientific Committee). He publishes and teaches regularly on clinical and research issues related to body and mind. He is now psychotherapist and supervisor in Lausanne, Switzerland, while continuing to teach and publish at an international level.