I have been a psychotherapist for 39 years, licensed in three states: California, Colorado and New Mexico, and have trained psychotherapists world-wide since 1986. My training Institutes are located in Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Israel. The IBP institutes in the US (as well as other countries mentioned) also use somatic psychotherapy, and supported yoga therapy.
The focus of my work is body/mind/spirit, using somatic psychotherapy and meditation. As a Developmental psychologist, I believe that we are influenced by events starting at conception and through the first three years of life (based on Object Relations theory).
In addition to my practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I am also a somatic psychotherapist, meditation teacher, supportive yoga therapy teacher and pre- and peri-natal psychologist.
About Integrative Body Psychotherapy
Body psychotherapy helps people deal with their concerns not only through talking, but also by helping people become deeply aware of their bodily sensations as well as their emotions, images and behavior. Clients become more conscious of how they breathe, move, speak, and where they experience feelings in their bodies. People seek body psychotherapy for the same reasons they seek talking or any form of psychotherapy (e.g., nxiety, depression, relationship problems, sexual difficulties), but also for physical problems (e.g., headaches, lower back pain).
All experiences, as well as distortions and denials of reality and other defensive maneuvers, are reflected not only in peoples' thoughts and feelings but also in the way they move, how they breathe and how the structure of their bodies has evolved over the years. To say that a person has his or her "feet on the ground," "leads with the chin," "has a stiff upper lip," or "their head in the clouds," are not mere figures of speech, but literal observations of the way our bodies express ourselves. How a person says something may be as important as what he or she says. Underlying this approach is the assumption that we are embodied beings and that there is a unity between the psychological and bodily aspects of being.
There are as many different approaches within Body Psychotherapy as there are within traditional psychotherapies. A wide variety of techniques may be used. These may include meditative techniques to help clients get in touch with their bodily sensations, emotionally expressive techniques (e.g. kicking, making sounds, reaching, moving away or towards another person, eye movements), responding to certain questions, movements to help clients become more aware of their bodies, ways to release and deepen breathing, touch where appropriate and agreed upon, and observations to help clients become more aware of what they are feeling and where in the body. Clients may work lying down, sitting or standing. These methods are used within the overriding importance of the relationship between the client and the therapist.
Body Psychotherapy evolved primarily from the work of Wilhelm Reich, originally a psychoanalyst and student of Freud. Reich later developed character analysis, which correlates certain psychological and physical patterns. Existential, humanistic and gestalt psychology, along with dance and movement therapy, family therapy, systems theory, biology, and Far Eastern philosophy, have also contributed to various body psychotherapy approaches. All take into account when problems began and how they affect a person's development over the years. All help the client to regain the healthy self-regulating function that has been disturbed.
More About Dr. Marjorie L. Rand
Marjorie L. Rand, Ph.D. is on the Board of directors of the Integrative Body Psychotherapy International Association and is the Co-Director of Pacific North West and Berlin Institutes of Integrative Body Psychotherapy.
"Body, Self and Soul: Sustaining Integration," published in 1985 and co-authored with Dr. Jack Lee Rosenberg, is a systematized accounting of the Integrative Body Psychotherapy and was listed one of the best books of the 80's by American Healers. From the interest stimulated by this book, the first IBP Training Institute was born.
Marjorie has been deeply influenced by Gestalt Therapy, Sensory Awareness, Neo-Reichian Therapy, Object Relations and Self Psychology. She has studied dance and movement, Feldenkrais, meditation and Zen as well as developmental psychology, neurology, anatomy and physiology. At present she is traveling around the world giving workshops, teaching and supervising others in the skills of Integrative Body Psychotherapy.
More About Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP)
Integrative Body Psychotherapy is a containment model focusing on the reconnection to the Self. The child comes into this world as a constellation of energy and suffers early trauma. Defensive layers are created in order to block out deeply etched pain. When the defensive layers become chronic due to repeated re-injury, these defenses become synonymous with the child's identity; the Self becomes, at best, temporarily lost.
The focus of IBP is not on breaking down these defenses; that only recreates the original pain of the child without promoting a healing. "To do a non-cathartic model ten or fifteen years ago was really quite radical," Marjorie stated. "Now I think everyone is going in that direction; the field of body psychotherapy is growing up."
(Marjorie's personal approach is more East-West, more Zen-like, a moment to moment experience. She does not know what will happen next in a session, and tries not to have expectations. "If you follow a theory or idea, then that is what you'll find happening.")
IBP is a Body Mind therapy which focuses on contact and establishing a safe and grounded presence. IBP defines the Self as a sense of well-being, identity and continuity which is experienced in the body. Awareness of self comes about through the client's own direct experiences of the body.
The healing journey begins when the client's sense of well-being and safety emerges in the psychotherapeutic sessions. Establishing safe boundaries and developing a therapeutic alliance.
The therapist helps the client to develop a awareness of what is going on in his/her own body. IBP uses a variety of physical movements called "self-release techniques" to bring about this awareness of the body blocks. Some of the self-release techniques which facilitate opening the blocks in the body involve bioenergetic stress positions, yoga posture, Feldenkrais techniques and acupressure points.
Through the self-release techniques and working with the breath, the Autonomic balance of the body is often changed, affecting the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system which are all interconnected. Marjorie speaks excitedly about the book "The Molecules of Emotion" by Candace Pert and eloquently pleads for more scientific research like this to support the field of body psychotherapy and to bring to it greater credentials and respect. Marjorie presented her work with Candace Pert at the Naropa Summer Symposium in June 1999.
Touch is used very judiciously. Rather, the clients are being touched energetically by the therapist's presence. IBP subscribes to the "less is more" theory and believes that a lot of touching is probably more for the therapist than for the client. The point is to empower the client, not to do it to or for the client, particularly if there are issues of abuse and invasion.
Peter Levine's phrase "titrating the trauma" describes how the IBP therapist works in the psychotherapeutic session. You touch the trauma, go to the edge of it...but stay present in the here and now. If the client goes into the trauma and loses contact with the therapist, with the present moment, that is re-traumatizing the client. The client can witness the past rather than to regress into the past. The witnessing of the inner child makes it possible for the client to feel a personal empathy, and allows some pleasure to seep through the defensive layers.
Healing takes place when the client can trace a pathway back to the primary trauma and stay present and grounded and in contact. When the client can experience the repressed feelings this way, she will experience energy flow and expansion within the body. This means a greater awareness and groundedness in one's experiences, past and present, and a renewed contact with the energy system as it connects with the body and consciousness. Marjorie says, "There are so many societal injunctions against pleasure, especially sexual pleasure, that we have learned to clamp down on our feelings". If the client can allow an experience of expansion, the session becomes a very spiritual encounter.
IBP places great emphasis on breath work. If a client can stay present with the breath, the sense of well being begins to develop. Controlling the breath is how the child controlled early feelings of pain. Having the client breathe into the areas of the body brings about awareness and relief. Defenses that were necessary to the child now only serve to separate the essence of the soul from the self.
The injury to the Self can be very primitive. It is often pre-verbal, pre-intellectual and possibly prenatal. Arising out of recent research in the field of prenatal psychology is the belief that trauma occurs in utero and certainly into the first years of development. This work with pre and perinatal influences is a part of the training at IBP and has sent Dr. Rand around the globe, meeting with pregnant women, mothers and their newborns, and families. If the mother is in a stressful emotional environment during pregnancy, the toxicity of her energy and bio chemistry may become imprinted on the fetus, and recorded cellularly in the child's body and consciousness. Trauma can be prevented, injuries can be lessened, and bonding with the infants increased when awareness is present in the mothers. Healing is done though mirroring, repatterning, and re-bonding, through creating a space for empathy, respect and safety and through establishing healthy boundaries.
Boundary work is a prominent part of the philosophy of IBP and is a part of every session. The boundary is the extension of the person's energy system, and represents how the individual makes contact with the world. Without boundaries, the self cannot exist. Boundaries define the self; defenses decrease the self. Through a deepening relationship with the therapist, the client experiences safety and a renewed bonding. Then there is no longer a need to isolate, or to lose one's self by merging.
Boundary work can be verbal, energetic, spatial or behavioral. The therapist may use string chalk to concretize the boundaries. This may indicate whether there are abandonment issues or invasion issues. The therapist, in an early session, might give the client the string and ask the client to place the boundary around him/herself. Then the therapist may place the string around the therapist. (There are many variations of this)
The client may respond to the string boundaries by feeling safer, or more separated, depending on the primary issue involved in the primary injury.
How far apart are the string boundaries?
Are they spacious or crowded?
Do they overlap?
What is the client feeling?
Do any memories or images arise?
Where in the body does this manifest?
What feels unsafe?
How can this be changed?
Boundary techniques are extremely effective in working with couples, as well as groups, as they immediately define the unspoken issues.
The most important part of being a sensitive body psychotherapist is continuing to do your own work. If therapist fails to do so, there is a danger of colluding with the client. It is necessary and imperative to stay in a surface position. Learning has to be from the inside out.
In fact, IBP is changing their training programs so that the first year will emphasize experiencing one's own body. It will focus on process work, with the theoretical coming later on. Advanced classes will teach developmental psychology, pre and peri-natal influences on the child, and working with couples and in groups.
The training course is a minimum of three years. In the past the training was open only to licenses psychotherapists. It has now been redesigned to include other health care practitioners.
There are 13 IBP Institutes in Canada, the West Coast, Europe and Israel.
Dr. Rand has written numerous articles, authored 3 books, and has been featured in a fourth:
“BS&S is one of the best books on body therapy of the 80’s.” – Marjorie Rand