When the body talks…

Dr. Maria Grazia Galletta – Psychologist and bioenergetics psychotherapist – Columbus Clinic Center

In our Western society, we see more and more that certain sensations and our taste for life are being lost. This is demonstrated by the increasing frequency of certain conditions such as panic attacks, anxiety, personal and professional dissatisfaction, problems with interpersonal and sexual relationships, uncertainty surrounding our sexual identity, and other forms of insecurity.

Among the therapies available, Bioenergetics psychotherapy stands out as an efficacious method to integrate body and mind, and help us in the best way possible to build an effective solution. Bioenergetics is a form of psychotherapy created by Alexander Lowen, an American psychiatrist and psychologist. It aims to achieve a healthy “Integration of Body and Mind” to help people find the energy they need to overcome their defence mechanisms and enjoy life. There is a direct link between our body language and the emotions we feel, and this can often be understood from how we move and how we express ourselves through particular behaviour patterns. If certain emotions are blocked, our energy is blocked, and this conditions the choices we make in life. Bioenergetics helps us to be in harmony with our own bodies and to lead as full a life as possible. It allows us to breathe, move, and be in touch with ourselves [in a state of ‘mindfulness’]. It encourages self-expression and allows us to have more energy.

It is important therefore to be aware of how a person gets energised and how that energy is spent, and to do this we must work on both of these aspects simultaneously. Particular attention must be paid to how people use their energy according to their past experiences. This combined approach gradually brings out the interior conflicts that prevent us exploiting our full energy potential. We have to remember that every internal conflict requires “energy”, and that it slows down and inhibits good body function, for example, in the throat, lowering our voice, provoking muscular tension in the neck, in the chest, in the eyes that appear dimmed like we would see in somebody who is depressed, or who seems to have lost the will to live. Each time an interior conflict is resolved, our personal energy levels increase, and we can see and perceive this for ourselves. This means that we can be more energised and then spend more energy in creative activities that we are going to enjoy and that are going to satisfy us.

In this way, we can create a process of growth through which we can recognise our own life force, sentiments and sensations; Lowen says that the primary nature of all human beings is to be open to life and love.

The work of the psychotherapist consists of individual sessions in the surgery and a group meeting in a gym. Here participants follow “Bioenergetics exercise classes” where they do physical exercises aimed at achieving greater wellbeing, self-awareness and psycho-physical health. The exercises are based on movement, breathing and relaxation. They provide a way to prevent stress and anxiety, and are directed at anyone who wants to live well in the present / achieve a state of ‘mindfulness’. The exercise classes, designed to achieve and maintain a constant balance of energy, and physical and mental wellbeing, can be followed on their own.