Listening to the Body 2018-07-19T13:46:07+00:00

Listening to the Body

The growing — and controversial — field of body psychotherapy is founded on the belief that psychological and physical healing go hand in hand.


Common Boundary (May/June 1997)

A few years ago, at the age of 31, Meg got tired of hearing herself talk.

The Boston public-relations specialist (who prefers not to use her last name) had been seeing psychiatrists and other talk therapists since the age of 17, discussing a host of issues including the alcoholism in her family, her recurrent depression, and her difficult relationship with her identical-twin sister. Meg sensed that underneath these problems there remained a happy woman, but she couldn’t seem to break through to her. “I felt as though the talking and a lot of the psychiatry kept me in my pain, kept me in the past,” she says. “I got so sick of not being able to change anything.”

Sensing that she needed to try something different, Meg started seeing Newton, Massachusetts, therapist Linda Marks. Marks practices Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy, or EKP, a therapy that uses the body in the psychotherapeutic process. Meg’s sessions with Marks begin with a heart-centered meditation designed to put Meg in touch with her body and the issues it presents. Those issues then often become the subject of the session, with Marks using gentle touch and holding techniques to elicit feelings and provide support.

EKP practitioners look for verbal and nonverbal cues that appear energetically charged and then follow them to uncover deeper levels of meaning. Often even the subtlest body-oriented methods prove powerful. In one session, for example, while sitting on a couch telling Marks about her relationship with her twin, Meg started wiping her eye with her hand. Sensing something behind Meg’s gesture, Marks asked if she could put her hand over her eyes. When she did so, Meg suddenly found herself in the room she’d shared with her sister when they were eight years old. They were lying in their beds, happily gabbing away in the dark, playing a game they’d played each night: seeing which of them could hold her pillow in the air the longest before her arm collapsed. Those evening talks had been an integral part of Meg’s early relationship with her sister. But in the troubled years that followed, she’d forgotten about them.

“This small gesture opened a door to the positive memories about my twin sister that I hadn’t experienced for years,” says Meg. “I had this incredibly warm feeling, this powerful, strong, positive feeling about the good side about being a twin that I had not felt since I was eight. It might not sound so earth-shattering, but for me it was accessing something positive that was lost. That was possibly the most powerful moment I’ve had in a therapy setting since I was 17.”

The memory and the processing of emotions it evoked with Marks allowed Meg to see her relationship with her twin in a new light. “My sister is still my sister. It’s not always easy or perfect, but I’m able to see it in a much more balanced way,” she explains. “I’m more comfortable around her, and she’s much more present in my life.” Meg says that the improved relationship is just one of many gains she’s made with Marks. “I have made some tremendous moves in my life with the support of EKP,” she says. “Something about this process has given me a lightness of heart that I haven’t had in a long time.”

Across the country, people like Meg are beginning to use their bodies as well as their minds in therapists’ offices. EKP is one of a number of therapies in the United States that are bringing the body into psychotherapy, often with striking results. Body psychotherapy, as these practices are collectively known, views the mind and body as one. While many people now recognize the power of the mind over the body, these therapies assert that the body holds much of our emotional history and that it also influences the mind. Talking about feelings is critical to these practices, but the body serves as the main vehicle for change, often acting as a map to hidden psychological issues. Body psychotherapists believe that although the mind can deceive, the body rarely lies, making it a clearer and often faster means of getting at issues than talk. While people sometimes have trouble expressing feelings like anger, a body psychotherapist can find such emotions expressed in muscular tensions or movement patterns and, having identified them, work to resolve the issues they raise.

“Someone talking about their experience is one step removed from their basic, essential experience,” says Christine Caldwell, a somatic psychologist in Boulder, Colorado. “Why not go to the core? Why use a translator? The body is a purer vehicle for understanding ourselves and coming home to ourselves.”

Unlike bodywork therapies such as Rolfing or massage, which are aimed at healing physical problems, body psychotherapy is first and foremost psychotherapy. The most established schools in the field are grounded in psychology, with practitioners well versed in basic psychological principles such as transference, in which the client projects onto the therapist feelings toward another person such as a parent. Body psychotherapy techniques vary dramatically. In Bioenergetics, for instance, clients bash mattresses with tennis rackets in order to release anger. In Rubenfeld Synergy, they lie on a massage table while the therapist “tracks” their energy and emotions through gentle touch. Some therapies use meditation, some focus on breathing, some involve movement, and many combine these approaches. All, however, share the belief that psychological change must be experienced physically if it is to stick. “Our idea is that there has to be a physical change as well as a cognitive or verbal change for the change to be supported or real,” says Barbara Goodrich-Dunn, a body-oriented counselor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

To body psychotherapists, life is a bodily experience, and the body is a source of wisdom that the mind alone cannot supply. “Body psychotherapies come from the perspective that the person is a whole being and that a lot of problems can’t be solved as long as we remain focused only on one aspect of our being,” says Jim Kepner, a psychologist who teaches at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, Ohio. “From a body psychotherapist’s perspective, we don’t feel emotions in our brain; we feel them in our body. I know I’m sad because I feel a tightening in my diaphragm, an aching in my throat, wateriness in my eyes. Whereas a cognitive therapist might agree with Descartes’ `I think, therefore I am,’ a body psychotherapist would say, `I move, therefore I am,’ or `I sense and feel, therefore I am.'”

Body psychotherapy’s holistic approach bridges the mind-body divide. “It is constantly interweaving thinking, feeling, and sensation,” says Caldwell. “It seeks to integrate your experience; you’re not just a talking head. We’re saying health is an integrated experience of self.”

Instead of analyzing what happened in the past, body psychotherapists focus on present experience in the body, helping clients by providing them with physical experiences and bodily based insights. This experiential focus engages clients emotionally, giving body psychotherapy relevance and power. Explains Manhattan Beach, California, body psychotherapist Marjorie Rand: “When you anchor it in the body, it’s not a thought but an experience.”

Many psychoanalysts and other talk therapists have long recognized the importance of this kind of emotional involvement with the body in fostering psychological change. In the 1970s, University of Chicago psychologist Eugene Gendlin found he could predict which clients would progress in therapy by whether or not they were able to experience what he called a “felt sense,” or a physical manifestation of their feelings. Gendlin taught his clients to tune in to this body sense through a technique he called Focusing. In Focusing, clients connect with their felt sense by identifying the feeling it presents through a word, image, or phrase. They then ask questions of the felt sense. A client who identifies the swirling anger in his or her stomach as “jealousy,” for example, might ask, “What about this makes me so jealous?” — thereby receiving insights that bring positive physical and psychological change.

Like other body-psychotherapy techniques, Focusing helps people feel better by connecting them to the knowledge stored in their bodies. This belief in the body’s wisdom is at the heart of body psychotherapy. “There’s an emphasis on trust in the knowledge of the body, that the body knows the truth,” says Rand.

Although body psychotherapy is just coming of age in the United States, the field is hardly new. As early as 1923, Sigmund Freud recognized the importance of the body in psychology, stating that “the ego is ultimately derived from bodily sensations.” However, it was Freud’s star student, Wilhelm Reich, who founded body psychotherapy. Reich believed that people develop “muscular armoring” during childhood in order to avoid painful emotions. While this armor is useful early on, its persistence blocks the body’s natural flow of energy, limiting the capacity for pleasure. Reich correlated body expressions with personality traits and called the natural life-giving energy that muscular armor blocked “orgone energy.” He cited the orgasm as its fullest expression and a key measure of psychological health.

Convinced that talk was insufficient to release armoring, Reich used physical techniques with patients, including manipulation of the body, touch, and breathwork. By applying pressure to a particular muscle spasm, Reich found he could release the emotions it contained. “He would press hard with his thumb or the palm of his hand on a particular segment of the body armor; the jaw, neck, chest, back, or thigh,” wrote Reich’s biographer and student, psychiatrist Myron Sharaf. “Such pressure often stimulated an outburst of crying or rage.”

Reich’s focus on the orgasm and his advocacy of free sexual expression caused a break between him and Europe’s analytic community, and in 1939 he moved to the United States. In the early 1950s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration won an injunction banning Reich from selling his “orgone energy accumulator,” a supposedly curative device in which a patient could sit to absorb orgone energy collected from the atmosphere. Convicted of violating the injunction, Reich went to prison, where he died of a heart attack in 1957. Today Reich’s professional descendants are known as medical orgonomists. These practitioners have medical degrees and adhere to Reich’s therapeutic methods.

Reich’s ideas re-emerged in the broader population during the 1960s. A student and a patient of Reich’s, Alexander Lowen developed Bioenergetics in the 1950s and ’60s with John Pierrakos. Bioenergetics asserts that we are our bodies, our physical expressions serving as our way of being in the world. Building on Reich’s ideas, Lowen defined five character types based on different holding patterns in the body. For instance, in Bioenergetics a dependent person who “holds on” to others and has difficulty standing on his or her own often has long, spindly legs and is an “oral” type, exhibiting traits from the oral period of life, infancy. Using the types, Bioenergetics practitioners “read” patients’ emotional problems from their bodies.

Lowen developed specific exercises to improve patients’ functioning. In a sample session with me, Bioenergetics practitioner Scott Winfield of North Miami, Florida, “grounded” me by having me stand with my knees bent and my feet shoulders’ width apart. Having one’s feet firmly planted on the ground, both physically and metaphorically, is central to Bioenergetics. Next I deepened my breathing by lying with my back over a “breathing stool,” a short stepladder padded at the top. Later, standing before me and moving closer, Winfield examined how I reacted to eye contact. When I noted a tension in my throat, he asked, “What is it that your throat holds? What particularly did you have to swallow?” I had no immediate answer, but the question was interesting.

Lowen’s books made Reich’s concepts accessible to the public, and today Bioenergetics is probably the most widely practiced form of body psychotherapy. Lowen retired as executive director of the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis last June, but at age 86 he remains vigorous and still conducts workshops.

Another student of Reich’s who contributed to body psychotherapy was Fritz Perls. Breaking from Reich, Perls’s Gestalt therapy viewed defenses as creative forms of resistance to be respected, rather than as pathologies to be eliminated, and viewed much of our trouble as stemming from unfinished business. Instead of breaking down clients’ muscular armor, Perls used awareness of body structure to develop dramatic life scenes in order to help clients re-enact and process past incidents. Perls pursued present experience rather than analysis of the past. His credo: “Lose your mind, and come to your senses!”

Today many body psychotherapists recognize the need in some people to have defenses built up rather than broken down, and they look askance at the armor-breaking practices of older therapies. “The theories of Bioenergetics and Reich can be retraumatizing,” says Jim Kepner. “People can work in a very aggressive way to break down what is essentially fundamental self-care.” Individual Reichian and Bioenergetics-trained practitioners have modified their practices to reflect this new “softer” approach.

The newer body psychotherapies also draw from a wide variety of disciplines. For instance, Integrative Body Psychotherapy, founded by Jack Rosenberg and Marjorie Rand, combines Reichian and Gestalt principles with yoga, dance, and acupuncture, among other traditions. Another technique, Ron Kurtz’s Hakomi Method, draws from Buddhism and Taoism.

Hakomi illustrates how much body psychotherapy has changed. Trained in Bioenergetics, Kurtz eventually found that approach too forceful. “When you’re pushing on the blocks, one part of the unconscious is fighting all the time,” he says. “I felt I could get there without violence, without the potential to disrupt the person by breaking through with force.” Kurtz sees people as self-organizing systems formed around core beliefs. Using gentle verbal and physical “probes,” the Hakomi practitioner elicits these beliefs, providing the client with an experience to contradict the limiting premise. A person organized around the idea that nobody is ever “there” for him or her, for instance, might be asked to fall backward into the therapist’s arms. “If I can get them to experience the opposite of the premise they’re holding, then they can start to act on it,” Kurtz explains. Key to Hakomi is mindfulness, a self-reflective state that produces change through awareness rather than effort, in contrast to the older, catharsis-oriented Reichian therapies.

One of the most established branches of body psychotherapy — dance therapy — was developed separately from Reich and newer traditions like Hakomi. Dancer Marian Chace began using dance therapy to help seriously disturbed patients at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., after World War II. Freeing them to express their inner feelings, movement proved therapeutic for these patients, many of whom were veterans suffering from war trauma. Today dance therapists continue to work in hospitals with people who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, including mentally retarded individuals and those recovering from brain injuries. The therapy also attracts healthy people, particularly those drawn to movement.

Typically done in groups, dance therapy uses improvisational movement to further expression and to create new patterns of experience. By expanding their movements, clients increase their emotional, physical, and cognitive functioning. A person who has trouble controlling his or her anger in public, for example, might be encouraged to do a wild punching movement and then slow it down to experience control over the anger. People in the group follow the motions of the therapist, who in turn expands and intensifies their actions, developing themes for the session with movement, just as a talk therapist does with words. “The movement is the language of communication between the therapist and the client,” says Miriam Roskin Berger, director of New York University’s dance-education program. “It’s like a conversation in movement.” Therapies that have evolved from dance include Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor, a practice that uses role playing and observation of movement to process issues.

From dance and movement therapies to Bioenergetics and Hakomi, body psychotherapy has developed into a diverse field with an approach for almost every taste. Practitioners expect the field to continue to grow as new ways are found to use the body to foster psychological growth and people seek therapies that recognize the mind-body connection. “The future of psychotherapy includes the body. This is the way the whole profession is going,” says Marks.

Yet while body psychotherapy is used to treat a variety of problems, it isn’t for everyone. Many of the therapies, for instance, focus on breaking down or disintegrating rigid emotional patterns, rendering the practices inappropriate for people whose personalities are already in flux, such as schizophrenics. Touch can also be confusing for individuals prone to distorting reality, making them uncertain about the therapist’s motives. Body psychotherapists themselves concede that many people do as well with talk therapy as they do with body-oriented approaches, sometimes better. However, body psychotherapy seems to be especially helpful when talk fails to produce results.

For some people, talk therapy becomes an intellectual game that brings much insight but little change, and it’s hard to keep up the game when the body is telling the story. Don Hanlon Johnson, professor of somatics at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, had been in talk therapy for 10 years when he tried body psychotherapy. “I knew I had gotten good — somehow not wanting to — at avoiding the real issues [in talk therapy]. Even though I was aware of it, I couldn’t do much about it. Suddenly, when confronted with my bodily responses, I couldn’t deceive myself anymore.”

Sometimes talking just isn’t enough to release pent-up emotions, as Eileen Epperson, a Presbyterian minister in Acton, Massachusetts, can attest. Epperson has twice used a body psychotherapy called Core Energetics to deal with crises in her life. Developed by John Pierrakos, Core Energetics is similar to Bioenergetics but includes a strong spiritual component. After finding the therapy helpful in dealing with the intense anger and grief she felt upon her mother’s death in 1987, Epperson turned to it again last year during a crisis in her marriage. She was seeing a social worker at the time, but she explains, “I was so filled with emotion that needed to be expressed physically that working with her was just not enough.”

In her Core Energetics sessions, Epperson raged in tantrums, whacked pillows with a tennis racket, and beat a couch with her arms and legs. The sessions were exhausting but productive. “I would leave there drained and tired but somehow more at home in my life, difficult as it was,” the minister recalls. “It got me through the unbelievably overwhelming tidal wave of emotions.”

Body psychotherapy can also be good for people who have suffered bodily trauma. With funding from the United Nations, CIIS is using body psychotherapy at its Healing Center for Survivors of Political Torture. According to Johnson, who works at the center, “[Cambodians] say the only way they survived Pol Pot is that their souls left their bodies and they don’t know where they went. Through kind, gentle touch they gradually come back into their bodies. When people are maimed and electrocuted, to just talk about it is not enough because the predisposition for reoccurrence of the trauma is so plainly embedded in the tissue.”

For much the same reason, body psychotherapy sometimes works well with sexual-abuse survivors, although it takes a well-trained and sensitive therapist to handle such people. A few years ago a 46-year-old single mother in the San Francisco Bay Area named Terry found herself getting worse rather than better in talk therapy. Terry (who prefers not to use her last name) liked her therapist. But talking about the sexual abuse she had experienced as a child was making her feel overwhelmed. Spacy and disassociated, she could barely prepare dinner for her child. As memories of being raped surfaced, her legs became so rigid she had trouble climbing stairs. Unable to help her, Terry’s therapist recommended that she try Bodynamic Analysis.

Developed in Denmark by Lisbeth Marcher, Bodynamics is one of a number of body psychotherapies recently introduced to the United States from Europe. Marcher documented the psychological content and age of activation of each muscle in the body, creating a “map” covering seven stages of childhood development. Using this developmental map, Bodynamics therapists pinpoint muscles in clients that are “resigned” and have lost their impulses, and those that are rigid. They then retrain these areas and work to develop the lost psychological functions they represent, thereby expanding individuals’ capacities. The practice is grounded in the belief that people are motivated by a deep drive toward mutual connection that is experienced through the body. Breaks in this sense of connection lead to the developmental blocks that show up as stiffened muscles and lost psychological abilities.

Body psychotherapists typically move slowly with sexual-abuse survivors because bodywork can retraumatize them. In Bodynamics, Terry first learned how to experience her traumatic memories without being overwhelmed. “They taught me to tighten my legs when I’m standing in a certain way that gave me a sense of having a `container’ around the feelings,” she explains. The therapist established Terry’s boundaries by having her tell him where to sit in the room. After six months of such groundwork, he began using body contact to re-establish resources in Terry that had been overridden by the abuse.

Muscle testing showed that Terry’s triceps, the muscles in the arm used to push people away, were collapsed. Unable to push people away, Terry was afraid to let them in and therefore had trouble with relationships. In repeated sessions, she practiced pushing her therapist away, then processing the feelings that came up. Three months of such work gave her a new sense of confidence around people. “Now when someone is too much in my space, I can push them out with my voice and words,” she says. “I can stay calm and don’t get triggered with all the fear of people violating my personal space as I used to.”

Two years into therapy, Terry reports that her life is back on track and that she’s studying to be a Bodynamics therapist. She believes talk therapy failed to produce the same results because it left her body out of the process: “My body was what experienced the violation in the past, and my body needed to experience the ability to push people out.”

Such success stories are putting body psychotherapy on the map. But even those within the field acknowledge that it has a long way to go to attain the kind of credibility it has in Europe. Body psychotherapy is well established there, partly due to the efforts of pioneers such as David Boadella, the Switzerland-based editor of the body-psychotherapy journal Energy and Character, to develop a common language for the field and to establish it in the mainstream. “The Europeans are 12 years ahead of us,” says Barbara Goodrich-Dunn.

While some practices in the United States have long histories, the field as a whole is so new that it’s hard to know what to call it. Across the country, body psychotherapy is also known as body-oriented psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and body-centered psychotherapy. Furthermore, in competing to establish their individual therapies, practitioners have done little to advance the field as a whole, engaging instead in arguments over whether one school of therapy is better than another. Don Johnson says that CIIS has made progress in developing a common language for the field, but he calls efforts to do the same on a national level “discouraging.” Explains Johnson: “It’s been very hard on a large level to get people together to do serious dialogue on casework. We need to get beyond these sectarian dialogues and focus on healing the person.”

Absence of such exchanges helps explain the field’s lack of recognition: The American Psychological Association has no official position on body psychotherapy, and a spokeswoman for the California Psychological Association isn’t sure what it is. “I think that’s one of the fringe-types of psychologies, and no one here knows much about it,” she comments. In order to further the field, major schools came together last June to form the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). The USABP plans to establish membership criteria, an ethics code, and standards of practice for the field, using the European Association for Body Psychotherapy’s standards as a model.

With efforts to define national standards just getting underway, training of body psychotherapists varies widely. The Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and CIIS offer master’s degrees in somatic psychology, and individual schools of body psychotherapy also train and certify practitioners; many of their programs are rigorous, involving several years of study. However, some people claiming to be body psychotherapists set up shop after a single weekend workshop. “There are people out there I would be more than embarrassed to associate with, who are hurting people [by] not knowing what they’re doing,” says Marjorie Rand. Lack of adequate training of practitioners is one reason the major schools in the field are working to establish national standards.

Most controversial is the role of touch. Touch is central to many body psychotherapies, as a case from one of Ilana Rubenfeld’s workshops demonstrates. Rubenfeld uses gentle touch to process emotions stored in the body. Lying on a massage table during one workshop, a man with a backache told Rubenfeld that his wife had just left him. The therapist slipped her hands under the client’s back and asked what he’d like to say to his wife. “I forgive you,” he responded. Yet as he spoke, Rubenfeld felt his back contract, a sign that his words did not match his feelings. When she asked the client to give his back a voice, he became angry and cried, and his back relaxed. “He thought, `I should say I forgive you,'” explains Rubenfeld. “But the body was saying, `No, that’s not at all where we’re at; your feelings are anger and sadness.'”

Rubenfeld’s approach is just one of many hands-on body-psychotherapy techniques. In Hakomi, for instance, therapists “take over” people’s physical stress patterns, doing things like pressing on a client’s tight stomach so the person can turn over the action and relax. In all of these practices, clients determine the level of physical interaction. Those with poor boundaries are often taught to say no. “Touch begins with the permission not to be touched,” says Peter Bernhardt, a San Francisco Bay Area body psychotherapist. All of the therapies prohibit sexual touching of any kind.

To many traditional psychotherapists, however, touch is a Pandora’s box, raising transference issues such as the patient’s falling in love with the therapist, which can sabotage therapy and even make the patient’s condition worse. These therapists are skeptical of using touch, particularly with sexual-abuse survivors, who can be easily retraumatized by touch because it was the source of their original trauma. “I think it’s really dangerous. Here’s a healer, a person they should be safe with, touching them,” says Raleigh, North Carolina, psychologist Victoria Schindler. “I don’t recommend [body psychotherapy] for anybody who has any kind of abusive background. It’s appropriate for a healthy person doing growth work.”

Body psychotherapists acknowledge such concerns and say they are one reason the field needs national standards. However, many believe that Americans have a fear of intimacy as well. “We are so afraid of touch — to be touched at any level — that touch becomes pathologized in the culture, rather than being seen as a normal, human, healthy expression,” says EKP therapist Linda Marks.

Practitioners such as Marks believe that touch can be essential to the healing process. “Most of us have been traumatized around touch,” says Bernhardt. “What we need is not to be prohibited from being touched but a renegotiation, a new experience that is positive, integrated, and full. A therapy that eschews touch will leave someone less able to make deep contact.”

Deep contact is what body psychotherapy is all about – contact with our bodies, with ourselves, and often with something beyond. While most body psychotherapies aren’t spiritual per se, many practitioners and clients say that the work brings benefits beyond psychological development; it can bring a sense of wholeness that is nothing short of profound. “Part of my spiritual plight and that of other people I know has to do with the loss of the body,” says Don Johnson. “Recovery of the body has opened many of us up to reconnection with the cosmos that we had lost because mainstream Christianity and Judaism are disconnected from the body. For many of us, reconnecting with the body is reconnecting spiritually.”

Others agree that breaking down physical blocks brings them into greater connection not only with themselves but also with a force beyond themselves, re-establishing a sort of natural life flow. Says Eileen Epperson of her cathartic Core Energetics sessions: “It’s like unclogging the pipes so the life force or spirit or God can flow through them again.”


Jennifer Bingham Hull is a former writer for the Wall Street Journal and Time who now freelances from Miami. Recently she has written for the Atlantic Monthly, Ms., and the Los Angeles Times Magazine.


How to Find a Body Psychotherapist

Because body-psychotherapy practices vary widely, it’s wise to do some research before beginning this kind of therapy.

While body psychotherapists who are self-taught can be knowledgeable and effective, many experts advise choosing a therapist who has been certified by an established school. These institutes provide extensive training and have standards of ethics and practice that provide for some quality control. “A lot of people go to weekend workshops and train in that technique, but they don’t really understand an approach and don’t have supervised practicums,” cautions Jim Kepner, a psychologist who teaches at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, Ohio. “Ask about training. Do they have a basic approach, or have they just gone to a hodgepodge of workshops?”

Even more critical than training is the personality and approach of the individual therapist. While body psychotherapy can be done on a short-term basis, it’s usually a long-term relationship. Key to its success is the connection between client and therapist. “This person is going to be in your life in one of the most important ways they can possibly be, and you must have a sense that you can trust them, that they have the potential to understand you and that they feel like a solid human being,” says Barbara Goodrich-Dunn, a body-oriented counselor in Silver Spring, Maryland. Two ways to assess therapists are to interview them and to get personal references.

Clients who see body psychotherapists with state licenses in some form of counseling can sometimes receive insurance reimbursement. Insurance does not cover unlicensed practitioners or body psychotherapy per se. Fees for body psychotherapy are comparable to those for talk therapy, ranging from about $50 to $150 for a one-hour session.

Organizations with information on body psychotherapy include:

American College of Orgonomy, (908) 821-1144.

American Dance Therapy Association, (410) 997-4040.

Bodynamic Institute, (510) 524-8090.

California Institute of Integral Studies, (415) 674-5500.

Center for Energetic Studies (director Stanley Keleman is a leading theorist in Body Psychotherapy), (510) 845-8373.

Hakomi Institute, (303) 443-6209.

Institute for Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy, (617) 965-7846.

Institute of Core Energetics, (212) 982-9637.

Integrative Body Psychotherapy, (310) 395-2117.

International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis, (212) 532-7742.

Naropa Institute, (303) 546-3568.

Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor, (603) 934-5548.

Rubenfeld Synergy, (212) 254-5100.

For other schools and organizations, contact the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy at (301) 588-9341.

— J.B.H.

Copyright © 1997 Common Boundary, Inc. All rights reserved.