Date of Award
Master of Arts
The body's role in personality development. and psychotherapy :is investigated. The "mind/body split" which pervades our culture prevents us from fully experiencing bodily sensation.
This phenomenon is deeply rooted in the psychophysical dualism postulated by Descartes, and chapter one inquires into the reasons why his theories took hold so firmly. There is a prevailing tendency to treat mind and body as separate entities, and I examine the reasons for this. The emotions appear to be a link between body and mind, but this is specifically where resistance can enter in.
In chapter two, we look at the process in terms of one's personal history. our culture has tried to govern childrearing practices via rational thought processes, and the importance of touch and holding has been deemphasized. The body plays a role in repressing painful experiences, and these memories may become inscribed in the musculature. Parents unconsciously communicate their own unresolved issues to their children through their movement patterns. There are physiological mechanisms at work here, which we will discuss. I also describe how the stages of object: relations pertain.
Chapter three looks into some forms of body-oriented therapy which address emotional conflict. These approaches include dance-movement therapy, somatic-emotional processing, somatosynthesis, concretization in drama therapy, Mindeil's dreambody work, and body-oriented dream work theatre. currently there is a trend towards using the mind to help heal the body, (e.g._ mental imagery with cancer patients.) Here the focus is on the reverse process: how working with the body can enhance and deepen the therapy process, and perhaps begin to integrate body and psyche.
Burns, Mecca Antonia, "The Disinhabited Body: A Somatic View of Personality Development and Psychotherapy" (1992). Theses. 483.
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