bridging Spirituality, Bodywork and Psychotherapy
Essential Concepts, Descriptions and Definitions for bridging body-mind-spirit-soul.
created by Dirk Marivoet, MSc.
Absorption – A state of unself-conscious envelopment or immersion. See cathexis, ecstasy, enstasy, infusion.
Active imagination – A practice in Jungian psychology whereby imagery is deliberately engaged as though one were participating in one’s dreams while awake. It is used to bridge the gap between the conscious and unconscious minds. Active imagination can be achieved naturally during intense states of relaxation such as when listening to a story or drifting off to sleep.
Active coping – Finding some aspect of a stressor that one can do something about and formulating a plan of action to respond to it.
Active listening – A particular form of listening and a communication technique used in counselling, training and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties. See also Deep listening.
Adler, Alfred – An Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority, the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development. See life task
Affect – A feeling state becomes an affect when it is observable, for example, as overall demeanor or tone and modulation of voice. Affect is to be distinguished from mood, which refers to a pervasive and sustained emotion. Common examples of affect are euphoria, anger, and sadness.
Aggression – From Latin agere : to set in motion. Aggression denotes the ability to go after what one wants. Aggression is simply ‘moving toward’ something. It is the opposite of passive, which denotes a waiting for someone to fulfil the want. Aggression results from the flow of excitation into the muscular system, especially into the large muscles of the back, the legs and the arms. These muscles are involved in standing and moving. Aggression is also the force that enables us to meet, stand up to and handle stress. Anger can be distinguished from aggression in that anger aims at setting or protecting a limit. Aggression can be distorted, and one of these distortions can be violence. Violence, broadly defined, is imposing one’s will on another. More narrowly violence is harming another. The confusion of aggression with violence is a large part why aggression is distrusted. Another distortion of aggression is passive-aggression. Passive–aggressive behavior is characterized by a pattern of passive hostility and an avoidance of direct communication. See Anger
Alienation – A pervasive sense of being disconnected from the world. Primary expressions of alienation are deanimation of the self-representation, depersonalization of the body, and derealization of the world. Alienation is frequently associated with midlife transition. See deanimation, depersonalization, derealization.
Anima – Anima (Latin, “soul”). The unconscious, feminine side of a man’s personality. She is personified in dreams by images of women ranging from prostitute and seductress to spiritual guide (Wisdom). She is the eros principle, hence a man’s anima development is reflected in how he relates to women. Identification with the anima can appear as moodiness, effeminacy, and oversensitivity. Jung calls the anima the archetype of life itself. A personified representation (imago) of the undeveloped feminine potential in a man. See soul, animus, archetype, Jung
Animus – Animus (Latin, “spirit”). The unconscious, masculine side of a woman’s personality. He personifies the logos principle. Identification with the animus can cause a woman to become rigid, opinionated, and argumentative. More positively, he is the inner man who acts as a bridge between the woman’s ego and her own creative resources in the unconscious. A personified representation (imago) of the undeveloped masculine potential in a woman. According to Jung, romantic love results when a man or woman projects their anima or animus onto another, and then falls in love with their own reflection. Because this projection process is easily derailed when characteristics that don’t fit our ideal man or woman surface, we instinctively try to hide our true self, in order to maintain the attraction. See soul, Anima, Archetype, Jung
Anger – Anger is a creative emotion that is predominantly driven by the limbic system. Unlike the cerebral cortex which makes up our thinking, evaluative more rational part of the brain, the limbic system is emotional and reactive. Anger as a natural emotional response, plays a primary role in the reduction of emotional and physical distress. Children protest and become angry against environmental frustrations such as the denial by caregivers of their basic needs, boundaries being violated or connections being broken. The fight or flight response is part of this system. Anger as the fight part of the fight/flight system motivates fighting for survival. Fear equals the flight part. When anger is overtaken by fear or fright a person may exhibit gestures and impulses that indicate that they are about to direct their anger inwardly. For example, you may have your fist balled up and be preparing to strike in the direction of the attacker and it becomes apparent that the gesture has a tendency to move toward the self rather than toward the object. Anger in the context of spiritual development serves our higher self when we stand up for our truth and when we use it to fuel our passion to create. But when acted out, it serves to keep us out of connection with others. The idea of learning to deal with anger is to be able to use it productively. In therapy interactive expression is often used, enhanced by specialized role-playing, called accommodation that provides satisfaction of all emotions. The visceral concomitants of anger (as well as fear, joy, sadness or whatever), dancing on and in body surfaces is invited and allowed to be born in therapy as full motoric expression of conscious emotions. It is not the goal to walk around angry all the time. Regular work with anger is therefore part of a continued purification process in personal development and self-actualization. See higher self, aggression.
Antidote – The healing (antidotal) interaction provided by the ideal figures to counter the toxic effects of the negative history experienced with the original historic figures. The antidote usually provides directly opposite or contrasting elements found in the negative event. For instance, if the original parents were alcoholic, then the ideal parents would be sober; if the originals were abusive, the ideals would be respectful and loving, etc. Antidotal interactions are part of building a new synthetic memory in the brain. See synthetic memory
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – The autonomic nervous system is a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. It contains three anatomically distinct divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric. See polyvagal theory, armor.
Anxiety – An emotional experience which may be felt in a situation which at once contains the promise of pleasure coupled with a threat of pain. Anxiety is an emotional perception of the organism as it is constricted by a contraction against expansion. Anxiety needs to be distinguished from fear, even though they are closely related. Although both are alerting signals, they appear to prepare the body for different actions. Anxiety is a generalized response to an unknown threat or internal conflict, whereas fear is focused on known external danger. Thus, fear is anxiety that is attached to a specific thing or circumstance. Anxiety is seen as a diffuse, a kind of unfocused, objectless, future-oriented fear. See Fear
Archetype. C. G. Jung’s term for inherited patterns of imaginal projection. Jung described archetypes as primordial images that have existed from the remotest times, but images that lack clear content. Jung recognized two basic layers in the unconscious—the personal unconscious, whose contents are derived from present lifetime experience, and the collective unconscious, whose contents are inherited and essentially universal within the species. The collective unconscious consists of archetypes. Their specific content as realized images is supplied by the material of conscious experience. Thus, the archetype as such is an empty form that must be inferred, or derived by abstraction, from a class of experienced images or symbols. Symbolically represented as the stereotyped characters of myth, fable, and literature. The archetypes to which Jung devoted the greatest amount of attention in his writings include the shadow, the anima and animus, the wise old man, the magna mater (or great earth mother), the child, and the self (Jung, 1968). In Bodymind Integration, Jung’s theory of archetypes is adopted generally but applied sparingly. Only a few archetypes are addressed. See Dynamic Ground, Great Mother, nonegoic potentials, shadow, animus, anima.
Armor – Armor, as the concept formulated by Wilhelm Reich, is a medical, not a metaphorical or philosophical concept. It is the total pattern of chronic muscular tension in the body as a defense against the breakthrough of emotions, movements and vegetative (autonomic) sensations, especially anxiety, rage, and sexual excitation. The term is functional identical with character armor. With armor in place, the conscious control no longer has to actively defend against certain impulses or desires. As tenacious as psychological defenses tend to be, they can still slip or be overwhelmed at times, but armor tends to be ‘always on.’ “The armor is comprised of those organs and muscle groups which have functional contact with each other and which are capable of accompanying each other in emotional expressive movement” (Reich, Character Analysis). It involves the ANS, usually but not always the sympathetic branch. Since the ANS regulates vascular tone and blood flow, the tone of the ANS affects every organ of the body, including the brain. This is just one illustration of the profound effects of ANS tone, and has obvious physiological and medical implications. See Character Armor. ANS, Reich
Armoring: Armoring may be divided into natural or temporary muscular contraction and permanent or chronic contraction. The former occurs in any living animal when it is threatened, but is given up when the threat is no longer present. The latter originates in the same manner, but because of continued threats is maintained and becomes chronic, reacting eventually to permanent inner rather than environmental dangers. (Elsworth Baker, Man in the Trap, 1967). Armoring alters the energy economy of the body. It functions to bind energy or to resist flow of energy, thereby lowering the natural pulsation and decreasing the overall life force of the organism. See emotions, character armoring
Association(s). Experienc(es) that come to mind, including memories and fantasies, that link emotionally to the topic under discussion. That topic may be a symptom or a pathological character trait. A spontaneous flow of interconnected thoughts and images around a specific idea, determined by unconscious connections.
Attunement. Alignment of the therapist and clients’ emotional states so that each can experience the other’s subjective world. This permits the sense of emotional communication and connection often described as “being together” and “feeling felt.” The nonverbal signs of eye contact, body gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice communicate the state of mind of each member of a dyad through the orbitofrontal cerebral cortex. Neurophysiological mechanisms use these stimuli to integrate several domains of the human experience, including emotional regulation, response flexibility, consciousness, social relationships, and the evaluation of meaning. Misattunements lead to emotional dysregulation, which require “interactive repair” through a sufficient number of beneficial interpersonal experiences for the person to achieve or regain emotional regulation.
Awareness – ‘Aware‘ stems from the Anglo-Saxon ‘gewaer’ (11th century) which meant something like ‘being informed’, ‘to know’ from the 13th century onwards. The original meaning of awareness relates to the having of experiences, the experiencing itself. Consciousness can be seen a specific form of awareness. The etymologic origin of ‘consciousness’ is composed of the Latin words ‘cum and sciere’ and could be translated as ‘to know ABOUT’, which points to some reflexive properties of consciousness, that is to the considering of experiences. Daniel Stern’s in The Present Moment (2004, pp 112-121), develops the concepts of “Explicit” and “Implicit” consciousness. “Explicit” consciousness refers to the dimension of consciousness that is clear and lucid. Awareness, to most of us, means explicit conscious awareness, light, and clarity. “Implicit” consciousness, in contrast, is vague, subtle, difficult to define and intuitive. Newborns are prone to lapse into disengaged, inwardly absorbed states when attention-commanding stimuli disappear from awareness. They can be seen as ‘subconscious” or “subaware”. Newborns certainly have no awareness of an independently existing external world. From vagueness and cognitive dormancy, they struggle to focus their attention on their experience passing through the developmental stages towards maturity. The Gestalt model of consciousness – figure and background – helps us conceptualize how an integration of perception, thought, emotions, memory and action strategies happen as sequence of becoming aware and finally conscious. That which is not uppermost – only vaguely – in awareness (implicit consciousness), provides the context and is the source from which figures (clearly and lucidly) emerge and become prominent in awareness (explicit consciousness). Since our experience is a process partly made up of conflict, our focus in never immediately sharp.
To construct a simile, a fish swimming in a crater lake of a dormant volcano has no explicit conscious awareness of the prodigious energy that lies dormant beneath the floor of the lake, and it has no explicit awareness even of the water in which it swims. The water in which the fish swims is a transparent medium, not an object of which the fish is aware. The fish swims through the water and sees things in the water but does not—or only rarely, when the water is turbulent—notice the water itself (as explicit). See Gestalt, Consciousness
Background – As distinguished in Gestalt from figure or foreground, that which is not uppermost in awareness. Provides the context and is the source from which figures emerge and become prominent in awareness. See Gestalt, Awareness
Basic Needs – According to Al & Diane Pesso, people have five basic emotional needs: place, nurturance (oral/tactile), support, protection, and limits. Basic needs must be satisfied by parents during childhood in order for a child’s ego to develop and for the child to be and become his or her true self.
- Place – The provision to a child of a literal and then psychological/metaphoric place in the body of the mother, then lives, hearts and minds of both parents. This is first provided by the uterus, then after birth by the arms of the parents and rooms available in the homes of the parents. In later years this translates into psychological spaces such as the heart and minds of the parents. The provision of place recognizes the value of the child in having a right to live in the world as the child actually is. It implies the child being “seen” and valued for what it is and not over-run as if it were not present.
- Nurturance – The act of caring for those infant needs that literally sustain life – such as nursing, feeding, grooming, washing, petting, caressing, etc. In later years this translates or transposes into symbolic feeding and grooming in a way that psychologically sustains life – such as giving “strokes”, valuing, appreciating, admiring, etc. See nurturing breath
- Support – The act of supporting and carrying about an infant too young to hold itself upright and move about. The arms and laps of the parents provide this support. In later years this translates into psychological support, as in “backing” up, or standing behind”, etc.
- Protection – The act of defending the soft vulnerability of an infant against physical injury by parents providing the hard shield of their own bodies between the infant and possible contact or impact with hard or dangerous surfaces. In later years this translates into psychological defense or protection, as in blocking verbal or psychological injury.
- (Loving) Limits – The act of physically restraining or constraining the infant or older child from doing damage to itself, others or valuable objects. In later years this translates into verbal or psychological limits. See boundaries
Being-in-the-World – Heidegger’s term for human existence. This existence is supposed to be oriented towards more growth and meaning. The being is meant to become a state rather than just an activity, while the world in human life means more than just the environment or the objective occurrence of mere things.
Belief – One’s basic understandings of oneself, one’s world, and other people.
Bioenergetic Analysis – A system of psychotherapy developed by Alexander Lowen and John C. Pierrakos. The therapy integrates physical work with psychoanalytic techniques. See Core Energetics
Bioenergetics – The commonly used name for the body of theory and system of exercises developed by Alexander Lowen and John C. Pierrakos. Bioenergetics is one type of psychotherapy in which the personality is studied in terms of the energetic processes of the body. The goal is to help people regain their primary nature, which is the condition of being free, the state of being graceful. See freedom, Reich
Bioenergetic Theory – Bioenergetic theory deals directly with the human personality in terms of feeling and expression. The theory becomes the framework for a group of techniques which are oriented toward working out inhibiting blocks which undermine the person’s capacity for feeling and expression.
Bioenergy – The energy in the living organism which provides the ability for functioning. See Energy.
Bliss – The natural state of a unified being in harmony with itself and the universe.
Block(s): A block in Reichian terms is a defense pattern developed in response to a perceived threat or traumatic experience. Examples of blocks: contracted muscles, cold spots in the body, places where the skin is very pale, constricted parts in your body, parts where there is a lot of fat, twists, etc. Blocks are places in the body that resist energy and flow of energy, holding back unresolved feelings which resist becoming conscious and resist change. When pressure is put on blocks through a charging activity, feelings held in the block can become available and conscious. See armor
Body ego – The body-identified ego of the preoedipal child who has not yet discovered private psychic space (prepersonal body ego). The body ego is to be distinguished from the mental ego. See mental ego
Bodymind – Refers to “Being a body” : Body and mind are functionally identical systems (a bodymind). In this sense the term refers to the inseparable unity and synergy [functional identity] between body & mind in a person. Wilhelm Reich emphasized the holistic aspect of this philosophy: “My present theory of the identity and unity of psycho-physical functioning originated in Bergsonian thinking, and has become a new theory of the functional relationship between body and mind” (Reich, 1942/1973, pp. 23-24). Consequently, character armoring is therefore to be seen as functionally identical with muscular [hypertension]. Reich says: “The concept, “functional identity,” which I had to introduce means nothing more than that muscular attitudes and character attitudes have the same function in the psychic mechanism: they can replace one another and can be influenced by one another. Basically, they cannot be separated. They are identical in their function.” (Reich, 1973, pp. 270–271). Alfred Adler describes this psychophysical unity in a similar way: “The findings of individual psychology point to the fact that a persons’ behavioral forms all fall into a whole and that they are an expression of the lifestyle of that individual. The so-called conscious and the unconscious are not contradictory but form a single entity” (Adler, 1929d, p.87).
Body-Mind – Refers to “Having a body” – Body and mind are seen as two systems, which complement one another (body – mind).
Body Reading – Body Reading in body psychotherapy is based on the concept that structure is frozen function. What this means is that a person’s physical structure is a reflection of his psycho-biological history and his current psycho-biological functioning. Think of a physical structure molded by the experiences of life. That is a continuous process, in which the body structure evolves with the experiences in interaction with the physical and social worlds that intervene. Body structure can be seen as a frozen conversation or dialogue between conflicting parts of the self. The conversation was frozen because one part had gained the upper hand, and a balance disturbed in the direction of fragility or or a burdened. What was once an active struggle between individual and environment, and then between parts of the self, became institutionalized in physical behavior and structure. There exist different forms of body reading : with or without a typology. See character structure
Body Schema – The set of enduring dispositions and capacities responsible for our intuitive sense of bodily position and possibility (not to be confused with body image).
Bogginess – A tissue texture abnormality characterized by a palpable sense of sponginess in the tissue, interpreted as resulting from congestion caused by increased fluid content.
Boundaries – Energetic limits between a person’s Core self and the environment. Healthy Boundaries allow us to be energetically separate from the world yet be in harmonious interaction with it. Healthy boundaries are flexible and strong. They allow us to come close when we can and stay distant when the energy is too much. Unhealthy Boundaries are rigid, weak or brittle. Person feels at the mercy of others, victimized, too flexible. Has a difficult balance in giving and receiving. See basic needs
Breaks – are places on the body, usually at joints, where one may see a “break” in the flow of energy. An example of this would be if someone has extremely thin, weak looking ankles in comparison to the rest of their leg. This could indicate a “break” in the flow of energy from the body to the ground, leaving the person more likely to experience feeling ungrounded. See ungrounded, grounding
Catharsis – The word catharsis is derived from the Greek word Katharsis which is translated as ‘cleansing’ or ‘purification’. Most of the definitions emphasize two essential components of catharsis: the emotional aspect (strong emotional expression and processing) and the cognitive aspect of catharsis (insight, new realization, and the unconscious becoming consciousness) and as a result – positive change. In Aristotle’s “Poetics”, it meant the emotional release and cleansing that spectators experience during and after watching a tragedy, which has a corrective and healing effect. The fact that there existed those who could suffer a worse fate than them was to them a relief, and at the end of the play, they felt ekstasis (literally, astonishment), from which the modern word exstasis and ecstacy are derived. The concept of catharsis has been widely used in modern psychotherapy, starting with Breuer and Freud. The term catharsis has been adopted to describe the act of expressing, or more accurately, experiencing the deep emotions often associated with repressed memories of traumatic events in the individual’s past which had originally been adequately addressed or experienced due to defense mechanisms such as repression or denial. Some modern therapeutic modalities emphasize the value of expression of repressed emotions and use catharsis as the essential tool for the positive therapeutic change. While the supporters of cognitive-behavioral approaches dominate the field of psychology, most of the contemporary schools underestimate the importance of catharsis. They consider affect regulation as the primary goal, therefore leaving full emotional release in the periphery or often perceiving it as a negative direction. The complexity of phenomenon of catharsis (it is not just ‘venting anger’) involves experiencing repressed emotional traumas within safe and supportive environment, involving emotional discharge, as well as appropriate cognitive processing and insight. See purification
Cathexis – English translation of Besetzung, Freud’s term for the investment of psychic energy in an object (idea, image, etc.). A cathexis, in charging an object with energy, makes the object a salient if not compelling attractor of consciousness. A distinction can be made between object and energy cathexes: whereas an object cathexis is an investment of consciousness-attracting energy in an object, an energy cathexis is a concentration (a massing or pooling) of consciousness-attracting energy without a targeted object. Both object and energy cathexes attract consciousness and can absorb the ego. See absorption, countercathexis, ecstasy, enstasy, infusion.
Centering – The idea of a centre is both metaphorical and literal, referring equally to a centre of the self and a centre of the body. This centre is generally understood to be in the viscera and the nerve plexi of the guts. According to David Boadella, a body psychotherapist, the therapeutic work of centering is concerned with re-establishing a functioning rhythm in the flow of metabolic energy and the balance between the two halves of the vegetative [autonomic] nervous system. In practice this means to help towards recovering emotional balance and harmonious breathing. According to Charles Kelley, centering is an inward movement, first of all away from all demands, responsibilities and needs of the outer world. It is a concentration process, a focussing towards the inner world, the inner self. Your center is the place where your inner strength comes from.
Charge – The bioenergetic view is that energy builds up (charges) and is discharged in the body constantly. When it becomes impossible to charge any longer, discharge happens spontaneously. Based on a mechanical model of energy and on an economic model of supply and demand, the term “Energy Economy” connotes the balance between energetic charge and discharge in an organism. As in market economy, it is important for the organism that there is a balance in how much energy comes into the body and how much energy is lost. “Charge” describes the energetic load of the healthy organism.“Discharge” is the successful release of charge. Charging the organism energetically happens by activating muscular contraction, like certain forms of hitting, kicking, jumping, shaking, forced breathing. Charging techniques deepen the breathing and facilitate the intake of energy. It is necessary to charge the system in order to have energy to discharge or build more charge. An See discharge, energy economy, energetic cycle
Character – A fixed pattern of behavior, the typical way an individual handles his striving for pleasure, or habitual behavior.
Character analysis – Originally a modification of the traditional Freudian psychoanalytic technique, which was introduced by Wilhelm Reich, MD (medical doctor). He put defense mechanisms in the center of analysis and not the symptoms and the disclosure of their unconscious content. Instead of symptom analysis, Reich expanded resistance analysis into the more inclusive technique of character analysis, in which the sum total of typical character attitudes developed by an individual as a blocking against emotional excitations became the object of treatment. The discovery of muscular armoring, however, lead gradually to the development of a new technique, called characteranalytic vegetotherapy. See character attitude, vegetotherapy, posture, Wilhelm Reich
Character Attitude – “By ‘character attitude’ we mean the total expression of the organism. This is literally identical with the total impression which the organism makes on us.” (Wilhelm Reich, 1942, The Function of the Orgasm, New York: Noonday Press, pages 363-364). see posture
Character Structure – The individual’s character which is structured in his body in the form of chronic and generally unconscious muscular tensions that block impulses to reach out, grow or change significantly. Character structure is also a psychic attitude which is buttressed by a system of denials, rationalizations and projections and geared to an ego ideal that affirms its value.
Character Styles – The 5 classical character styles as described by Alexander Lowen and John C. Pierrakos.
- The Schizoid Character style is usually described as a personality that has a good deal of anxiety and often has difficulty knowing how they feel. Their most common defense in stressful situations is to dissociate or to withdraw. They often are disconnected from their feelings and cannot identify how they feel. They can have difficulty sustaining social contact for long periods and can have issues trusting others. They often experience a great deal of fear about social interactions and can use intellectual abilities to keep themselves in contact with others without really having to make connections on a true emotional level. On an energetic level they tend to be undercharged and ungrounded.
- The Oral Character style is usually described as a personality that has issues with needs. They may have a fear of not getting their needs met or of being abandoned. Sometimes they overcompensate for these fears by denying they have needs of any kind.
- The Psychopathic Character style is usually described as a personality with a great deal of self-will and determination. This person experienced one or both of their parents as needing them to be more than they actually were able to be as a child. So they are generally competitive and high achievers. They have a strong drive to win or dominate the situation and can sometimes appear aggressive or controlling. They may have difficulty having true empathy yet they are often quite charming and popular with others. Energetically people with this character style have a great deal of energy than can become overcharged in the upper part of the body.
- The Masochistic Character style is usually described as a personality that was forced to submit to the will of the parents during their “terrible twos” in a fashion that was overbearing and ultimately left the toddler feeling defeated and humiliated. As adults they continue to submit, and will appear to be trying to please, but underneath they are holding resentment. They can seem compliant, but will be negative, passive-aggressive or undermining to assert some modicum of resistance to compliance. They long to freely express themselves, but hold back out of fear of humiliation. This holding back leads to spite and they are generally seen by others as “complainers”. Energetically this person usually holds in their energy and can become overcharged. This is typically a person who needs to discharge but resists this need.
- The Rigid Character Style is described as the personality that puts a high priority on appearance: to others and himself. Success, attractiveness, competence and control are how this person tends to measure themselves and others. This personality can have streaks of perfectionism, or in extreme cases Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies. They put a great deal of their energy into trying to never make a mistake. This is usually a person that functions well in our Western society and appears to have a great deal of social savvy. Of the five character styles, this is the personality with the most integration of their energy. They are perceived as having good energy although they may seem restrained. They generally split their energy, keeping the energy in the upper body (heart and head) separate from the energy in the lower half of the body (pelvis and legs).
Character types – “Character types are differentiated psychologically by their ego structure, by their attitude towards reality. Bio energetically, they may be differentiated by their genital function. The Oral and Masochistic characters are pregenital types: their contact with genitality is insecure, their attitude towards reality is infantile or childish. Both are unarmored structures.
Accordingly, we must group in one category all character forms which are grounded in genitality, more or less armored, more or less in relation to reality. To the degree that a genital character structure is neurotic, the neurosis will manifest itself as rigidity psychologically as well as somatically.
The genital problem is different for the boy and for the girl. While the basic disturbance caused by rigidity affects the function of each sex similarly, the manifest pattern of behavior will differ according to the sex.” Alexander Lowen. See Character Structure, Character Styles
Chronic muscular tension – The condition of the body maintained through the interaction of the central nervous system and the muscular glandular system processes. Some physical movement may be forbidden in the environment of an individual. The individual may therefore voluntarily inhibit his muscular movement. However if the forbidden expression must be inhibited indefinitely, conscious control over the muscle is relinquished to unconscious control. The muscle or muscles remain constantly contracted. They lack the energy for expansion and relaxation. CMT prevents full, natural respiration and de creases the organism’s energy level. See Armor
Chronic pain – Over 6 months, the original nociceptive cause can no longer explain the duration or severity of the pain.
Clarification – Technique for gaining clearer understanding of the meaning of a patient’s conscious (manifest) behavior and experience.
CNS – Central nervous system. The CNS includes the brain, spine, autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.) It functions in coordination with the body’s MGS, and is involved in the body’s sensory, cognitive, and affective perception and behavior.
Collapse – Refers to the experience when someone collapses into a state of low energy. It is an energetic caving-in on ourselves from an inability to tolerate the level of charge in the body and the feelings experienced. This is expressed posturally, positionally, (as we lose our uprightness relative to gravity), closing the spaces in the body cavities, diminishing the breath and quantity of energy in the body. This dampens down the feelings. With this is a loss of the sense of our strength and agency. Collapse is also an inability to contain and a lack of being grounded in reality. It can look like giving up, being depressed or falling apart emotionally. It is often accompanied by being in a younger ego-state. Collapsing happens in an attempt by the organism to return to the level of charge to which they are accustomed. See posture, energy, containment, grounding, ego
Collective unconscious – C. G. Jung’s term for the deepest level of the unconscious, lying beneath the personal level. The collective unconscious is inherited rather than biographical, universal rather than specific to any person. See Dynamic Ground, unconscious.
Compensation – A tendency to make up for underdevelopment of physical or mental functioning through interest and training, usually within a relatively normal range of development. Overcompensation reflects a more powerful impulse to gain an extra margin of development, frequently beyond the normal range. This may take a useful direction toward exceptional achievement or a useless direction toward excessive perfectionism. Genius may result from extraordinary overcompensation. Undercompensation reflects a less active, even passive attitude toward development that usually places excessive expectations and demands on other people.
Complex – An emotionally charged group of ideas or images. At the “center” of a complex is an archetype or archetypal image. See archetype
Confidentiality – The ethical (and often legal) requirement to restrict disclosure of client information outside the therapy sessions.
Conflict – The experience of opposed emotional forces causing anxiety and generating symptoms and pathological personality traits. It refers either to psychic conflict, which is a struggle between incompatible or opposing forces within the mind or external conflict. Psychic conflict may be between incompatible wishes (e.g., the child’s wish to please a parent and his wish to be in control) or between different psychic structures or aspects of the mind (e.g., a wish to make a mess might be opposed by the individual’s conscience that upholds values of cleanliness and order). Sometimes psychic conflict may become externalized in the individual’s effort to avoid anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings. In this situation a conflict that originates within the individual is experienced as originating from outside forces (e.g., the adolescent who is ambivalent about his sexual wishes may experience himself as unconflicted by imagining that his parent is opposed to his developing sexuality). External conflict describes essential conflicts that arise between the individual and aspects of the outer world, when there are incapacities in either the individual or the environment to meet the other’s needs and expectations.
Confrontation – Technique of directing a patient’s attention to inner experiences or perceptions of outer reality of which he or she is conscious or is about to be made conscious.
Consciousness – That which I am aware that I am aware of. Consciousness always includes awareness, but awareness does not have to include consciousness. Daniel Stern’s in The Present Moment (2004, pp 112-121), develops the concepts of “explicit” and “implicit.” “Explicit” consciousness refers to the dimension of consciousness that is clear and lucid. “Implicit” consciousness, in contrast, is vague, subtle, difficult to define and intuitive. See Awareness
Consciousness-raising – Activities that increase awareness about how oppressions such as sexism, racism, heterosexism, and ageism influence the lives of individuals.
Contact – a) The experience at the self/environment boundary that leads to assimilation and growth. Good quality contact involves awareness and excitement. b) The perception of sensation produced by movement of energy above a certain minimal level plus excitation. See ego, awareness, energy
Contact boundary – The dynamic relationship at the meeting point of self/other, or self/environment. Where experience occurs, and the focus of therapeutic intervention. See ego, therapeutic relationship, self
Containment – Is the ability to hold & sustain a considerable level of energetic charge in the body. TO CONTAIN…means to be able to tolerate and hold within us the discomfort of certain feelings, without collapsing, acting-out in reaction, defending, or denying. The ability to hold energy is in relation to the holding capacity of the organism. It is related to muscular flexibility and one’s ability to sustain charge and other factors. The human “container” is depending on the person’s character foundation, which decides consciousness, how grounded and how integrated a person is and thus how much energy may run through the person without creating disturbance. With proper containment, a person can enjoy a strong sense of oneself, has healthy, flexible boundaries, does not need to project strong feelings away from him/herself, does not need muscular armoring and has the physical ability to fully contract and expand. See collapsing, acting-out, defense, energy, character, boundaries, armor
Core – In Wilhelm Reich’s terms, the vegetative nervous system from which involuntary stimuli arise to maintain functioning of the organism. In Core Energetics (founded by John & Eva Pierrakos), the Core is understood as Higher Self – the center of right energy – containing soul qualities like power, love and serenity/wisdom. See Pierrakos, Reich, Core Energetics, Core Strokes
Core Energetics – Core Energetics developed by the late Dr. John Pierrakos MD, a former student of Wilhelm Reich is often identified as an evolutionary therapy and an approach that bridges body psychotherapy with spirituality. An outgrowth of bioenergetics, co-founded by Pierrakos and A. Lowen, Core Energetics emerged from Pierrakos’ vision that sought to integrate not only mind, body, emotions and will, but also the transpersonal dimension of the human being at a time when spirituality was often frowned upon in therapeutic circles. See bioenergetics
Core space – The area of the body where there is unimpeded pulsation, i.e., where the system is unarmored. It is from this core space that energy expands outward into the rest of the body. , ANS, pulsation, armoring
Core of psyche – See psychic core.
Core Strokes – A comprehensive evolutionary process bridging psychotherapy, spirituality and bodywork in the service of self-development, developed by Dirk Marivoet, MSc. after 35 years of experience in psychotherapy, psychomotor therapy, spirituality, shamanism and bodywork. It works within a relational alliance in order to connect with and ground in the Core (Center of Right Energy) Essence.
Cycle of Becoming – Energy->Action->Interaction->Meaning – The four major steps which constitute the way we ideally process the emotional experiences that happen to us. In the first step (Energy), we have an emotional feeling and body response to the experience. Second (Action), we express our feelings. Third (Interaction), we interact with the type of people toward whom the emotion seeks to be expressed. Fourth (Meaning), we create a conscious and/or unconscious prediction model regarding how to anticipate and handle similar situations in the future.
Dasein (“being-there”) – Heidegger’s term to refer to the experience of being that is peculiar to human beings. Thus it is a form of being that is aware of and must confront such issues as personhood, mortality and the dilemma or paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself. Dasein, being-there, or being-in-the-world implies an involvement in the world. The world and the human being are co-constituted. The world itself consists of relationships among entities which, in turn, are only defined by their interrelationships.
Deanimation – The loss of the sense of lived, authentic selfhood. Deanimation can occur during any developmental stage but is most characteristic of transitional stages, such as adolescence and midlife transition. See alienation, depersonalization, derealization.
Deep listening – Deep Listening involves listening, from a deep, receptive, and caring place in oneself, to deeper and often subtler levels of meaning and intention in the other person. It is listening that is generous, empathic, supportive, accurate, and trusting. Trust here does not imply agreement, but the trust that whatever others say, regardless of how well or poorly it is said, comes from something true in their experience. Deep Listening is an ongoing practice of suspending self-oriented, reactive thinking and opening one’s awareness to the unknown and unexpected. It calls on a special quality of attention that poet John Keats called negative capability. Keats defined this as “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” See active listening
Deep psyche – Term used to refer to the Dynamic Ground as psychic core, the seat of nonegoic potentials and the deepest level of the unconscious. See collective unconscious, Dynamic Ground, nonegoic potentials, psychic core, unconscious.
Deep unconscious – See deep psyche.
Defense mechanisms – The automatic, complex, and largely unconscious operations (e.g., repression, displacement, reaction formation, projection, etc.) used by the ego as a means of protection against internal (e.g., unacceptable wishes) or external (e.g., events, such as a loss, that elicit anxiety or painful affects) danger situations, aiming at the adaptive restoration of equilibrium. See ego
Defensive behaviors – Behaviors that people use to cope with an activity about which they do not feel confident and that limit the proficiency and/or flexibility of performance.
Defensive Structures – The name for a variety of muscular or psychological attitudes which may exist in the body. They may be originally shaped and maintained unconsciously. They represent means of self-protection against a real or imagined threat.
Depersonalization – The sense of being alienated from one’s experience. In Bodymind Integration, depersonalization is used primarily to describe the sense of being alienated from one’s body and the corresponding perception of the body as a mere thing. Depersonalization— along with deanimation and derealization—belongs to a group of existential difficulties that can emerge at midlife. See alienation, deanimation, derealization.
Derealization – The sense that the world is remote and unreal. A derealized world seems dead and flat, arid and devoid of positive and negative values. Derealization— along with deanimation and depersonalization—belongs to a group of existential difficulties that can emerge at midlife. See alienation, deanimation, depersonalization, life-world.
Diaphragm – Term used to describe any of several large muscles, found in humans and other mammals, which separate two adjacent regions of the body. The most commonly known muscle of this class is the thoraco-abdominal diaphragm. In humans, the thoraco-abdominal diaphragm acts as a partition between the cavity of the chest and that of the abdomen. The chief muscle used in respiration, it is relaxed and dome-shaped during exhalation. During inhalation it contracts, pulling downward, and with the combined contraction of the chest muscles allows the chest cavity to expand. Other diaphragms in the human body include the pelvic diaphragm and the urogenital diaphragm, which use similar muscular contractions and expansions in their respective functions. A “structure” which we empirically experience as a diaphragm may or may not exist purely anatomically. See Somatic Centering, Pelvic Release
Diaphragmatic breathing – Paced breathing exercises used in panic control treatment to counter hyperventilation and physiologic hyperarousal.
Discharge – refers to releasing built up energy from the body. Charged energy releases into the body, carrying tension and feelings that were held. Results in muscular expansion, involuntary movement often manifesting in the form of vibrations allowing for release of feelings and integration of energy (body, mind, emotions and spirit). The energy flows towards the periphery (away from the center). See charge, vibration
Dreamwork – The work of the dream mechanisms that disguise or distort the content of the dream in line with the dream censorship and transform the latent content emerging from the Dynamic Ground into the manifest content. See Dynamic Ground
Drive – the word translates the German “Trieb” because it is closer to “impulse”, “urge”, than “instinct”. A drive, in psychoanalysis, is a psychic tendency which assumes a biological source, an object of discharge, and a specific charge. Generally speaking, drives are linked with the sexual needs. Two drives were postulated by Freud—sexual and aggressive. These were the major factors motivating the operation of the mind in his topographic model. They continue to be considered important but not the only motivating factors by modern psychoanalysts. See aggression, sexuality, topographic model
Dualism – Descartes’s view that the mind and body are distinct substances.
Dynamic Ground – frequently shortened to Ground – Michael Washburn’s term designating the deep core of the psyche and seat of nonegoic psychic potentials. The Dynamic Ground is the seat of the deepest level of the unconscious, the inherited or collective unconscious. Nature of the Ground is inherently unconscious in the sense that its roots extend into neurological structures lying beneath the limits of possible experience. To use a term introduced by C. G. Jung, the Dynamic Ground is for this reason a psychoid unconscious, an underlying depth that reaches beneath the limits of the psyche into nonpsychic, physical strata. The Dynamic Ground is also the collective unconscious. It is accurately described in this way because it is a source of experience that is inherited and common to all members of the species rather than a psychic formation created as a consequence of the experience of a single person (In this sense one can say it is genetic). If the Dynamic Ground is inherently the psychoid unconscious, it is also the deepest level of the repressed unconscious; for early in life the process of primal repression submerges the Dynamic Ground, significantly weakening the expression of its plenipotent nonegoic potentials and arresting it at a prepersonal level of expression. It is a reorganization, therefore, that quietens and reduces – but not entirely deactivates – the power of the Ground to assume the formation of instinctual drives, instinctually organized potential energy: “sleeping” libido, the latent energy of the id as described by classical psychoanalysis. The power of the Ground is now separated into two markedly different energies: latent instinctual libido, as the potential energy of the id on the one hand and active psychic energy, as the energy of conscious processes on the other : the ego, the center of consciousness and executor of ego functions – first as body ego and later as mental ego. In a later stage after primal separation, which is the act by which the child withdraws from radical intimacy with the caregiver – the tripartite structure of id, ego, and superego are consolidated at the personal level in the period of transition from the oedipal stage to the stage of latency (five or six years of age). Although the tripartite division of the psyche is a fixture of life as we know it, it is not the original or a necessary organization of the psyche See ego, ego functions, nonegoic potentials, psychic core, psychoid unconscious, unconscious.
Ecstasy – State of euphoric infusive dissolution: rapture, transport. “Ecstasy is a feeling that comes only when the heart is tuned to that pitch of love which melts it, which makes it tender, which gives it gentleness, which makes it humble.” -Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Sufi Message; See enstasy, infusion.
Effectiveness – The degree to which a treatment produces positive outcomes in the context in which treatment most often is sought (i.e., “real world”).
Ego – The Psychological boundaries of a person (skin of the self) created through interactions with significant others. In the first years of life ego formation is largely a matter of the baby’s brain internalising the already developed ego of the parents. The ego is comprised of perhaps hundreds of thousands of memory bits of energy — action — interaction — meanings sequences that guide our behaviour in the world. It is primarily a collection of affect regulation programs that guide our behaviors in our day-to-day living. It is a guardian of consciousness and energy.The ego is the mediator between the inner and outer reality of a human being. It entails the consciousness of self and the intention of self. The ego—also called the nuclear ego—is the executor of ego functions (which include self preservation, perception, motility, learning, memory, cognition, language, reality testing, and the synthetic function). It “decides” what to let in and what to put out in terms of historical learning and patterns. It attempts to define and assess reality. It “chooses” what is manifested as the “I.” It is conditioned by cultural and historic events. It works with symbols and abstractions. Source of consciousness. It is the psychological organ which makes differentiations such as: self and other, reality and fantasy, dream and awake, etc. It is the entirety of our learned, or mapped, emotional representations of how to survive and thrive in the world. These mappings are implicitly learned and stored as specific procedural memories called emotions. Ideally, the ego serves the Core, supporting the person to express its unique potential according to its life plan and to love. Thus the full strength and power of the Core are unfolded. Unlike the soul, we are not born with an ego, merely, we are born with the possibility of an ego. Ego is created in our lifetime while the soul has an evolutionary component.
The ego is the basis of the larger ego system. It is the ego, as nuclear ego, that “has” a self-representation, ego ideal, and superego. The ego is to be distinguished from the Dynamic Ground, the deep core of the psyche and seat of nonegoic potentials. The healthy, strong ego is able to step aside and surrender to life according to the Core´s creativity. A person with a healthy ego is living from its Core. See body ego, ego functions, ego system, mental ego, unity of apperception.
Ego Defenses of the 5 different Bio-Energetic Character Structures
- Schizoid Ego and Defense Defenses: fragmentation, dissociation, denial, splitting, isolation, withdrawal, fantasy, intellectualization, projection
- Oral Ego and Defense Defenses: regression, displacement, idealization, projection, somatisation, repression, rationalisation, compensation
- Masochistic Ego and Defense Defenses: passive aggression, reaction formation, self-aggression, undoing, projection, suppression
- Psychopathic Ego and Defense : Defenses: acting out, displacement, denial, identification with aggressor, isolation, projection
- Rigid Ego and Defense : sublimation, identification, intellectualisation, rationalisation, introjection, projection
Ego functions – The primary functions carried out by the nuclear ego, included among which are synthesis (of competing or disconnected elements of experience), reality testing, discursive cognition (e.g., data organization, conceptual mapping, hypothetico-deductive reasoning), impulse control, and intentional action. Ego functions are to be distinguished from the nonegoic potentials of the Dynamic Ground. See Dynamic Ground, ego, ego system, nonegoic potentials.
Ego ideal – The portion of superego functions that includes goals, ideals, and standard of thought and behavior. It is involved in the experience of self-esteem, pride and shame. see super ego
Egoism – The thesis that each individual is morally obligated only to do what is in his or her self-interest.
Ego psychology – An offshoot of structural theory developed by Heinz Hartman and David Rapaport emphasizing the role of the ego in mental life.
Ego strength – A term broadly referring to the ability to modulate and balance internal needs and wishes with external reality. Sometimes the term is simply used to refer to the ability to withstand threats form the external world and to modify the external world. Embodiment helps them to realize that they are larger than their most powerful emotions.
Ego Wrapping – According to Al Pesso, every expression of the self, the shape, should be met with the touch and action countershape of those figures who assist us in making ego. That is, every part of our self should be met, touched, named, given dimension and accepted by the important ego making figures in our life. The skin of the ego, in this sense, wraps around the soul. Wrapping is meant in the sense of wrapping a package or a gift, or wrapping a blanket around a baby. Wrapping is the countershape around the shape. Using this metaphor, the totality of soul should be wrapped in ego.
Embodiment – The body in the conception of the embodied self in phenomenology, especially in the work of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty is seen as the centre of identity, inseparable from sensory experience, perception and consciousness. In the mindfulness approach embodiment is viewed as the gentle awareness of emotional and sensate experiences. The client is invited to stay with bodily sensations and feelings with compassionate awareness. S/he is encouraged to “move toward” any emotion that may be emerging. By noticing what is happening in the body, even if tempestuous emotions are surging, the client can begin to see these as passing biological reactions.
In the practice of more expressive therapies such as Core Energetics, embodiment also includes the active elicitation of movement, sound and breath consistent with what is needing to emerge in the client’s immediate experience. It is in this willingness to participate in the movement of energy that greater consciousness arises. One comes to see oneself and others more clearly for example after allowing the movement of boisterous and rambunctious energies. Embodiment helps one to realize that one is larger than ones most powerful emotions.
Emotion – (n) : derived from Latin emovere which means “to move out” or “to move through”. According to Wilhelm Reich, Basically, emotion is an expressive plasmatic motion. Pleasurable stimuli cause an “emotion” of the protoplasm from the center towards the periphery. Conversely, unpleasurable stimuli cause an “emotion” — or rather, “remotion” — from the periphery to the center of the organism. These two basic directions of biophysical plasma current correspond to the two basic affects of the psychic apparatus, pleasure and anxiety. (Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings (New York: The Noonday Press/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1961), p. 146). Emotions otherwise are thought to be the key to coordinating all the parts of us into a harmonious and healthy whole. Emotions are also a primary signaling system that communicates intentions and regulates interaction. Emotion thus regulates self and other and gives life much of its meaning.
Emotional Motor System – The emotional motor system, together with the somatic motor system, make up the brain’s ‘motor system’, which is responsible for the neural control of all movements. The emotional motor system, in contrast to the somatic motor system, originates in the emotional, or limbic, parts of the brain. It controls basic behaviors important for the survival of either the individual or the species. Not all behavioral patterns are voluntary. Crying, laughing and fear reactions for example are not mediated by the voluntary motor system, but by other structures in the CNS, which have been defined as the “emotional motor system”. No motor system, neither somatic nor emotional, can function without input from the environment. Many, if not all, of our actions are in fact re-actions. Changes in the environment direct our actions in every day live.
Empathy – A mode of knowing or perceiving the emotional or psychological state of another, in which the quality of experience of one person is momentarily shared by another. Kohut describes empathic ambience as the positive attunement and empathic failures as the misattunement of two people.
Empiricism – The view that sensations or impressions constitute the most basic form of experience (contrasted with Intellectualism). Facticity The concrete givenness of situations, in contrast to what we can voluntarily control or grasp in thought.
Energetic Cycle – a map of the Natural Flow of Energy and its blockages in 9 steps, developed by Jack Painter, PhD. A range of specialized bodymind techniques including touch, breath-work, gestalt, emotional release, etc. are used to regulate the energy flow, and help the person become more conscious about the undefended self and life affirming expressions of self.
Energetic Integration – Energetic Integration® is an innovative development of Reichian work, developed by Jack Painter, Ph.D., rooted in Wilhelm Reich’s pioneering work as well as in modern therapeutic methods such as Gestalt process work, Trauma Theories, Psychosomatics and Energywork. It uses a wide range of mind and body- oriented approaches including body-sensing, breath work and cycles of charge and discharge, expressive movement, gestalt enactment, bodymind typologies and character analytic processes. Energetic Integration® aims at re-establishing the free flow of energy. Working with the breath and how it reveals the character defenses enables the person to become conscious of their energy flow and its blockages, interruptions and leakages. These tend to be directly linked to old anger, pain and sadness held in out-dated reaction patterns and hidden memories put out of conscious awareness long ago. When these early experiences are integrated, the client can develop healthier and more appropriate ways of being and doing. An important aspect of Energetic Integration® is working with the breathwork cycle known as the Energetic Cycle. See Energetic Cycle
Energy – A concept which may be understood in a variety of ways. Energy is commonly defined as the equivalent of our capacity for doing work, the product of cellular metabolism. In bodymind integration the focus is upon the concept as it is involved in all human functioning. Three assumptions are made concerning the role of energy in human functioning. (1) that energy is involved, in some way, in all the processes of life. That includes all movement, feeling, and thought. These functions would cease if the supply of energy needed to maintain those basic functions were to stop. (2) Human energy is produced from the complex combustion of food, and involving the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. (3) The living organism can only function if there is a balance between energy charge and discharge in his body. (4) Living energy, in its qualitative aspect, its capacity of direction has consciousness or actually is consciousness.
Energy Center – All human beings have within their psychic and physical organism certain energy centers. These energy centers are located at various areas in your body. They are not actually in your physical body, but in the so-called subtle body, which affects the physical glands. Although the functioning of the glandular system is directly dependent on these centers, the centers themselves are not physical organs that can be discovered by X-rays or other physical investigation. Their reality is psychic; their physical reality can be determined only by their effects. Each energy center relates to a mental attitude. As the mental attitude changes from ignorance, fear, alienation, distrust, and hostility, to an open, trustful, truthful, and loving state, the energy centers open up. The opening is a distinct experience in the body, because the unity between body, mind, and spirit is at that point very intimate. In fear these centers are necessarily cramped and closed, and the life force cannot penetrate them. When, however, you inwardly open up for pleasure, joy, happiness on all levels of your being, the open, relaxed attitude of “letting be” eventually opens these centers. The opening of the centers creates a full capacity for living and feeling. Their closed state is responsible for unhappiness, negativity and lack of feelings. How closed the centers are determines exactly the degree of living in unreality and therefore in a state of strife and numbness. Joyful, fruitful, meaningful living implies a commensurate degree of openness of the centers. The solar plexus center for example opens the way to the connection and unification with spiritual wisdom, universal truths — and also the impersonal love feelings connected with this experience. Opening up this center must bring you to the seat of all your feelings, which usually precedes contact with the divine, at least to a considerable degree.
Energy Economy – The concept of Energy Economy is most simply put as the idea that what energy is built up must eventually be released. Each individual is a self-regulating and self-perpetuating energetic organism and how much energy a given individual can build up, hold, express, let flow and discharge is determined by a combination of one‟s own physical make up and one‟s own history. “How much energy an individual has and how he uses it must determine and be reflected in his personality. Some people have more energy than others; some are more contained. An impulsive person, for example, cannot contain any increase in his level of excitement or energy; he must discharge the increased excitation as rapidly as possible. A compulsive person uses his energy differently; he, too must discharge his excitement, but he does so in rigidly structured patterns of movement and behavior.” (Alexander Lowen, MD, Bioenergetics, p. 47)
Energy Flow – Energy flows in the body e.g. from head to toe and from feet to head and in forms of spirals (forms of 8 of infinity).
Enstasy. Term coined by Mircea Eliade (1969) to describe meditative absorption (samädhi) and used in Bodymind Integraton to describe absorption generally. Enstasy, meaning “to stand in,” well describes states of subjectless envelopment or immersion, such as trance states and meditative absorption, and should be contrasted with ecstasy, meaning “to put outside,” which describes states of subjectless euphoric infusion, such as rapture and transport. See absorption, infusion.
Epistemology – The theory of knowledge.
Eros – The erotic force is one of the most potent forces in existence and has tremendous momentum and impact. It is supposed to serve as the bridge between sex and love, yet it rarely does. In a spiritually highly developed person, the erotic force carries the entity from the erotic experience, which in itself is of short duration, into the permanent state of pure love. However, even the strong momentum of the erotic force carries the soul just so far and no farther. It is bound to dissolve if the personality does not learn to love, by cultivating all the qualities and requirements necessary for true love. Only when love has been learned does the spark of the erotic force remain alive. By itself, without love, the erotic force burns itself out. This of course is the trouble with marriage. Since most people are incapable of pure love, they are also incapable of attaining ideal marriage.
Essential Self – In the Pathwork, another word for Real Self, your true being, devine self, genuine self or True Self. It is contrasted with the Superficial Self. The Pathwork Guide says: “Whenever you act out of your real self, you are in complete unity with yourself. There is no doubt, no confusion, no anxiety, and no tension. You are not concerned with the appearance of your act in the eyes of others, or about principles or rules. You are concerned with the effect of your action on others and on yourself and with its consequences; and you choose this particular alternative because, even though you recognize its imperfections, it still seems better to you than another alternative. It corresponds to your innermost nature.” (PGL94).
Existence – Heidegger’s name for dasein’s way of being, namely, as the kind of being that embodies an understanding and that manifests in its actions (ways of perceiving, thinking, doing) an implicit interpretation of what it is to be the kind of being it is. This understanding is not fundamentally conceptual or even conscious but is shown in the acts and practices that an individual undertakes. Thus, embodying an understanding of oneself is to act and be ready to act (comport oneself) in certain characteristic ways. It is a self-understanding and a reaching forward into the world and into the future.
Existential approach (or analysis) – A form of therapy that posits that a person’s decisions, commitment, and responsibility for “choosing the future” give meaning to life, whereas choosing the past leads to boredom, meaninglessness, and despair.
Expression – In humans, the spontaneous and purposeful physical and vocal behavior which communicates feeling and meaning. This includes our natural and learned capacity for facial expression, gesturing and use of limbs and posture, the voice: all non-verbal communication which is both conscious and controlled as well as non-conscious and spontaneous.
Expressive language – A term from Wilhelm Reich, which he contrasted with what he called “word language.” Reich works with the language of facial and body expression. Reich states that “The patient’s expressive movements involuntarily bring about an imitation in our own organism. By imitating these movements, we “sense” and understand the expression in ourselves and, consequently, in the patient. Since every movement is expressive of a biological condition, i.e., reveals an emotional condition of the protoplasm, the language of facial and body expression becomes an essential means of communicating with the patient’s emotions.”(Reich, Character Analysis, 1933/1949/1972, p. 362) See somatic transference, character attitude.
Expressive system – A concept naming the interaction of psychological and physical processes which produces any external behavior reflecting an internal state.
Evil – The act of doing harm for the express purpose of doing harm.
Falling anxiety – is both a biological and a psychological phenomenon. Falling anxiety is the fear of falling and the fear of failure and losing face. It comes from imbalance (of alignment), weak grounding, and vegetative contraction. Because of falling anxiety, people develop hang-ups. See hang-ups, grounding, vegetative contraction
False Self – Originally psychological concepts introduced into psychoanalysis in 1960 by Donald Winnicott. The False Self ((also known as fake self, idealized self, superficial self and pseudo self and in Core Energetics as the mask self), an artificial persona that people create very early in life to protect themselves from re-experiencing developmental trauma, shock and stress in close relationships. This False or “public” Self often appears polite and well-mannered, and puts on a “show of being real.” Internally, people who live out of their False Self feel empty, dead or “phony,” unable to be spontaneous and alive, and to show their True Self in any part of their lives. The false self, Winnicott saw as a defensive façade, which, in extreme cases, could leave its holders lacking spontaneity and feeling dead and empty, behind a mere appearance of being real. See Mask Self, True Self
Fascia – This term refers to the body-wide collagenous web or any section of it.
Fear – According to the Pathwork, in order to become what you truly are, the fundamental prerequisite is fearlessness. The fear of the self is the basic fear behind the fear of life and even the fear of death. Neither could the fear of others possibly exist without the fear of oneself. Overcoming fear of self is the key. Every kind of fear amounts, in the last analysis, to fear of self; for if there were no fear of your innermost self, you could not possibly fear anything in life. In fact, you could not even fear death. To the degree that you know yourself, you fulfill your life, yourself, your dormant potential. And to that degree death will not be feared but experienced as an organic development. The unknown will no longer pose a threat. One of your most basic fears is the fear of death. The fear of death has its origin in the confusion of dualistic thinking and perceiving. The fear itself leads to further confusion. The fear of death can be allayed by not thinking about it, but nevertheless it lurks in the soul until the personality has completely fused with divine reality.
Feedback – Educational exchange in which the learner is presented observations about his or her performance but those observations do not become part of the learner’s academic record.
Feeling – Associated with the concept of emotion. Feeling is a concept characterized by psychological, visceral, and hormonal changes in the body. Human feeling is the sensory awareness of that sort of change.
Felt Sense – Gendlin’s term which refers to the preverbal, bodily experience of a given concern, to facilitate therapeutic change. Very methodically, Gendlin encourages clients to identify their felt sense, explore its nuances as it evolves, and clarify its meaning or implication for their lives.
Figure-and-Ground – A model of consciousness proposed by Gestalt Psychology that has emerged with scientific investigation and is useful for studying the Stream of Consciousness. The Gestalt Psychologists, Wolfgang Koehler and P. Wertheimer, studied visual perception. They concluded that the structure of conscious visual perception is based on a central Figure and a peripheral Ground. The Figure, the central part of consciousness, comes from our focus of attention. At the very same time our experience has a background of “barely conscious elements” in the periphery; these elements may regard our body position, visceral sensations, facial expression, non-verbal movements, attitudes, “flash images,” and “barely articulated thoughts.” An interesting exercise developed by the Gestalt psychotherapists is as follows: “Focus on the ‘here and now’ and describe every thought and sensation that enters into consciousness.” By means of this exercise the person dicovers that certain perceptions and thoughts are outside of the center of consciousness, like our back against the chair, the position of an arm, the amplitude of our breath, and so on, and that by focusing attention on our inner state, these “barely conscious” elements enter in the center of consciousness.
Fixation – The persistence of modes of gratifying impulses, reacting defensively to perceived danger, and relating to objects that belong to earlier stages of psychosexual development. Points of fixation can be returned to in the process of regression.
Flesh (chair) – Merleau Ponty’s term for the identity of perception and the perceptible.
Flight into health -The phenomenon in which the resistant patient may exhibit a premature and temporary improvement of personal difficulties as a result of the unconscious wish to evade a further psychodynamic exploration of these conflicts.
Flooding – Occurs when more energy is built up in the body than the person can comfortably contain. The organism is overwhelmed and the person’s ego is not able to process all incoming energetic stimuli and loses contact with reality.. The person’s body is either: 1. Too overloaded with energy (which can cause a collaps, a flight or freeze reaction) 2. Too contracted, which results in ineffective containment or 3. Too undernourished, awareness or grounded, to properly process the surge of incoming energy. Signs of flooding include anxiety, feeling scared, dizziness, nausea, and irregular breathing.
Flow – A movement within the organism which is exemplified by the flow of blood. The organism also can experience a flow of excitation, or of feeling. Energy flow is another important type of flow functioning in the body.
Foreground – As distinguished in Gestalt from background, that aspect of experience that is the focus of attention at any given point.
Freedom – Bio-energetically, the absence of inner restraint to the flow of energy and feeling.
Free Will – Free will, is more than disembodied free-floating will making arbitrary decisions. Free will is an embodiment of everything that we are. When we consciously own ourselves we make decisions based on all of who we are. Our freedom lies in owning our decisions. The knowledge that we are making decisions (acting), and owning those decisions is what makes us free.
Function of the Brain – “The overall function of the brain is to be well informed about what goes on in the rest of the body, the body proper; about what goes on in itself; and about the environment surrounding the organism, so that suitable survivable accommodations can be achieved between the organism and the environment.” (Damasio, 1994, p. 90) The neurosciences have shown that emotions and their regulation are essential to the adaptive function of the brain, and that the regulation of affect is a central organizing principle of human development and motivation. Damasio asserts that emotions are the highest order direct expression of bioregulation in complex organisms (1998), and that primordial representations of body states are the building blocks and scaffolding of development (1994). Brothers argues that emotion occurs “in the context of evolved systems for the mutual regulation of behavior, often involving bodily changes that act as signals” (1997, p. 123).
Garden of delight – The idyllic world of the child in the early preoedipal stage, before splitting occurs. The garden of delight is a small, safe, resplendent paradise. It is a world in which the child, provided for by the archetypal Great Mother, is free of danger and need; and it is a world that, embellished by the plenipotent power of the Dynamic Ground, is glorious and wondrous. The preoedipal child in the garden of delight is the practicing toddler, who fearlessly explores and greedily enjoys the world. See Great Mother, life-world.
Gestalt – A German word that has no direct translation in English. “Configuration,” “form,” “shape,” “structure,” and “whole” are used as translations, but none of these capture the complete meaning. “Figure” and “Gestalt” are often used interchangeably. See foreground, background
God – According to Albert Pesso (who won the USABP lifetime achievement award of body psychotherapy) God is “everything that is,” It is being itself. See Pesso, Soul
Good Mother – See Great Mother.
Great Father – According to Jordan Peterson, the Great Father is “masculine offspring” of “precosmogonic chaos”; is embodiment of the known, the predictable, the familiar; is security and tyranny simultaneously. The Great Father is patriarchal society, tradition, pomp and circumstance, military-industrial complex, and super-ego: demanding, rigid, unjust, dangerous and necessary. He is ambivalent, in precisely the same manner as the Great Mother, his “wife.” In the guise of literal father, he is protection for children, who are too immature and vulnerable to deal with the unknown. More abstractly, he is the pattern of behavior the father represents, that becomes “internalized” during maturation. The Great Father takes the infinite possibility of spirit that the infant represents and forges it into something limited but actual. He is manner incarnate, ruling all social interactions. Great Father as wise King, as security. The wise King maintains stability, not because he is afraid of the unknown, but because nothing new can be built without a strong foundation. He is the adaptive routines, developed by the heroes of the past, whose adoption by those in the present allows for control and safety. He is a house with doors; a structure that shelters, but does not stifle; a master who teaches and disciplines but does not indoctrinate or crush. He represents the tradition fostering cooperation among people whose shared culture makes trust easy — among people whose immediate familiarity banishes the fear normally produced by the “other.” The Great Father as Wise King keeps one foot on the Terrible Mother – keeps the monsters of chaos locked up in his dungeon or banished to the nether regions of the kingdom. He is the personality of dead heroes (that is, the action patterns and hierarchies of value established through exploration in the past) organised according to the principle of “respect for the intrinsic value of the living” — or, it might be said. This makes him the King who takes advice from his subjects — who is willing to enter into creative interchange with those he “dominates,” legally — and to benefit from this “advice from the unworthy.” See Great Mother
Great Mother – A personified representation (imago) of on the one hand the experience of being comforted and nurtured, and on the other, of being terrifyingly vulnerable to the withdrawal of same. The preoedipal child’s primary object representation: the archetypal caregiver. The Great Mother is the caregiver amplified and otherwise embellished by plenipotently charged nonegoic potentials of the Dynamic Ground. Once preodipal splitting occurs, the Great Mother is divided into two contrary opposites, a good object and a bad object: the Good Mother, who loves the child unconditionally and provides for the child perfectly, and the Terrible Mother, who is cruel, neglectful, and smothering. See imago, nonegoic potentials, splitting.
Grounded – is the experience of being in the truth of the present moment. The person feels in connection with themselves, their whole body, their feelings and the reality of what is going on around them. This is also associated with a sensation of feeling in contact with the support of the “ground”, hence the term “being grounded”. As Lowen (1977) explains, when someone is grounded, “he or she is rooted in the earth, identified with his [or her] body, aware of his [or her] sexuality, and oriented toward pleasure. These qualities are lacking in the person who is ‘up in the air’ or in his [or her] head instead of in his [or her] feet.”
Grounding – In an individual, the ability to present in reality and to experience one’s full spectrum of feelings and pleasure in the moment. Literally, the physical and emotional state of having contact with the feet and the ground. The opposite of being well- grounded is being “up in the air,” and out of touch with either the reality of the physical body, or the reality of the physical world. At least three forms of grounding can be considered: vertical which is the grounding between the cosmos and the earth, horizontal which is the grounding around you connected to other people and the third is the grounding in time from past to present to future. Physical grounding exercises: all exercises which create more or full body awareness.
Group dynamics – This refers to the interactional patterns within groups. This includes group-level experiences such as group cohesion based on seeing the group as attractive and helpful and that provides an important supportive function. Group norms evolve from the group interaction with guidance from the leader that give stability and safety within the group. Members will also adopt group roles based on their own outside behaviors that will provide important learning experiences in the group interaction.
Hang-up – Characteristic holding pattern that can be seen as part of the premature and unnatural bracing against falling anxiety. It becomes chronically structured into the body, involving the shoulder girdle and neck musculature, that look like a coat rack, giving the impression of “up in the air”’ or “hung-up.”One is then disconnected from the ground. On a psychological level a „Hang-up” means a preoccupation, fixation, or psychological block; a source of annoying difficulty or burden. See also Grounding, Falling anxiety
Hands-on work –
Hard techniques – are techniques to work with someone‟s energy that are more assertive and forceful, i.e.: stomping and punching.
Here and now – A term that refers to present, ongoing active events in interpersonal relationships, in contrast to fantasized future or past presentations.
Higher Self – Our divine CORE (our true self, real self, the essential spiritual level, the Center of Right Energy) – the repository of endless joy, intuition and creativity. This is the part of us that knows no fear, that understands and welcomes our life task and knows that there is no conflict between your Higher Self and my Higher Self and that dualistic conflict is only a painful illusion. It contains wisdom, happiness and the answer to all questions about our growth and development. The higher self is the essence of divine truth (the expression of God within). The Higher Self is TRUTH. It’s energy, pleasure, and creativity and LOVE. Core Energetic work seeks to bring awareness to the mask, integrate and transform the negative intentions and energies of the lower self, and help the individual to center and live from the higher self. Longing, surrender, trust, pleasure, creativity and vulnerability, all of which are aspects of the higher self. See Mask, Lower Self, Map of Consciousness.
Holding – refers to the experience of holding in energy or holding in back from its optimal flow. For psychiatrists Alexander Lowen and John C. Pierrakos “holding” is representative of a person’s emotional blocking (in other words dysfunctional auto-regulation of emotion). Holding is the “process” by which that person interrupts their own energy flow. Building on the character analytic theory of W. Reich they have identified five basic holding patterns. The stage of ego development is key to the holding pattern: (i) Holding together in response to the fear of falling apart/fragmentation (ii) Holding on in response to the fear of rejection/abandonment (iii) Holding up in response to the fear of failure/dominance (iv) Holding in, in response to the fear of letting go/exploding (v) Holding Back in response to the fear of being overwhelmed.
Holes-in-Roles – A concept by Albert Pesso. It is close to the parentification concept of systems theory. ‘Holes’ are gaps in the fabric or network of family roles and relationships. Whenever there is a gap in something that is supposed to be organically whole, the perception of the hole produces a sense of incompletion in the viewer (see) and an impulse to make it complete and unified again (do). Holes-in-Roles develop when a child’s compassion and imperative for justice is awakened too early without redirection. For example, when a child learns that his or her parent was physically abused as a child, a natural response is to feel compassion and attempt to comfort and heal. However, this is an impossible task for the child; indeed, a young child cannot right the wrong that the parent experienced as a child, and yet the child, without redirection, will continue to psychically attempt to take on this responsibility for their parent’s needs. The child’s energy is focused away from his/her own appropriate self-development to now taking on the burden of parenting the parent and a longing for justice for the injustice that has occurred. This focus results in an inability to receive caretaking. As an adult, the outcome is over-caretaking where one places themselves in an omnipotent position of feeling that only they can rescue or save others. This leads to feelings of inadequacy and, ultimately, exhaustion.
Humanistic theory – Comprises two overarching concerns: What it means to be fully, experientially human, and how that perspective illuminates the vital or fulfilled life.
Humanistic therapy – Conditions or stances that assist people to grapple with and become more of who they aspire to become.
Id – Freud’s term (borrowed from Groddeck’s das ‘Es’) for the deep, inherited unconscious, the seat of instinctual drives (Libido and Aggression) and the prerational primary process. Freud’s view seems to have been that the id is originally and inherently unconscious, although he is not completely clear on this point. See Dynamic Ground, latency, primal repression, unconscious.
Ideal Figure – Figures role played by group members in symbolic family constellatios, that would be so constructed as to match the needs of a client in a therapeutic work so that those needs can be symbolically experienced and satisfied.
- Ideal Father – The wished for, missing father with attributes that were longed for in ones’ childhood, role played by a group member.
- Ideal Mother – The wished for, missing mother with attributes that were longed for in one’s childhood, role played by a group member.
Idealized Self-Image – This is the part of us that thinks we should be perfect. It hides a lot of who we are while showing others how we would like them to see us. The ISI is our attempt to project a perfect (necessarily false) image to the world, and even to ourselves. The creation of the idealized self-image serves the purpose of obtaining the missing self-confidence.
Images – In Core Energetics and the Pathwork: impressions or attitudes usually formed as conclusions in the mind of the person, most which are wrong because they are not thought through, rather emotional reactions. Such impressions happen due to environmental influences or to sudden, unexpected experiences, and after the formation of conclusions, generate generalizations. These generalizations later establish themselves as preconceived ideas. We call each such conclusion an “image”. The wrong conclusions that form an image are drawn from ignorance and half-knowledge and thus they cannot remain in the conscious mind. Embodied Consciousness work like Core Energetics aims at transforming such images.
Imagery – The arousal of mental images through sensory neural stimuli.
Imago – A personified representation
Immanent – Meaning “within,” this term is used to designate the ego’s inner world of experience as opposed to the outer world of transcendent, independent objects. The boundary marking off the immanence of the self from the transcendence of the world changes during early childhood. No such boundary exists for the newborn, whose experience, therefore, is all-inclusive, wholly immanent. The surface of the skin is the boundary separating immanence from transcendence for the preoedipal body ego, and the dividing line between private psychic space and public physical space is the boundary separating immanence from transcendence for the mental ego. See body ego, mental ego, object permanence, ouroboros, transcendent.
Implicit memory – Memory of aspects of experience inherent in, but not obviously part of, the content of events. Usually nonverbal and unconscious.
Individuation process – The process of achieving “wholeness,” wherein all competing aspects of the personality are accepted, integrated and harmonized. Marked by the appearance of the Self, and by subjective states of a religious or spiritual character.
Infantile sexuality – The term “infantile sexuality” refers to all sexual manifestations from birth to about six years of age. The erotic pleasure a baby derives from nursing or thumbsucking is considered to be sexual in nature. Between the ages of three and five, childhood sexuality becomes focused on the genitals. In the fifth year, according to Freud, at the height of development of childhood sexuality, that focus comes close to that reached in maturity. The difference between childhood and adult sexuality is that the former lacks the elements of penetration and ejaculation, the reproductive aspects of sexuality. Childhood sexuality is, therefore, a surface phenomenon.
Insight – When you have an insight, you have a feeling or emotion or thought that helps you to know something essential about a person or thing. Insight isn’t based on hard facts or evidence. And it doesn’t have anything to do with using your senses such as sight or smell. When you gain insight, you are using your intuition, or sixth sense. Insight is formed from the prefix in- plus the English word sight, so this word literally means seeing inward.
Inner Self – See Self
Instinctual drives – Innate motivational forces originating within the organism that seek discharge or gratification. In Freud’s theory, drives are characterized by their source, aim and object. The two basic instincts are the sexual (libido) and the aggressive. Lowen (1975) translates these longing and aggression. Longing is associated with eros, love and tenderness. It is characterized by the movement of excitation along the front of the body which is perceived as having a tender, erotic quality. See discharge, eros, love, aggression
Integration – the linkage of differentiated components of a system. Integration is the core mechanism in the cultivation of more well-being. The integration of body-experiences establishes the physical self. The increasing integration of the brain functions enable more intricate functions to emerge (e.g. a mind of one’s own, insight, empathy, intuition, and morality). Increasing integration of body, integration of separate aspects of mental processes (mind), integration of polarities (left brain — right brain, inputs — outputs, male — female, power — receptivity) enables social exchanges, the identifications of social boundaries, and the identifications of social causality as central self-functions. Gradually
Interpersonal therapy – A form of treatment that focuses on current life events—especially grief, developmental transitions, role disputes, and social deficits—based on the fundamental thesis that disorders are the result of unsatisfactory relationships and social maladaptation, the consequence of the individual’s attempts to adapt to surroundings.
Interpretation – Verbalized understanding of meaning, conscious or unconscious, of patient behavior or experience.
Intimacy – We all struggle in our lives with how to make contact with others, how to develop a connection, how to touch or be touched by someone. In Core Energetics, contact is viewed on a spectrum that contains degrees of intimacy. . . . Intimacy here is divided into two parts that are opposite sides of the same coin. The first part is the willingness to reveal yourself to another, to let someone see as much of who you really are as possible. The more you are willing to open yourself to another, the more intimacy you will have in your relationship, the closer you will feel. The other half of intimacy is the willingness to take the other in, to have the intention to see someone for who he or she truly is. Genuine intimacy necessitates seeing people not as you want them to be, but how they really are. In a relationship, if you can open yourself to your partners, friends, or relatives and also accept them for who they are, you are on the way to experiencing bliss. (Black, 2004, pp. 29-30) See bliss
Introjection – Form of internalization by which properties or functions of another person in a relationship are assimilated to the self-structure but remain partially integrated, instinctually motivated, and defensively organized. Introjective structure is reflected in self-representations. See internatlization, introjection, self-representations
Introspection – A person’s ability to use self-reflection to know his or her own internal states, including emotions, thoughts, fantasies, and values.
Jung, Carl Gustav – (1857-1961) A Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Jung’s work was influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. See archetypes, self
Knowledge – facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Knowledge is not only cumulative, it grows exponentially. Those with a rich base of factual knowledge find it easier to learn more. See wisdom, higher self
Leadership – Refers to the capacity to help people develop and helping others reach their full potential. A leader has to want to give unselfishly. Unselfish giving must exist truly in the smallest acts. Leadership in its real sense is built on the love of true giving and on the true giving of love. No one can exist without leadership. See potential
Leaks – Places on the body where one “leaks” out energy, reducing the ability to build up enough energy for optimal flow and grounding. Leaks are often found in places on the body where one can see a depression, indentation or hollow area.
Libido – For Michael Washburn, libido designates the power of the Ground insofar as it is channeled through an instinctual system or restricted to an instinctual organization. Conceived thus, libido is instinctual energy generally rather than, as Freud held, sexual energy exclusively. In the Reichian understanding, following Freud’s original theory, libido is the human sexual energy, which above a certain level is felt as sexual excitation. See id, plenipotent, power of the Ground, psychic energy, sexual energy, Spirit. Reich
Life Force – The life force is the creative force that enlivens the whole universe. It contains all life elements, all potentials, every possibility for life expression.
Life Task – Life Task is one of the fundamental concepts tying the description of an individual incarnation and the path that a personality will tread during his/her days of living. Task has to do as much with performance and service as it does with overcoming and obstacle or learning a specific theme. Alfred Adler believed that for all people there are three basic life tasks: work, friendship, and love or intimacy. The work task is realized when work is meaningful and satisfying. The friendship task is achieved through satisfying relationships with others. The love or intimacy task is addressed by learning to love oneself as well as another. Others have added a fourth task:—the task of getting along with oneself. According to the Pathwork, the task of every fragmented, apparently disconnected aspect of consciousness is to realize its true identity and connection with the real self. This happens through an often laborious groping search, through attempts of the mind to expand its own narrow limitations. See Path, Pathwork, Adler, Eva Pierrakos
Love – Words will never grasp this word. A good way to speak it is that it is the binding power between two people that does not lead to attachment but to joy and bliss. Ken Dychtwald, in Bodymind says: “… love is simply, yet profoundly the unrestricted experience of life. Its existence is continuous, but we experience it only to the degree that we have allowed our bodyminds to be open, integrated, and balanced. Within this perspective, love is not a place to go, but rather it is a place that is here all the time, waiting to be continually rediscovered by each of us.” In Eros, Love & Sexuality, John Pierrakos states: “Love is not a given, it’s a state that we work toward and experience gradually. It is difficult to achieve because when blocks in the body and in the personality are released through love, the freed energy will intensify existing blocks or create new ones to slow down the expansion – as we water the flowers, so do we water the weeds. Thus we are in continual duality wherein the positive (creative) aspect of life meets the negative (destructive) aspect. The task of our personal evolution is to move toward unification of the duality. (p.66) According to Pierrakos, love is the continual movement of the body and mind working together to open and expand, contract and defend. Bringing conscious awareness to the process of love through all relationships helps the body and mind work synergistically to release what the ego wants to hold onto. Pierrakos : “Love is an energy located in the heart center. When this center is open and active, it sends out a strong current of energy that integrates with other energy centers of the body such as the solar plexus (third chakra), or the throat (fifth chakra). It creates a powerful surge of energy that travels from head to foot and also outward in waves to the loved one.”(p.70). The “higher octave” of love engaged both the heart and the pelvis when the passion that streamed forth was spontaneous and unimpeded. Reich came to understand that people who are connected to their energy — including sexuality and passion — are in tune with the divine, for expressing the inherently loving side of human nature is the core of unfeigned spirituality. See sexuality, eros
Loving Limits – Through Loving Limits children learn that there are boundaries and limits in life. The parent physically restrains or constrains the infant or older child from doing damage to him/herself or others. The adolescent requires help to contain and navigate their nuclear energies, which are the capacity to create (sexuality) and the capacity to destroy (aggression and anger). It is important to note that Basic Needs are met in a developmental sequence, similarly to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That is, first there must be satisfaction on a Literal basis and secondarily on a Symbolic level. As these needs become fulfilled by parents or significant caregivers, they become internalized so that the individual can meet his or her own needs in adulthood. Symbolic interactions are imperative as they have an impact on ego development and the child’s increasing necessity of knowing how to navigate in the broader world. See Pesso, basic needs
Lower Self – In the understanding of The Pathwork and Core Energetics, the Lower Self is the creative center of our negative attitudes and feelings toward self and others. The lower self consist not only of the common faults and the individual weaknesses that vary with each person, but also of ignorance and laziness. Pride, self-will and fear are the crux of the Lower Self. Each of these attitudes is a different form of denial and therefore according to the Pathwork Guide (channeled by Eva Pierrakos) even more dangerous to the soul than more overt forms of evil. It is a powerful energetic pattern that invites and escalates negative attitudes, hostility, abuse of power, arrogance and all manner of separateness and cruelty. The Lower Self, detached from conscious awareness, is an interior prison. Core Energetics based on the Pathwork and on Bioenergetics aims at transforming negativity in order to contact the essential spiritual level of the “higher self.” See Higher Self, Mask Self
Mask Self – The Mask Self is the face we show to the world. John Pierrakos has also called it the Little Ego Self. The Mask Self is the protective layer or social personaIity that has been created by each of us to protect us from pain and rejection. It defends us against vulnerability. It is always “other” oriented: to please another, to control another’s reaction to us, to manipulate another. It is all based on learned behavior in a way. When we are in the Mask Self, we blame others for our misery rather than accepting responsibility for it. The Mask is false and separates us from our real, spontaneous selves – both positive and negative. The Mask encloses our Lower Self (negative) feelings with a mask that we hoped would insure our lovability. Core Energetic work seeks to bring awareness to the Mask, integrate and transform the negative intentions and energies of the Lower Self, and help the individual to center and live from the Higher Self or Core. See Persona, False Self, Lower Self, Higher Self, Spontaneous expression
- Mask of Serenity – Susan Thesenga in the Undefended Self (p. 138) writes: “The mask of serenity is an attempt to escape the difficulties and vulnerabilities of human life by always appearing completely serene and detached. In fact, what the person really pursues is the distortion of serenity, which is withdrawal, indifference, evasion of life, non-commitment, cynical worldly detachment, or false spiritual detachment.”
- Mask of Love – Susan Thesenga in The Undefended Self (p. 135) writes: “The mask of love is an attempt to extract love from others by always appearing to be loving. The personality becomes submissive, dependent, appeasing, and self-denying in the hope of guaranteeing, controlling, and buying love and approval from others. The false belief of such a mask self is that it must be loved at all costs, and therefore the personality is deliberately made weaker, more helpless, or subservient, than it really is. Security and self-esteem are then imagined to rest on securing and possessing the love and approval of others.”
- Mask of Power – Susan Thesenga in the Undefended Self (p. 137) writes: The mask of Power is an attempt to get control of life and others by always appearing completely independent, aggressive, competent, domineering Falsely reducing life to a struggle for domination, the power mask is attempting to escape from the vulnerability experienced as a child. Security and self-esteem rest on winning in all situations and becoming free of human needs and weaknesses. The power drive is idealized, and love and contact are rejected.”
- A Combination Mask – “Sometimes the masks of love, power and serity are mixed in the same person, which causes tremendous inner confusion since they pursue contradictory goals and idealizations. Whereas the love mask pretends to be all-loving, and to deny strength and independence, the power mask denies the need for love, pretending to be all powerful. Preferring to be “above it all,” the serenity mask engages in neither the struggle to love nor the battle to dominate, regarding both with contempt. While the love and power masks go in different directions, they are equally false, rigid, unrealistic, and unrealizable. Nor is the combination of these maske any closer to reality.” (Thesenga, p. 139-140).
Maturity – Emotional maturity is, foremost, the capacity to love. Emotional maturity also means being unafraid to pay the price of living. (PGL 49). Emotional maturity means being unafraid of your own emotions (positive and negative ones). In emotional maturity you will no longer fear your positive feelings, either, because you will accept an occasional hurt. You will risk expressing your positive feelings rather than withholding them from others, because enveloping the other with warmth, comfort, and tenderness is more important than what might happen to you later. Emotional maturity or emotional health means knowing what you want, wanting what you can have, and being willing to pay the price for it. To give up egotism on all levels of your being, to reach into the depths of your unconscious reactions—which may be so contrary to your outward ones—and come to know them fully is to attain true emotional maturity. (PGL 49) “Maturity is to a great extent the ability to put cause and effect together. … also indicates the degree of awareness an entity has reached through his development.” (PGL 196).
Mental structure – The relatively stable and lasting organizations of mental contents and functions.
Metaphysics – The study of the nature of reality and of the relations among things that are real.
Meta-view – Meta (from the Greek μετά-, meta-, meaning “after” or “beyond”) is a prefix meaning more comprehensive or transcending. The meta-view focus brings clarity to what may seem chaotic or confusing from the ground, or at the level of experience we call “life.”
Mirror neurons – In 1996, Gallese, Fadiga, Fogassi, Rizzolati highlighted the existence of “mirror neurons” in the brain, are in charge of the empathy. The therapist’s occipital area, the part that processes images, sends the information that has been perceived to the fronto-temporal cortex, another part that prepares for action, thus alerting mirror neurons. The therapist, simply by perceiving and feeling without acting, can assess the emotional and subjective state of his patient. Rizzolati, Fogassi, Gallese (2007) have shown that mirror neurons are missing among autistic patients. This has initiated a new therapeutic approach based on mutual imitation between the autistic patient and the psychotherapist, imitation underlying the development of the capacity for empathy. There are today many more applications of the understanding of this anatomical insight.
Mitsein (“being-with”) – A term intended to convey that dasein is always in a shared, public world. The elements of that world with which it is familiar, which it understands and which matter to it, are shared with (and, Heidegger would say, created by) other people. Since these elements are constitutive of dasein, dasein is necessarily always relating to other people through a shared world. See Dasein
Monism – The view that reality is one thing.
Motility – A name for the body’s natural rhythms and pulsations The internal, involuntary movements of the body upon which the conscious, voluntary movements are based. Motility is reduced when blocks or chronic muscular tension interrupt the flow of energy. This, in turn, reduces the larger, external, expressive movements. See Blocks, Flow of Energy
Movement – Related to motility, but the word is used to mean larger movements of the body; all types of body parts displacement of space for expression. Movement includes motility. See motility.
Muscular armor – The experience-dependent development of a protective shell of muscle tension grown over time in response to a history of threat, anxiety and trauma. See armor
Musculoskeletal pain – Pain involving structures of the musculoskeletal system that includes muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Myofascial meridian – A connected string of myofascial or fascial structures.
Narcissism. Used primarily in two ways—first, a way of conceiving of human development, characterized by the growth and stability of the self independent of its transactions with externally experienced others; second, a line of development (vs. a fixed stage or pathological state) characterized by the strivings to form and maintain a vital self. Heinz Kohut distinguished between healthy narcissism, a strong and vital self with ambition and ideals striving toward the realization of individual talents and skills, and pathological narcissism wherein self strivings are unsuccessful in maintaining a cohesive and stable self-representation. See self representation
Narcissistic injury. Experiences of having one’s self-esteem lowered that are accompanied by painful affects of sadness, embarrassment, or humiliation.
Negative intentionality – That part of the self which is locked into negation. It is not the same as negativity. Negativity comprises a wide range of feelings such as envy, hate, fear, or pride. Negative intentionality is deliberate choice to hold on to a state of negating life and the self. It is also a means of punishing life. Courage and humility are required to recognize that there is such a spot of ill will inside us. There is a twisted, immature reasoning behind this attitude and behind the resistance to give it up. If these are recognized, the road is open to the transition to positive intentionality, and thus to liberation. See lower self, maturity
New or Synthetic Memory – Albert Pesso in his therapy “structures” recreates the traumatic event and restructures past emotional reactions and expressions. He has the client enroll an idealized protective parent that the client instructs to react in the way the client would have desired in the actual event. This intervention creates a memory of an externalized protector figure outside the client so the client can internalize the resources of this new symbolic representation. Pesso would say these are not internalized people, but actual historical players experienced in the client’s mind. What is internal is the lack of what could be and the memory needs to be replayed in a way that the wounding does not happen. The antidote is an internalization of a simulated experience of growing up in a loving, caring environment where such wounding things could never happen. Experience of the rightness of the new memory helps build the self. See antidote
Noema – Husserl’s term for the intentional content of consciousness, as distinct from its object.
Noesis – Husserl’s term for a concrete mental state, as distinct from its intentional content.
Nonegoic potentials – Sources of experience situated in the deep core of the psyche, the Dynamic Ground: energy (the power of the Ground), instincts, sources of affective response, and the creative imagination (autosymbolic process). Nonegoic potentials, situated in the deep psyche, are to be distinguished from ego functions, which are exercised by the ego, the organizing agency of consciousness. The following nonegoic potentials are active at birth or soon thereafter:
- the power of the Ground, which affects the newborn either as an inwardly pooled oceanic reservoir (in which the newborn gestates during sleep) or as an outwardly flowing, object-directed stream (which amplifies intentional states when the newborn is awake and engaged);
- biological instincts, which generate impulses in response to target stimuli, prompting corresponding object-related behaviors;
- emotive potentials, which give rise to powerful body-based feelings; and
- the autosymbolic imagination, which projects preencoded images upon genetically selected stimuli as they appear within the field of perception. At the outset of life we are radically open and, consequently, receptive not only to a wide range of external stimuli but also to a wide range of energies, impulses, feelings, and images arising from the Dynamic Ground within.
Not all nonegoic potentials are active at birth, for some (e.g., sexuality as it emerges during puberty) are governed by a biological timetable and become active only at later stages of development. See autosymbolic process, Dynamic Ground, ego, ego functions, id, psyche.
Numinous. Rudolf Otto’s (1917) term to designate the experience of the sacred or holy. Otto described the numinous as the mysterium tremendum et fascinans, a compelling and mysterious energy of prodigious magnitude. See plenipotent, power of the Ground, regression in the service of transcendence, Spirit.
Nurturance – The act of caring for infants’ needs that literally sustain life and keep them alive – such as nursing, feeding, grooming, washing and caressing. When nurturance needs are met, an individual can feel full and satiated inside his or her body, rather than feeling a sense of hollowness and emptiness inside. In later childhood, this translates or transposes into symbolic feeding and grooming in a way that psychologically sustains life such as valuing, appreciating, affirming and admiring
Nurturing Breath – The breathing technique used in the second phase of the Energetic Cycle, developed by Jack W. Painter. It is about an inhaling charge into neglected parts and dimensions of our bodies. A wide variety of nurturing breaths exist: the initiating, elongating, broadening, spiralling, and skimming breaths. These are explored in one on one therapy sessions and groups. See Energetic Cycle, Jack Painter, charge
Object relations – Refers to relationships to other people. In psychoanalysis, it is the internal representations of self and others that are important in motivating and mediating interpersonal interactions. A developmental distinction is often made between dyadic and triadic object relations. The former refer to relationships modeled on preoedipal experiences where the major goals of the child revolve around need satisfaction by the mother. Triadic relations are seen as more mature, implying oedipal engagement and the increasing mental complexity implicit in being aware of needs and wishes toward one parent vis-á-vis the other parent.
Oedipus complex – Refers to the developmentally fundamental constellation of largely unconscious drives, defenses, thoughts, affects, and object relations relating to the child’s wish to possess exclusively the parent of the opposite sex, which elicits feelings of rivalry, jealousy, and hostility toward the parent of the same sex and fears of severe retaliation (e.g., castration, loss of parental love) by the perceived rival parent. The unresolved Oedipal complex. as defense as we teach it in Core Energetics is characterized by a holding back of feelings, especially the heart and sexual feelings. This is due to the child’s experiences between the age of three and five. The child does not distinguish between sexuality and love; to the child it is one and the same energy. He/she approaches the opposite sex parent with this vibrant energy, but the parent feels threatened and rejects the child. The child, confused and hurt, draws the conclusion that his/her love is bad. He/she makes a conscious decision not to ever become vulnerable and love again.
Oedipal issues – The derivatives of compromise formations (e.g., maladaptive coping strategies) and patterns of object relations (e.g., triangular interpersonal relationships) stemming from an unresolved Oedipus complex.
Jealousy and envy are the two big themes of the Oedipal struggle. “You are mine”, “I will do anything to get you”, or “I will withhold my pelvis/heart” are lower self statements of the Oedipal conflict. The child that was used now wants revenge and says: “I will use you, like you have used me”, “I will never forgive you, I will hold onto this until I die.” Seductiveness is another mask that makes a false promise with the lower self intent of “I have what you want, but I am not going to give it to you.”
The Oedipal theory – addresses what happens when Oedipus blindly marries his own mother, i.e. becomes the man besides the mother when the father is not there, and fills a Hole-in-a-Role. See holes in roles
Ontology The study of being. See phenomenology
Opening up. A number of bioenergetic techniques are designed ultimately to free the person from his/her inhibitions. By constantly concentrating on “opening up” in these exercises, one reject the urge to repress the impulses that these exercises stimulate. The techniques aim toward (1) developing the capacity for greater expressiveness in the person, and (2) developing the capacity for greater spontaneity in the person as a whole, but more particularly in his expressive behavior.
Oral. The stage of psychosexual development occurring in the first 18 months of life, during which the oral and peri-oral areas provide the major source of sensual pleasure. Because the infant is extremely dependent during this stage, optimal development requires considerable parental attunement to the needs of the infant; if this is provided satisfactorily, the infant should acquire a sense of trust and a sense that the world is safe and that the infant’s needs will be met.
Orgasm.In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence speaks of the orgasm in this way: “and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness till she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling.”‘ Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls describes an orgasm in which the sensation is that of the earth moving. For Wilhelm Reich Orgasm, orgasm is a fundamental biological phenomenon … in the form of an involuntary contraction and expansion of the total plasma system …. Biophysically speaking, it is impossible to distinguish the total contraction of an ameba from the orgastic contraction of a multicellular organism …. [and] which, psychologically, we call “gratification”…[T]he discharge of the surplus energy in the organism by way of fusion with another organism makes itself felt at more or less regular intervals …. They usually become shorter in the spring [which] points to a close connection between the function of the orgasm and an energy function of a cosmic nature.. See plasma system, gratification
Orgasm Anxiety – The French call the orgasm la petite mort, the little death. Since the ego is extinguished in the full orgasm, it is experienced by the ego as a little death. In Love and Orgasm’ Lowen wrote, “The intimate psychological connection between sex and death is the symbol of the round or the cave, which represents both the womb and the tomb. Orgasm anxiety, that is, the fear of ego dissolution that overwhelms the neurotic individual at the approach of the full sexual climax, is perceived as the fear of dying.”
Orgastic impotence: The absence of orgastic potency. By damming up of biological energy in the organism, it provides the source of energy for all kinds of psychic and somatic symptoms. See orgastic potency
Orgastic potency: The capacity for complete surrender to the involuntary contraction of the organism and complete discharge of the sexual excitation in the acme of the sexual act. It is always lacking in neurotic individuals,’ according to Reichian theory.
Orgastic Potency Orgastic potency is the capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without any inhibition, the capacity for complete discharge of all damned-up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable contractions of the body.” (ibid, page 79) “A further characteristic of orgastic potency is the ability to focus temporarily the entire affective personality on the genital experience despite any conflicts.” (Reich, W. 1927/1980. Genitality In the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, page 32. [Originally published 1927 with the title, The Function of the Orgasm. This is an entirely different book than the 1942 book of the same name]).
Orienting reflex: An instinctual pattern of bodily and mental response to anomaly
Orgasm reflex: The unitary involuntary contraction and expansion of the total organism seen when it is at rest and energy flow is uninhibited. Also seen at the acme of the sexual act.
Overcharged refers to the experience of having too much energy charged up in the body to flow optimally. Overcharging can be ameliorated by discharging.
Ouroboros. The ancient Egyptian and Greek symbol of a world-encircling snake that swallows its own tail. The ouroboros symbolically represents the world of the newborn, which is an all-inclusive, wholly immanent sphere. See immanent, life- world, transcendent.
Painter, Jack, W. PhD – Jack W(hitfield). Painter, Ph.D. (1933-2010), born in Tennessee (December 5, 1933), one of the Eastern states of the U.S.A. grew up on the farm of his parents (German mother). He started out studying civil engineering, then changed his subject and studied philosophy, psychology and literature at the University of Atlanta. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy, Literature and Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta in 1961. Became bursary Smith-Mundt and pursued post-universitary training in Europe. Later he served as a Professor at the University of Miami where like several other contemporary university professors – searched to reach beyond mere intellectual knowledge by experiencing directly and personally….. he undertook research in physio-philosopy and psychology and took interest in different approaches – massage, acupuncture, Zen, yoga, the work of Ida Rolf and her Rolfing method, Gestalt therapy developed by Fritz Perls, and the theories of Wilhelm Reich in the form of Vegetotherapy. For years he was associated with the Wilhelm Reich Institute in Mexico, collaborating with Rafael Estrada Villa, MD and Blanca Rosa Anorve. By the seventies he was calling his form of holistic bodymind bodywork ‘Postural Integration‘. In the eighties and nineties Painter then went on to develop two further methods, Energetic Integration and Pelvic-Heart Integration. He died in Mill Valley (CA), on June 28, 2010 at the age of 76. See Postural Integration, Energetic Integration, Pelvic-Heart Integration.
Parallelism – The thesis that for each physical state there is a corresponding mental state and that the mental states are connected among each other in the same way that the physical states are connected among each other.
Parentification – The process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their own parent or sibling. In extreme cases, the child is used to fill the void of the alienating parent’s emotional life.
Path – Carl Jung believed each person had a distinct and proper path of development unique to his or her particular life. This path was realized through a more or less balanced dialogue between the conscious and unconscious aspects of awareness.
Pathwork – a body of practical spiritual wisdom transmitted by Eva Pierrakos that lays out a step-by-step journey into personal transformation and wholeness, down to the very core of our being, offering guidance and advice for self-development and personal growth. It is a voyage of discovery to the Real Self through the layers of our defenses, denial and fear. See Eva Pierrakos, John Pierrakos, Core Energetics, Core Strokes
PBSP: Pesso-Boyden System Psychomotor, See Pesso
Pelvic Release – Deep Holistic Bodywork after Jack W. Painter, furthered by Dirk Marivoet, with focus on releasing the pelvic area, which in the female pelvis—with sexual trauma, periods, birth, and menopause—is not handled well in our society. Men also have pelvic restrictions, from different origins. Pelvic Release helps both women and men, to free and balance the very cradle of life. The pelvic diaphragm is one of the keys to orgastic potency. Only when this supporting hammock can pulse and vibrate and participate in the expression of core emotions is full contact with oneself and one’s lover possible. Often the floor of the pelvis have become weak and immobile, but overexercising the muscles of the pelvis (p. c. pump) may also lead to a rigidity. These muscles need to be relaxed, yet strong and active. The anus holds deep anger against authority, the genitals hold narcissistic neediness — armor that has its origins in the anal and genital phases of infantile development. For both men and women there is often a compensatory interplay between the armor of the anus and genitals. The anus is often squeezed to give force to the genitals, or if the anus is open and receptive the genitals are hidden and energy-less. The work includes:
- Hands-on certainty and technique review for all the major muscle groups
- Assessments and techniques for posterior and anterior pelvic floor, psoas complex, and diaphragm
- Common perinatal biomechanical issues explained
- Postural patterns and their effect on pelvic health
- Handling fibroids, pelvic pain, diastasis recti, and scar repair
- Expanded anatomy of bones, ligaments, deep muscles, pelvic floor fascial layers
Pelvic-Heart Integration – A method of Bodymind Integration, developed by Jack W. Painter, Ph.D., furthered by Dirk Marivoet and Elisabeth Renner, that focuses on the various dimensions of sexuality and love, dimensions which are biologically connected to the pelvis and the heart. See Postural Integration, Energetic Integration, Core Strokes
Persona – (Latin, “actor’s mask”). One’s social role, derived from the expectations of society and early training.
Personality – Characteristic attitudes and behavioral reaction patterns based on temperament and experience.
Personal unconscious – Jung’s term for what Freud called the unconscious (i.e., repressed material) in contrast to archetypes, that are presumed never previously to have been conscious. See archetypes, collective unconscious
Pessimism – Philosophical doctrine that pain is the essence of life, as expounded by Schopenhauer.
Pesso, Albert – The co-creator, along with his wife Diane Boyden Pesso, of Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor, a widely respected interactive technique that helps clients create new memories to compensate for emotional deficits in the past. See PBSP
Phenomenology – For Heidegger, t he study of how things “show up” or manifest themselves (not to be contrasted with Ontology). For Husserl, the study of conscious experience, or appearance as opposed to reality (to be contrasted with Ontology). See ontology
Pierrakos, John, C. MD – John Pierrakos (February 8, 1921 – February 1, 2001) was an American physician and psychiatrist. A student of Wilhelm Reich, he developed bioenergetic analysis, a form of mind-body psychotherapy, with his then-colleague Alexander Lowen (December 23, 1910 – October 28, 2008). Pierrakos was the founder and director of the Institute of Core Energetics (1973-2001), co-founder of the Bioenergetics Institute in New York, NY with Lowen (1955-1970), and co-founder of The Pathwork Center, Phoenicia, NY, in association with his wife, Eva Pierrakos. (Source Wikipedia)
Pierrakos, Eva – Eva was born in 1915 in Vienna, the daughter of the well-known Austrian novelist Jakob Wasserman. Driven by a private curiosity and a desire for deeper understanding of her world, Eva began to develop the gift of accessing an inner voice, at first through automatic writing and later by speaking in a trance state. In time the inner voice took shape as the authoritative, insightful, and loving persona of the Pathwork® Guide. She pursued the development of her gift with great devotion and perseverance, learning to listen and follow her guidance. Eva considered her ability to give spiritual guidance and to help people in their self-development as her life task. Eva came to the United States in 1939 and continued her work in New York, giving Guide sessions and an ongoing series of trance lectures. She was a beautiful, vibrantly alive woman with a keen intelligence who enjoyed life in all its aspects. She loved people and animals and enjoyed food, skiing, swimming, and dancing. In 1971 she married psychiatrist John C. Pierrakos, one of the founders of Bioenergetics and later, Core Energetics. The energetic work became an essential part of the Pathwork and contributed to its expansion. Eva Pierrakos died in 1979, leaving behind her the rich legacy of more than two hundred Guide lectures, two flourishing Pathwork centers, and thousands of students and followers of the teachings. For more on Eva’s life read her book The Path to the Real Self. Source https://pathwork.org/eva-pierrakos/, See John Pierrakos, Pathwork
Pilot: Al Pesso’s term for “The designation of the highest order of ego processes, the aspect with which the therapist makes an alliance. In touch with both affective and cognitive content, but often unaware of soul energies expressed in the body, the pilot functions as the coordinating and choice-making center of the personality”.The Pilot is like a unique, separate aspect of our self that looks upon us and assesses the what and why of our actions. Neurological research is now very clear on the point that the brain structures of the right orbital (behind the eyes) pre-frontal cortices are responsible for the regulation of emotionally-based behaviour. According to Allan Schore the brain structures occupying the orbital pre-frontal areas of the right brain only mature with experience.The Pilot is one’s ability to think and reason in a mature, reliable and consistent manner. The Pilot detects what one is feeling, thinking, experiencing, and what actions are in their best interest. To have a strong Pilot, one needs to have had their inner world of interests, talents, feelings, values, and dreams seen, validated, and acknowledged by parents, caregivers, and loved ones. If this did not occur, then we may not know who we truly and authentically are. This leads to a cloudy or murky picture of our self and prevents us from seeing the world accurately, making good decisions, or being intimate with others. See Pesso
Play – A physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective. Play physiologically is only possible when both the ventral-vagal (social engagement) system and the sympathetic (doing) system are simultaneously activated. This allows play to be both adventurous and active, and also very social. If someone is say accidentally hit with an elbow during play, they will not get (very) upset if the ventral vagal tone is strong, but they will get very upset, involuntarily, if the ventral vagal tone is weak, even if intellectually, they ‘know better.’
Pleasure anxiety: Translation of German Lust Angst. The fear of pleasurable excitation. Pleasure anxiety manifests in the body as a general anxiety about every form of vegetative sensation and excitation or the perception of such excitations and sensation.
Pleasure principle: That the primary orientation of life is toward pleasure and away from pain. The Pathwork Guide says whoever blocks pleasure blocks the deep connection with the spiritual self. There is no split between a spiritual and a sexual being. See Eva Pierrakos
Polyvagal Theory – The term “polyvagal” combines “poly,” meaning “many,” and “vagal,” which refers to the important nerve called the “vagus.” Influential theory in Trauma Therapy and Body Psychotherapy developed by Stephen Porges, PhD.
Positive Intentionality – According to the Pathwork Guide, “To move into the attitude of positive intentionality you need to cultivate a deep inner certainty that the abundance and creative power of the universe transcends every limitation. You can create a positive attitude toward life according to a lawful, integrative process of transformation that makes you totally self-responsible. To make it work you need to adopt a trusting attitude toward yourself and life. Anchored in your good will, knowing that the power is yours, you can expose your negative intentionality. Otherwise it is impossible to transform it. As you become free of your negative intentionality, you are no longer devastated by that of others. You will become open to love, in the awareness that the universe is a rich and joyous place in which you are at home.”
Posture – As nouns the difference between attitude and posture is that attitude is the position of the body or way of carrying oneself; while posture is the way a person holds and positions their body. As verbs the difference between attitude and posture is that attitude is to assume or to place in a particular position or orientation : to pose; while posture is to put one’s body into a posture or series of postures, especially hoping that one will be noticed and admired. See Postural Integration, Core Strokes, Body Reading, Attitude
Postural Integration (PI) – is a method of deep holistic bodywork that integrates a client’s physical, emotional, and mental (cognitive) aspects. It uses tissue manipulation to explore and release postural patterns leading to the transformation of negative emotional and psychological patterns or behaviours. PI was developed in the 1970s by Dr Jack W. Painter. ”Postural Integration is not only a specific process that I have developed, it is a unique, holistic synthesis – it is a singular approach to the whole being – not just a collection of methods of breathing, deep bodywork, Gestalt, Reichian work and movement awareness. All these aspects are facets of a central view of the individual as an energetic élan exhibiting physical, emotional, and cognitive dimensions which are all part of an energetic wave.” (in “Deep Bodywork and Personal Development”). Its ultimate goal is to achieve personal change and transformation. Painter distanced himself from classifying his method as “therapy” in the clinical sense or “psychotherapy”, stating it was bodymind or mindbody work. See Jack W. Painter, Bodymind Integration
Power – The ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way. It has a deeper meaning than we can imagine. In the personality it has to do with strength of mind, moral qualities of a person, power of his/her faith and so on. See higher self, Mask Self, leadership
Power vs. Vulnerability – In content, the soul consists of many polarities, one of which is power vs. vulnerability. Power is the capacity to move, to act, to transform, or make an effect upon the world. Vulnerability is the capacity to feel, to respond, to take in the world. See Soul
Precosmogonic chaos – (implicitly feminine) – Habitable order is created out of pre-
Pressure Exercises. These bioenergetic exercises may be used to deal with people whose voices are particularly choked off by (cmt) in the jaw or throat. The exercise generally engages the person in making a loud vocalization (yelling or screaming) as the therapist applies pressure with his fingers and thumbs to the tense muscles of the jaw and neck. Alexander Lowen maintains that the scream is a major form of releasing tension, whether the tension is from fear, anger, or intense frustration. See bioenergetics, core-energetics, Lowen, Pierrakos
Pride – The first cardinal sin as explained in the Pathwork is PRIDE. Pride is always a compensation for feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. That the effects of your pride must lead to separateness is self-explanatory. Among the needs of the idealized self are, for instance, the need for glory, the need to triumph, the need to satisfy vanity or pride. See idealized self.
Principle of reciprocity – A bioenergetic principle based upon the assumption that the energy moving the “machine of life” is fundamentally the same energy, unifying the psychic and physical functioning of the body. The energetic processes of the body determine what goes on in the mind just as they determine what goes on in the body. See bioenergetics
Proprioception – Immediate, non observational perception of one’s own body.
Protoself – The protoself with its primordial feelings, and the core self, constitute a “material me.” The autobiographical self, whose higher reaches embrace all aspects of one’s social persona, constitute a “social me” and a “spiritual me.” We can observe these aspects of self within our own minds or study their effects in the behavior of others. In addition, however, the core and autobiographical selves within our minds construct a knower; in other words, they endow our minds with another variety of subjectivity. For practical purposes, normal human consciousness corresponds to a mind process in which all of these self levels operate, offering to a limited number of mind contents a momentary link to a pulse of core self.’ See self
Pseudo-solutions – Adaptations to survive or compensate for the deficits of our childhood. A pseudo‑solution means a rigid rule one adheres to, regardless of the circumstances or the issues. It is a blind reflex reaction. We find submission and dependency as pseudo-solutions for Love, aggression and control as distortions of Power, or detachment and withdrawal as substitutes and caricatures for Serenity. Underneath withdrawal is confusion and chaos, loneliness, pain. Underneath control and aggression is collapse, helplessness, pain. Underneath submission is aggression, fear and frustration, pain. See pathwork
Psyche – Freud used an iceberg metaphor to describe the psyche; nine-tenths of the self – the older self – floats below the surface of consciousness, and one-tenth is visible above. Jung was fond of a perhaps more organic metaphor: he saw the psyche as an ancient tree, the living blossoms and flowers of which must trace their origins – and their secret sustenance – to gnarled archaic roots, long enduring, deep within the earth. Psyche includes both the ego and the Dynamic Ground, both consciousness and the unconscious. Psyche is seen as fundamentally bipolar, having both a center of agency in consciousness (the ego) and a deep core (the Dynamic Ground). See deep psyche, Dynamic Ground, ego, ego system, psychic core, unconscious.
Psychoanalysis – A talking treatment method for eliciting and understanding the psychology of unconscious emotional experiences and representations. The method reveals the unconscious structures that organize emotional experience. The word also refers to a theory of human emotional development.
Psychodynamics – This is a broad concept referring to the psychological operations that govern thoughts and behaviors and of which the individual may not be consciously aware. In particular, from a therapeutic perspective, the psycho-dynamic tradition described the presence of wishes in the context of relationships (for example to be more assertive) that may lead to fears of the response of others (for example being rejected) or of response of self (for example, remaining passively silent). These patterns are seen as arising from early experiences.
Psychoeducation – Information in which the content is psychological or psychiatric in nature.
Psychopharmacology – The treatment of mental illness with classes of medications that include the following
- Anxiolytics—compounds that possess anti anxiety effects to relieve emotional tension.
- Antidepressants—agents from a number of different classes used primarily to relieve depression although often useful in treating other symptoms.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors—medications that inhibit the degradation of monoamine oxidase in the brain thereby elevating levels of available biogenic amines.
- Tricyclic antidepressants—compounds that increase the availability of multiple neurotransmitters, (e.g., norepinephrine) in the brain.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—medications that promote greater synaptic availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
- Hypnotics—different classes of compounds (e.g., benzodiazepines) used to induce sleep.
- Mood stabilizers—multiple types of medications that reduce or prevent mood lability and associated symp- toms in affective disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder).
- Antipsychotics—different classes of medications that target many types of malfunctioning neurotransmitter systems such as the dopamine system and relieve and prevent symptoms of psychoses.
Psychosexual – Based on Freud’s early finding that all aspects of mental functioning are affected by infantile sexual development and the wishes that derive from these experiences. The term is usually used as an adjective to imply that some mental or behavioral action is influenced by oral, anal, phallic, or genital urges.
Psychosexual stages of development: in relation with the libido points to the progressive advancement of modes of obtaining sexual pleasure linked with the excitement of the (->) erotogenic zones, starting from mouth and anus, and finishing with the genital one.
There are actually four stages: oral, anal, phallic and genital. For each stage correspond specific modes of obtaining pleasure.
Psychosis. A mental state characterized by loss of reality testing as in delusions and hallucinations, often accompanied with severe interferences with the capacity to meet the ordinary demands of life, maintaining social and personal boundaries, manage profound levels of anxiety, focus attention, and experience pleasure.
Psychotherapy: The name for various methods of psychological treatment. Most psychotherapeutic treatment may be traced to three basic assumptions. (1) human behavior is conditioned chiefly by emotional considerations, and that self-awareness or understanding is necessary to modify human behavior. (2) a significantly large part of human emotion and behavior, which it stimulates, is not normally conscious; instead it is rooted in the non-conscious levels of human functioning. (3) clinical evidence indicates that a process, which makes available to individual consciousness, the significance of conflicts and tension (in the unconscious,) will produce personal awareness, stability and emotional control.
Pulsation. Impulses and sensations are biological actions of the total organism (including the plasma system). These are present in the living system long before the development of an organized nervous system.In Reichian therapy the rhythmical interchange between expansion and concentration; in biological systems, such interchange shows a greater emphasis in the expansion phase, which corresponds to the desire of expressing oneself. Reducing or blocking pulsation are the basis of pathology: Reichian therapy supports the contracted and blocked organism to pulse again naturally. Protozoa demonstrate fundamentally the same actions and impulses as metazoa, in spite of the fact that they do not have an organized nervous system. Pulsations are “pumped” along the length of the body by various diaphragms, muscular groupings, and tissues through the body’s cavities, tubes and pouches. Healthy pulsation propagation normally occurs with supple expansions and contractions. See Expansion, contraction
Purification – The process of making things aware and conscious so that every current and attitude in the soul that is contrary to divine law can be eliminated. Self‐realization, or self‐actualization, mystical ascent or reaching your spiritual center ‐‐ or whatever other name one wishes to use in order to describe the goal of all living ‐‐ cannot occur unless one faces one’s deepest negativities and hypocrisies, the deliberate intent to be negative and destructive, spiteful, and resentful, often to the degree of foregoing one’s own happiness just to punish someone of your past. The aim is spiritual reunion to help towards a reunification of everything that has ever split off. Purification is necessary on many levels such as feelings, understanding, knowledge. Purification involves work on all levels of personality (body, emotions, mind, will and spiritual work), including to face your lower self, your real guilts, and to make restitution for them, to purify yourself. To recognize again and again whatever is wrong in your inner reactions, to separate good motives from the wrong ones and thus to cultivate that very change you wish to accomplish. Perfectionism, self-condemnation, moralizing, false guilt feelings on the contrary are dangerous. It is the purpose of the path of purification not only to sense, what your basic light is like — for it is not the same with everyone — but it is of utmost importance to realize that self-will, pride, and fear exist in you, to what degree, how they interact, how one is dependent of the other. It is utter illusion to hope, consciously or unconsciously, that facing these aspects of your being can be avoided, skipped, by‐passed, or whisked away by some magic “spiritual” means. Purification is also unthinkable without receiving active help. It is too difficult alone. Carl Jung in Mysterium Conjunctionis refers to Dionysius the Areopagite ((“is supposed to have lived on transition from 5th to 6th century” ) mentioning the characteristics of the mystical ascent: emundatio (κáθaρις, ‘purification‘), illuminatio (φωτισμός), perfectio (τελεσμός). Dionysius refers the purification to Psalm 51 : 7 (AV): “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”; and the illumination to Psalm 13 : 3 (AV): “Lighten mine eyes.” (The two heavenly luminaries, sun and moon, correspond on the old view to the two eyes.) The perfection he refers to Matthew 5 : 48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Here we have one aspect of the approximation to divinity. See pathwork
Rationalism – Austere and misleading belief that we can use reason to search out “the truth.” (Nietzsche)
Reactive Acting-Out – An inability to tolerate the level of charge and the feelings experienced. We discharge the intolerable energy/feelings in chaotic movement, unconscious action, behavior, and vocalizations. Reactions are an inability to contain. This is an attempt by the person to “discharge” the excess energy. Reactions are different from feelings. Reaction is an inability to contain. Reactive Acting-Out is an attempt by the organism to return to the level of charge to which they are accustomed. See charge, containment, discharge
Reality principle. The manner in which the ego carries out its work based on a perception and measurement of social reality demands. The tendency for an organism to orient itself to practical social dictates and requirements. See ego, social causality
Reconstruction. Recovery and formulation of past events to gain understanding of hidden meanings.
Real Self – According to the Pathwork, the real self is a complex of everything you are at the moment. It is our higher self seen as our true identity. The real self exudes and transmits a vital flow of energy, the life force, consciousness. Spiritual truths can often be expressed only in paradoxes: So defined, the real self is both our actuality and our potentiality. We are already our real selves underneath the layers of confusion, fear, and error. Yet the real self is also the potentially perfect self, the state we attain when these layers have been transformed and eliminated. Our real self lives in unity, having never left that divine state. We call it real in contrast to our disconnected aspects that are in illusion. (From The Glossary of Pathwork Concepts). See False Self
Reframe – A common therapeutic procedure that involves changing the valence of a reported event from negative to positive without changing the facts.
Regression – Denotes a return to an earlier, more developmentally primitive mode of mental functioning.
Regression – A shift in the organization of mental functioning to a more developmentally immature level, often occurring defensively in the context of anxiety associated with higher- level functioning but also seen in sleep and dreaming, love and sex, esthetic and religious experiences, and psychoanalytic treatment.
Reich, Wilhelm, MD – (born March 24, 1897, Dobrzcynica, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now in Ukraine]—died Nov. 3, 1957, Lewisburg, Pa., U.S.), Viennese psychiatrist who developed a system of psychoanalysis that concentrated on overall character structure rather than on individual neurotic symptoms. Considered as one of the founding pioneers of body-oriented psychotherapy. His idea of muscular armor—the expression of the personality in the way the body moves—shaped innovations such as body psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy, bioenergetic analysis and primal therapy. See bioenergetic analysis, gestalt therapy, body psychotherapy, armor
Reichian Therapy – A name given to Wilhelm Reich’s Character Analytic Vegetotherapy. (See Vegetotherapy.) See Reich, vegetotherapy
Re-initialization of defenses – Concept from trauma therapy – The aim is to help the patient re-mobilize reactions that were repressed at the time the traumatogenic situation happened, to reconnect with the defensive and orientation responses that could not be expressed at the time, and to enable those reactions to surface. See Defenses
Remapping – The creation of antidotal symbolic events during therapy sessions which may offset the life negating, negative patterns of perception and response created by traumatic events. See Pesso, Memory
Repression. A form of defense in which unacceptable urges and materials are kept outside the realm of consciousness.
Resistance. A defense aimed towards keeping the unconscious material activated by analysis or psychotherapy from reaching consciousness. In Core Energetics resistance is seen as the refusal to be grounded. See grouding
Resources – In Bodymind Integration a focus exists on work with both internal and external resources. Internal resources: Strength, agility, intelligence, inherited talents, resilience, instinctual wisdom of the nervous system. External resources: nature, spiritual practice, expressive arts, dance, movement, jumpstart warming-ups, music, etc.
- The Will to Heal
- Being a good life manager
- Your own capacities (eg. Awareness, curiosity, courage, discernment, compassion, prudence, hope, humor, love resourcefulness, resiliency, strength, persistence, trust
- Caring people in your life
- Good physical health and energy
- Healthy spirituality
- A caring partner
- Help with your various needs (your healing team)
- Living in balance
Other resources – Containment, centering, boundaries,
Resurrection of the body. The enlivening of the body that accompanies the reawakening of the power of the Ground in adulthood. Nonplenipotent psychic energy here gives way to the power of the Ground in its plenipotency, and the body, thus charged with high-intensity energy, returns dramatically to life. Initial signs of the body’s awakening may include such indications as tingling sensations, palpitations, perspiration, chills, horripilation, heightened sensitivity in erotogenic tissues, and spontaneous erotic feelings. More dramatic expressions of the body’s awakening are for example, sensations of energy movement, dismantling of body armors, involuntary bodily movements and postures, vocalizations, and strong sexual feelings. See plenipotent.
Role-playing. There are many settings in which acting the part of another person for educational or therapeutic purposes proves helpful. For example, employees may be trained, via role-playing, to handle problems with customers, to present an impressive sales pitch, to learn how best to interact with their superiors or subordinates, and so forth. In therapy, clients may rehearse ways to cope with stress and family conflicts.
Ropiness. A tissue texture change characterized by a cord- or rope-like feeling.
Sacred marriage (hieros gamos) – The integration of male and female principles, indicating spiritual fulfillment. This sacred marriage can also be conceived as the integration of the ego and the Dynamic Ground. See self
Secondary drives – For Wilhelm Reich, these are the violent, destructive and perverse impulses created by the transformation of natural primary drives when the latter attempt to break through armoring in order to express themselves. Primary drives are innate drives (e.g. thirst, hunger, and sex), whereas secondary drives are learned by conditioning. In Core Energetics secondary drives are part of the Lower Self. Secondary drives are trapped underneath the muscular armoring. Secondary drives arise from the natural primary drives that are distorted by muscular holding and the concomitant psychopathology. When they emerge, the person believes they emerge “spontaneously” from within and some think their expression a completely natural thing, considering them equal to every other genuine and spontaneous expression of man’s nature. They are however our negativity coming to the surface. We must not skip or bypass our negativity if we want to heal. See primary drives.
Segment – Wilhelm Reich’s view that muscular armoring runs side-to-side across the body and divides the body into functionally limiting segments. Each segment represents functional areas of the body where blockages of energy flow can occur. See blocks
Segmental Armoring – Wilhelm Reich’s term to indicate that in humans, a segmental arrangement of groups of muscles that reflects in its functioning the primitive form development of animal life. By relating such segmentation to expressive movement and emotion, it is possible to appreciate the development of structure out of function in human beings. The actual relationship between form development and selective pressures in evolutionary terms is an interesting question to be dealt with in another context. Segmental armoring serves as a defense against pain, unfortunately by distorting the body’s natural energetic flow and pulsation. It results in a decreased ability to experience pleasure. See natural energetic flow, pleasure
Self – According to Albert Pesso, the self represents everything that we are psychologically. The self is built in distinct steps grounded on a protoself (a term from Antonio Damasio). The first step is the generation of primordial feelings, the elementary feelings of existence that spring spontaneously from the deep core of the psyche and seat of nonegoic psychic potentials. At the outset of life we are radically open and, consequently, receptive not only to a wide range of external stimuli but also to a wide range of energies, impulses, feelings, and images arising from the Dynamic Ground within. A lifelong see-saw dynamic between the larger Dynamic Ground and the developing individual self, who at birth is immersed comfortably in the larger (oceanic, etc.) Ground, then gradually develops an identity of body as separate (with biological instincts, which generate impulses in response to target stimuli, prompting corresponding object-related behaviors; emotive potentials, which give rise to powerful body-based feelings; and an autosymbolic imagination, which projects preencoded images upon genetically selected stimuli as they appear within the field of perception. Later develops a mind as its own, and then as an adult, bumps up against its own limits in so identifying. Now we find a self (an “inner self” with a core self or true self (also higher self), a lower self and a mask self) as substances of our autobiographical self. Our whole self involves will and action—specifically, about a relationship on the interface between our own ego steered organism and the 3-dimensional world. The development from infancy to adulthood inevitably involves traumas that later limit the flexibility in this 3-dimensional world. In the effort to transcend those limits (to become more effective in concrete goals like work, friendships and family) the ego meets opportunities to transcend itself, and so to open up again to the always present Dynamic Ground. This is the experience we adults have called transpersonal, transcendental, or spiritual “selves”. See self-negation, self-destructive attitude, self-expression, self-assertion,
Self – According to Michael Washburn, with a lowercase s, this term is used to designate the ego’s understanding of itself as defined by the self-representation. With an uppercase S, the term is used to designate the power of the Ground in its highest expression as transparent Spirit. This usage of Self differs from C. G. Jung’s, according to which the Self is an archetype rather than a power or energy, namely, the archetype governing the general course of development, guiding it toward the telos of wholeness. See integration, self- representation, transparent Spirit.
Self-Awareness – As humans, according to the existentialist view, we are capable of self-awareness, which is the distinctive capacity that allows us to reflect and to decide. With this awareness we become free beings who are responsible for choosing the way we live, and we influence our own destiny. This awareness of freedom and responsibility gives rise to existential anxiety, which is another basic human characteristic. The greater our awareness, the greater our possibilities for our awareness in the following areas:
- We are finite and do not have unlimited time to do what we want in life.
- We have the potential to take action or not to act; inaction is a decision.
- We choose our actions, and therefore we can partially create our own destiny.
- Meaning is the product of discovering how we are “thrown” or situated in the world and then, through commitment, living creatively.
- As we increase our awareness of the choices available to us, we also increase our sense of responsibility for the consequences of these choices.
- We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness, guilt, and isolation.
- We are basically alone, yet we have an opportunity to relate to other beings.
- We can choose either to expand or to restrict our consciousness. Because self-awareness is at the root of most other human capacities, the decision to expand it is fundamental to human growth. Here are some dawning awarenesses that individuals may experience in the counseling process:
- They see how they are trading the security of dependence for the anxieties that accompany choosing for themselves.
- They begin to see that their identity is anchored in someone else’s definition of them; that is, they are seeking approval and confirmation of their being in others instead of looking to themselves for affirmation.
- They learn that in many ways they are keeping themselves prisoner by some of their past decisions, and they realize that they can make new decisions.
- They learn that although they cannot change certain events in their lives they can change the way they view and react to these events.
- They learn that they are not condemned to a future similar to the past, for they can learn from their past and thereby reshape their future.
- They realize that they are so preoccupied with suffering, death, and dying that they are not appreciating living.
- They are able to accept their limitations yet still feel worthwhile, for they understand that they do not need to be perfect to feel worthy.
- They come to realize that they are failing to live in the present moment because of preoccupation with the past, planning for the future, or trying to do too many things at once.
Self-regulation describes the assumption that our bodily expressions are naturally self-regulating based on the intensity of our feelings. That means, our feelings act as a biofeedback mechanism for us to let us know, what – and how much – is right, too much or too little. This is an automatic process. This is a biological and organismic event. It has much to do with our ability to reach out and make contact. It also has to do with our ability to withdraw and create boundaries for protection. Self-regulation is guided by our instinctual, autonomic programming to go for pleasure and to avoid pain. (“Pain principle”, “pleasure principle”).
Self-representation – The image the subject has of him or herself based on his or her own interpretation. According to Michael Washburn, a component of the ego system, the self-representation is the ego’s implicit conception of itself. begin thinking about itself. The self-representation of an evolving self-developing soul, continuously changes, is revised and reforged, split in two, mended, de-animated, reduced, re-animated, divided, re-emerged, regenerated, incorporated with strengths, integratied with new insights, deep wisdom, emerging heart qualities like compassion and love, accepted and integrated lower self/shadow aspects as new lifestyles, circumstances and fashions are explored. Over the years as the ego is given more definition, justification (the self-representation is a good enough self-representation), and motivation (the inspiring motivation of the ego ideal and the disciplining motivation of the superego), the full ego system is formed and integrated. Traits, tendencies, and psychic potentials that are incompatible with the self-representation, are repressed and hidden from consciousness in the shadow (a negative worldly identity). At times new superego is formed, self-will is steadfast exercised and possible new self-representations, new identity possibilities and ego-ideals are explored and lower potential selves are purified and integrated and higher selves.
“Self space” – A term used by many teachers to mean a space you create like a bubble around yourself and what ever activity you are doing will be contained in your “self space”. It feels safer to these more disconnected children. Some of the self space activities that work as intervention for these children are classically more “soft techniques”. See soft-techniques
Self-Will – In the Pathwork this refers to the will of the little self, the little ego. Self-will strives to get what it wants, regardless of the consequences, regardless of harm that may be done to others and therefore ultimately also to the self. Only, the little ego is too blind to understand this. And self-will in its blind and immature state is equally too blind to realize that what is desired against spiritual law must bring hardship and imprisonment to the self. See little self, little ego.
Sense – As noun: a) Any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body:My sense of smell tells me that dinner is ready. b) These faculties collectively. c) Their operation or function; sensation. d) a feeling or perception produced through the organs of touch, taste, etc., or resulting from a particular condition of some part of the body:to have a sense of cold. As verb (used with object), sensed, sens·ing. a) To perceive (something) by the senses; become aware of. b) To grasp the meaning of; understand.
Separation–individuation – Developmental process elaborated by Mahler in which the infant progressively emerges from the symbiotic unity with mother and forms a sense of individual selfhood and a sense of differentiation from love objects. The subphases of this process include “hatching” (differentiation), practicing, rapprochement, and “on the way to object constancy”.
Serenity – A state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled. Achieving this positive state of mind means you won’t feel as troubled by life’s ups and downs. See higher self, mask self
Sexuality – The sexual force is an expression of consciousness reaching for fusion. Fusion, which one can also call integration, unification, or oneness is the purpose of Creation. Whatever term one uses, the final aim of all split-off beings is to reunify the individualized, separated aspects of the greater consciousness with the whole. The developmental nature of our sexuality in its initial stages as infants is selfish. Sexuality is a force that matures in stages in us as healthy adults in love relationships of mutuality and Union. Sexuality, as a healthy and natural component of the Life Force, with maturity, integrates with Eros and Love. Without this integration and maturity the sexual force remains an immature, instinctual, and often unmanageable force within us. See eros, love
Shadow – a Jungian concept, consists of the traits, tendencies, and psychic potentials that, in being incompatible with the self-representation, are repressed and hidden from consciousness. The personal shadow consists of the traits, tendencies, and potentials that are incompatible with the self-representation as it is first forged during early childhood and then later restructured during early adulthood. The archetypal shadow consists of the traits, tendencies, and potentials that, in bearing the stigma of absolute evil, are most deeply repressed. Derepression of the personal shadow occurs during adolescence and can occur again at midlife. Derepression of the archetypal shadow occurs during regression in the service of transcendence. See derepression.
Shamanism – is one of many means through which humans have communicated with aspects of the psyche lying beneath normal awareness. One technique it uses to help people recover a sense of well-being is called soul retrieval, whereby lost, stolen, or damaged aspects of people’s souls are retrieved and re-integrated into their bodies by the shaman, thereby restoring their sense of wholeness (Pratt, 2007; Ellenberger, 1970). This integration of parts and the resultant increased wholeness it produces is not unlike the phenomenon of wholeness Jung (1961/1963, 1957/1969, 1983) spoke about as a result of the individuation process. Shamanism could be seen as a precursor to modern analytic psychology, for many aspects of its methods can be identified therein.
Short-term memory. Maintaining a limited quantity of information in memory for a brief period of time.
Sin(s) –“to miss the mark” or “to err” (Derived from the term hamartia – from the Greek ἁμαρτία, from ἁμαρτάνειν hamartánein). The Pathwork distinguishes seven cardinal sins: The first cardinal sin is PRIDE. Pride is always a compensation for feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. The effects of pride lead to separateness. The second cardinal sin is COVETOUSNESS — greed. If you covet something you do not possess you blind yourself. The third cardinal sin is LUST. It means any kind of passionate desire, whether or not it has to do with sexuality, which is indulged in a spirit of egocentricity or isolation. The fourth cardinal sin is ANGER. Rather than feeling your vulnerability, which seems an inferior place. Anger lifts you above the true position you find yourself in — that of being hurt. The fifth cardinal sin is GLUTTONY. The deeper meaning of gluttony has to do with need. A need that is unfulfilled and frustrated for a long period, that is thwarted again and again, will seek outlets. Such an outlet, among many other possibilities, may be gluttony. The sixth cardinal sin is ENVY. The seventh cardinal sin is SLOTH. Sloth is indifference and apathy. See pride,
Skepticism – The claim that we lack knowledge in a given domain or in general.
Slow work – Slow work allows a person to become aware, to explore, to disentangle issues, to recognize, to integrate, associate. The slowness of the work facilitates the analysis of each feeling, image or affect. This work makes it possible to leave the frozen response, of frozenness of the organism’s underlying structures, to gradually get involved again in defensive and orienting responses.
Social Causality – Causality (also referred to as causation, or the relation between cause and effect) is influence by which one event, process or state (a cause) contributes to the production of another event, process or state (an effect) where the cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is partly dependent on the cause. Social causality reflects a social mechanism rather than a physical one. Because causality is one of the central notions in our conception of the world, we think of the things and events we experience as connected, and causal relations between them is perhaps the most important connection. Thoughts of causation are central to how we think about our own actions, thoughts, responsibilities and relationships. Causation relates to moral and legal rules. Human society exercises social control and keeping society functional by enforcing rules. For rules to work society and the individuals in it must be held accountable for their actions. all societies excluding animalistic ones have a concept of causality. Causality imposes moral obligations. Social causality involves not only physical causality, but also epistemic variables such as freedom of choice, intention and foreknowledge.
Soft techniques in Bioenergetics are techniques to work with someone‟s energy that would be gentle and less assertive, i.e.: eye movements and breathing.
Somatic Centering – Method of Deep Holistic Bodywork, developed by Jack W. Painter, PhD, furthered by Dirk Marivoet, MSc. The goal of Somatic Centering on the physical level means encouraging a fine inner vibration which is organized along the diaphragms of body balance: the cranium, mouth, first rib, thoracic hinge, breathing diaphragm, floor of the pelvis, knees and ankle joints. The person is helped to deeply release the “core of the body” (on all dimensions of the personality – body, emotions, mind/thoughts, will, spirit). On the emotional level help is given simultaneously with the bodywork, to recognize the most stubborn patterns of character armor and develop basic strategies for working with these enduring patterns. See Postural Integration, Core Strokes
Somatic transference – has been referred to as the somatic reactions the patient has toward her therapist and the term ‘‘somatic countertransference,’’ to the somatic reactions a therapist has toward her patient at a particular moment during treatment (Dosamantes-Beaudry, 1997, p. 522). Later the definition became: ‘‘Somatic transference’’ refers to the totality of the patient’s bodily-felt experience and enacted behavior (experienced as bodily-felt sensations and expressed via bodily-felt expressive movement and through kinesthetic and kinetic images) that function as transitional objects for the patient and provide critical relational psychodynamic meaning that at the outset of treatment is unknown to the patient.(Dosamantes-Beaudry, 2007)
Soul – According to Albert Pesso, “everything that is,” = being itself = God. As humans, we are differentiated from everything that is and everything that we are is called “soul.” Soul is “everything that we are.” The soul, is more inclusive than the “self,” which represents everything that we are psychologically. The soul is also more inclusive than the ego, which represents that set of psychological functions that mediates between the self that I am and the outside world, with all the representational mappings that help us survive and navigate ourselves through the world.
If we think of the soul as having a shape (Plato said the Soul is a circle with a center and a circumference), then the perfectly fitting ego would provide the perfect countershape. Such an ego would perfectly represent the soul as it surrounds and contains it. If the shape of the soul is represented by the action of the body, then the countershape of the ego is first experienced in the touch and action of the parents’ bodies in relation to that action, as well as in their acceptance, naming and defining of the action. See Self, Ego
Soul energies – According to Albert Pesso, there are three such soul energies that are important to track: sexuality, aggression, and compassion, or the need for justice (what Redish calls the intrinsic reward of “fairness“ (pp.211-226).
- Sexuality is that genetically inherited soul energy that is about the survival of the species. This energy can be appropriated (which is to say, metaphorically elaborated upon) by the ego for other purposes, such as creative endeavors and as I mentioned earlier, for bonding. However, we assume its primal function is for the survival of the species.
- Aggression is soul energy used for the survival of the self. If I’m attacked, I need to be able to defend myself. Self assertion would be an example of socially approved aggression.
- The need for justice, or compassion, is about the survival of the group. We are group, or pack, animals and there are a whole host of energies that appear to be “hard-wired” into our brains to serve behaviors and attitudes that strengthen the group that we are a part of.
These cosmic forces of high energy cannot be stopped or killed. However, they can be distorted and misdirected due to our attempts to avoid the anxiety, which may arise. When this happens, we create negative intentions and become frozen into the defensive structure. This structure becomes a part of our personality with which we identify. These are the kind of “soul” energies Pesso is identifying that the pilot is not usually aware of. See Pilot
Spirit – The life force is said to be the impetus that we must experience in our bodies, the body being the vehicle for our emotion, thought, and spirit.
Spiritual therapy – A form of treatment based on six tenets of transcendence of soul and spirit—love of others, love of work, love of belonging, belief in the sacred, belief in unity, and belief in transformation. See Soul, Spirit, Core Energetics
Splitting – is a defense mechanism that entails “splitting off” from the current experience. It is also known as a dissociating. It can also mean that the person “splits” their view of themselves or another as “all bad” or “all good” without the ability to maintain the fuller picture of the reality of the situation. According to Marion Solomon “Splitting occurs as the child comes to believe there are “bad” things inside that must be gotten rid of. These are split off from awareness. They may be consciously forgotten and not allowed to grow or develop. They survive but are denied and hidden away in the unconscious. Such feelings may include envy, hatred, fear of dependency, loss of identity, etc. Love and rage, good and bad, may become polarized, with only one or the other allowed into consciousness. Much energy must be directed toward keeping these feelings from coming into conscious awareness and finding places to lodge them safely.” (1989, p. 87)
Spontaneous behavior or expression – Behavior which contrasts with learned behavior. In mature humans a spontaneous expression is a direct and efficient expression of an impulse. It may be thought to be a direct manifestation of the inner self. See Inner Self, Mask Self, Lower self, Higher self, Expression
Spontaneous movement – The body’s movement in which the in voluntary component is well-integrated with the voluntary component. Spontaneous movement accounts, to a large extent, for what may be perceived as aliveness in the movement.
Stress positions – In bioenergetics, stress positions are designed to promote the confrontation of the individual with his or her structure, and the repressed emotions holding it together. The most common position is standing upright, knees slightly bent, weight on the centre to outside of the feet, belly relaxed (the “grounded” position); then fists pushed into the middle of the back (to open the chest region}; and head up and chin pushed slightly forward (assertion of the right to be/feel). This simple backward arch is one of the beginning stress positions; if the muscles are rigid or tense, the body cannot arch properly. See bioenergetics, Core Energetics, confrontation
Stringiness – A palpable tissue texture abnormality characterized by fine or string-like myofascial structures.
Style of life – A concept reflecting the organization of the personality, including the meaning individuals give to the world and to themselves, their fictional final goal, and the affective, cognitive, and behavioral strategies they employ to reach the goal. This style is also viewed in the context of the individual’s approach to or avoidance of the three tasks of life: other people, work, love, and sex.
Superficial Self – other word for Mask Self, False Self, Idealized Self Image or Unreal Self. Covers the Real Self. Self-confidence established through the idealized self is artificial.
Superego – The psychological structure that represents the internalization of the parents’ values and prohibitions and consequently those of the larger social cultural world. The mental structure that creates and maintains ideals, moral standards, values, prohibitions, and commands. It observes and evaluates the self’s compliance with these ideals and generates affects to encourage compliance. It generates the affects of guilt and shame.
Supervision – A relationship between a supervisor and a therapist to help the therapist more effectively engage in a purposeful relationship with a client or patient.
Symbol – The best possible expression for something essentially unknown. Symbolic thinking is non-linear, right-brain oriented; it is complementary to logical, linear, left-brain thinking.
Synchronicity – The relatedness of two events solely on the basis of their meaning to an individual, in the absence of any possible direct or indirect causal relation. This relatedness was held by Jung to be in some sense objective, how- ever, and not merely in the mind of the individual(s) perceiving the meaning. Pathologically: ideas of reference.
Teleology – Purposiveness, end directedness.
Temperament – Inborn reaction propensities composed of stimulus sensitivity, latency time, intensity of response, and dominant affect elicited.
Therapeutic alliance – The necessary condition for the progression of the psychodynamic work, consisting of an alliance between the patient’s higher developmental ego processes and the therapist’s facilitating analyzing ego, which alternately signifies the patient’s capacity for empathic attunement and active involvement in a joint effort toward the overcoming of the patient’s emotional conflicts, and further activates the patient’s ability to work cooperatively and purposefully toward the accomplishment of the therapeutic goals.
Therapeutic relationship – See therapeutic alliance
Titration – a concept that has been borrowed from chemistry, means meticulous regulation of the quantity of discharge energy at every moment, in order to control the return of traumatogenic experience, and in order not to replace a renegotiation of the traumatic experience by a traumatic cathartic replay.
Topographical model. An early model of psychoanalytic theory developed by Sigmund Freud which characterized mental phenomenon as being unconscious or conscious in postulated functions in a relationship to these qualities of mental life. This thinking included the ideas of systems unconscious, preconscious, and conscious. see ego, superego, unconscious
Transcendent – going beyond ordinary limits; surpassing; exceeding. superior or supreme. Theology (of the Deity) transcending the universe, time, etc.
Transference-countertransference – Particular cases of projection, commonly used to describe the unconscious, emotional bonds that arise between two persons in a therapeutic relationship.
Transparent Spirit – The awakened power of the Ground once it ceases being to any degree other in relation to the ego and becomes the ego’s higher Self: the ego’s higher will, wisdom, and love of others. Transparent Spirit corresponds to the stage of integration. See integration, power of the Ground, Self.
Transpersonal therapy – Humanistic approaches that accent spiritual and transcendent dimensions of psychological well-being.
Treatment contract – The conscious and explicit understanding between the therapist and the patient, which includes the number, frequency, and duration of sessions, the clinical foci of treatment, the roles of the patient and therapist, and the planning for contingencies such as illness, lateness, missed sessions, and acceptable and unacceptable contact for out of session and off hour emergencies and behavioral expectations, such as substance abuse.
True Self – James Masterson quotes D. Winnicott (Post-Freudian Psychoanalysts). “What is there that could be named a true self? A self-representation that is whole, both good and bad and based on reality, that is creative, spontaneous, and functioning through the mode of self-assertion to regulate self-esteem in an autonomous fashion.” (1981, p. 107) Winnicott used true self to describe a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience and a feeling of being alive, having a real self. See Essential Self, Real Self
Unconscious – Used both as a noun to describe hidden aspects of the mind and as an adjective to describe mental content that is not available to conscious awareness. Freud originally believed that the unconscious was a dynamic system within the mind that contained contents and activities representative of the drives that had never been conscious. Characteristics of the unconscious are that there is no negation, contradiction, or ambivalence and that unconscious thought follows idiosyncratic associative paths rather than logical connections. Although the unconscious is not available to direct inspection, derivatives can be seen in dreams, in slips of the tongue, and disconnected thoughts. Current psychoanalytic theory argues that aspects of psychic structure involving adaptation to reality, defenses, and moral judgement are unconscious. Mental content may also become unconscious through the operation of defenses against the experience of intrapsychic conflict. (See consciousness, defense mechanisms). C. G. Jung identifies two fundamentally different systems of unconsciously motivated response in the human being. One he terms the personal unconscious. It is based on a context of forgotten, neglected, or suppressed memory images derived from personal experience (infantile impressions, shocks, frustrations, satisfactions, etc.), such as Sigmund Freud recognized and analyzed in his therapy. The other he names the collective unconscious. Its contents—which he calls archetypes—are just such images as that of the hawk in the nervous system of the chick. No one has yet been able to tell us how it got there; but there it is! See Jung, collective unconscious, images
Undercharged – refers to the experience of having not enough energy charged up in the body to flow optimally. see bioenergetics
Ungrounded – refers to the experience of not being able to be fully in the reality of the present moment. This can occur when someone’s energy is not flowing optimally due to holding, leaking, overcharging, undercharging, splitting, etc. See grounding, holding, leaking, charge, splitting
Ungroundedness means the loss of connection to our bodies and the loss of the wisdom the body provides as to how to live life. Being grounded allows a much clearer perception of reality since a grounded person is less defended, more stable, and better able to connect to the world as it is. See grounding
Unmet Needs – A state of emotional deprivation which occurs when a person does not have one or more of the basic emotional needs met adequately during their childhood. See basic needs
Vegetotherapy – Reich’s therapy in which the mobilization of feeling through breathing and other body techniques activate the vegetative centers of the body and liberates vegetative energy. See ANS, energy, Reich
Vibration – A muscular experience. The aim of many bio energetic exercises is to achieve vibrations as a means of releasing muscular tension. These are involuntary spasmatic movements in the muscles, caused by increased circulation and an increased energy flow throughout the muscle. See bioenergetics
Vicious Circle – Psychologically speaking, a vicious circle is a self-perpetuating, repetitive pattern of negative, destructive, illusory attitudes which intensify one another. It originates in an image or misconception which separates us from the reality of a situation; as the vicious circle progresses, we get further and further away from correcting the original mistake. Take, for instance, somebody who has the misconception that the only way to defend himself against being hurt by others is to make them afraid of him. Even if he initially did not elicit hostile feelings, in his endeavor to frighten others he will certainly evoke them. This hostility will make him more threatening and tyrannical and he will use all new evidence to reconfirm his original misconception. Finally he is bound to have some unpleasant experience, which he will interpret as the result of his not having been “strong enough.” Thus he remains a prisoner of his vicious-circle and goes through the same experience again and again. See Pathwork, Core Energetics, Image
Will – Core Energetics tries to teach people to use their positive inner will, the will of the heart, to live in the present, and have choice in each moment to create their own lives. In the Pathwork a distinction between the Outer Will and the Inner Will is made. The inner will comes entirely from your higher self (from the solar plexus). The outer will comes partly from the intellect and partly from superficial soul regions. The outer will is often motivated by immature feelings, desires, reactions, and reasonings. The inner will is impeded because of the images, wrong conclusions, and misconceptions one carries in ones conscious and unconscious mind. The more the inner will is hindered, the more one tries to make up for it by strengthening the outer will. But the strength of the outer will is always unhealthy. It is a poor substitute, full of tension, anxiety, and impatience.
Window of Tolerance – Concept used in trauma therapy – Siegel (1999) defines a window of tolerance that facilitates sensory awakening by allowing the return of sensory information (paralysis, feelings of numbness, rigidity, hyper-agitation, irritability, turbidity of wakefulness/sleep), in a modulated way, without waking up terror associated with the traumatic experience. See Trauma
Wisdom – The combination of experience and knowledge, with the power of applying them or soundness of judgement in a person. See knowledge, higher self
Witness Figure – A PBSP hypothetical construct posited as a benign, caring figure who sees the emotions one shows on one’s face and body, gives them a name and places that emotion in the context that produces that emotion. The naming of the emotion is done by the therapist – who hopefully can accurately assess what is showing visually – but posited as a third figure in the room. See PBSP
Working memory – A type of short-term memory, often referred to as the “blackboard of the mind,” most often anatomically associated with the prefrontal cortex, that facilitates moment to moment perception, information processing, and explicit memory retrieval.
Working through – The process of applying insights from psychoanalysis to many different areas and to the working out of new compromise formations.
Worldview – Frame of reference based on a particular set of values and beliefs.