Come celebrate with us this weekend! TODAY is last day to register.

Hi everyone,

Toward a More Peaceful World is this coming weekend and as gentle reminder, online registration ends this evening, January 14 at 11p.

My recent emails have emphasized the 2-day workshop being presented by Dr. David Berceli, but that isn’t the only great thing happening this weekend. The Living Ubuntu Birthday Celebration will be Saturday evening and registration for that is separate from the workshop. So if for some reason you can’t make it to the workshop – come celebrate with us in the evening!

We have gotten amazing donations for the silent auction. Need an iPad? Acupuncture? Wine tasting? Come place your bid! Plus we have several Ubuntu-themed activities that we think you will really enjoy, and of course lots of really tasty, great food too ;)

Net proceeds will benefit Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego. Make sure to register by 11p tonight so you can join us in having a great time Saturday evening and help support this critically important project all at the same time.

And if for some reason you just can’t be there this weekend, support the project by donating here.

Grateful for your continued engagement and support,

Barbara English, LMFT
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005
[Ubuntu] n. a person is a person through other persons

***
Two incredible events — register for both by 11p TONIGHT!

Celebrate Living Ubuntu’s 10th Birthday!

Toward a More Peaceful World

Dr. David Berceli and Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)

A 2-day workshop January 17-18 | An evening celebration January 17

Golden West College
15744 Goldenwest St
Huntington Beach, California, 92647

Net proceeds will benefit Living Ubuntu’s Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego.

Open to the public. CEUs available for LMFTs and LCSWs.

Click here for more info or to register by January 14.

Much gratitude to all of our partners, donors and sponsors!

LIVING UBUNTU
GOLDEN WEST COLLEGE PEACE STUDIES PROGRAM
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE FOR BIOENERGETIC ANALYSIS
CARL WILKENS FELLOWSHIP
THE GRAIN PROJECT
I-ACT
SAN DIEGO TRAUMA-INFORMED GUIDE TEAM
TRE, LLC
BLUE HEART COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE
BRIDGETTE HANNING
BUDDHAMOUSE EMPORIUM
COSTCO
CUMMINS & WHITE, LLP
LARA MONTAGNE PHOTOGRAPHY
MIDAN AL TAHRIR
MOTHER’S MARKET
PRP WINE INTERNATIONAL
STAPLES
STEVE KAYE PHOTOGRAPHY
SWEET SENSATIONS
THE LIVING TEMPLE
WHOLE FOODS
***

Toward a More Peaceful World: A 2-day TRE Workshop with Dr. David Berceli & Living Ubuntu’s 10th Birthday Celebration, January 17-18 in Orange County

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External conflict comes to an end with the dawn of internal peace.
 – David Berceli
LIVING UBUNTU
GOLDEN WEST COLLEGE PEACE STUDIES PROGRAM
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE FOR BIOENERGETIC ANALYSIS
CARL WILKENS FELLOWSHIP
THE GRAIN PROJECT

I-ACT
SAN DIEGO TRAUMA-INFORMED GUIDE TEAM
TRE, LLC
 

Celebrate Living Ubuntu’s 10th Birthday!

Toward a More Peaceful World

Dr. David Berceli and Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)

A 2-day workshop and evening birthday celebration

Saturday January 17 – Sunday January 18, 2015

Golden West College
15744 Goldenwest St
Huntington Beach, California, 92647

2-Page Event Flyer

Click Here to Register Now

2-Day TRE Workshop with Dr. Berceli
Saturday January 17 – Sunday January 18

9a-4:30p each day

Registration through January 14 for:
2-day & Celebration: $280.00
2-day & Celebration – group rate: $210.00 per person
2-day only: $260.00

2-day only – group rate: $190.00
1-day only (Saturday): $160.00

(Day-of registration is subject to availability, 1-day-Saturday-only: $200.00, 2-day: $300.00)
Open to the public.
CEUs available for LMFTs & LCSWs (see below. for details).
Golden West College Humanities Building #107
campus map – free parking in lots I and J
*** If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us***

Evening Birthday Celebration
Saturday January 17

6p-8:30p

Evening Birthday Celebration (through January 14): $40.00
At-the-door: $50.00
Golden West College Student Center
campus map
free parking in lots I and J

Click Here to Register Now

Net proceeds will benefit Living Ubuntu’s
Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego.

Coming from out of town? The Hotel Huntington Beach [hotelhb.com], 1 mile from Golden West College, has rooms available at the reduced rate of $119.00 per night. Call the hotel at 1-714-891-0123 by no later than December 16, 2014 (extended!) December 31, 2014 and say you are with “Living Ubuntu” to reserve a one- or two-bed room. This rate is not available by registering on the hotel website.

Questions? Contact us: info@livingubuntu.org, .

Cancellation Policy: Fees are refundable less $10.00 processing fee, if written request received by January 10, 2015.

More about the workshop

2-day TRE Workshop with Dr. David Berceli
Saturday January 17 & Sunday January 18
9a-4:30p each day

Dr. David Berceli is coming to Southern California! Our good friend and international trauma expert, Dr. Berceli, creator of Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) has graciously accepted our invitation to join our celebration by giving a 2-day workshop. We are very excited about this opportunity as it was meeting Dave and learning TRE that prompted us to start Living Ubuntu in the first place.

We are grateful for the endorsement of the Golden West College Peace Studies Program. Dr. Berceli has spent much of his life in many of the world’s worst conflict zones teaching conflict resolution and trauma recovery. Beyond his global expertise, he brings a contagious optimism for increasing healing in ourselves and in those around us. He is uniquely suited to helping us deepen our understanding of what is required to bring about a more peaceful world.

Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) is an easy to learn body-centered method created by Dr. David Berceli. Successfully used in many different countries and conflict zones, it is a simple technique that helps release stress or tension from the body that accumulates from every day circumstances of life, difficult situations, immediate or prolonged stressful situations, or traumatic life experiences (e.g., natural disasters, social or domestic violence, PTSD). Symptoms of unresolved trauma or chronic stress may include difficulties such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, body pain or trouble concentrating.

TRE consists of six simple exercises that help individuals release tension from the muscles, which in turn relaxes the anxiety of our minds, by evoking a muscular shaking process in the body. The exercises elicit this shaking in a controlled and sustained manner. When evoked in this way, this shaking, also called “neurogenic tremors“, begins to release deep chronic muscular tension held within the body.

These exercises are similar to and draw from the experience and wisdom of other traditions such as: Bioenergetics, Yoga, Tai Chi and other martial arts and Eastern practices.

David Berceli, Ph.D. is an international expert in the areas of trauma intervention and conflict resolution. He is the creator of Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE).  This revolutionary technique is designed to help release the deep tension created in the body during a traumatic experience or through chronic stress.  He is also the energetic and creative founder and CEO of Trauma Recovery Services.

Dave has spent two decades living and working in nine countries providing trauma relief workshops and designing recovery programs for international organizations around the world.  He has lived and worked extensively in Israel/Palestine, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, and Lebanon. He is fluent in English and Arabic.

David is unique in that he holds a solid academic and experiential grounding in therapeutic body-work and psychotherapy, including training in Bioenergetic Analysis. He integrates that with a keen understanding of the intertwining dynamics of religion and ethnic customs.  This combination has allowed him to develop unique and specific processes that enable people from all parts of the world to manage and move beyond personal trauma as well as bring healing and reconciliation between diverse groups.

2-day-workshop-syllabus

See also:

***

  • Please wear soft, flexible clothing that does not restrict breathing or movement.
  • Optional: Some of the exercises are done lying on the floor. While the workshop room is carpeted, please feel free to bring a mat or blanket to lie on to increase your comfort.
  • Workshop content and participation in somatic exercises, while safe and effective, could lead to physical or emotional upset. Each participant needs to stay within their own physical and emotional ability.

***

Continuing Education for LMFTs & LCSWs: Each day of workshop attendance meets the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Southern California Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis (SCIBA) is a BBS approved provider #PCE602.

More about the celebration

Evening Birthday Celebration
Saturday January 17
6p-8:30p

In addition to the workshop all day Saturday and Sunday, we are hosting a Saturday evening event to celebrate Living Ubuntu’s 10th birthday. This will give us a chance to have some fun together, reflect back on the past ten years, and look forward to our continued local work with some of the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Over the years, Living Ubuntu has hosted many events that focused on very serious topics. Amidst living in a world where there are so many challenging issues, this full-of-heart birthday celebration will give us a chance to lighten up, connect, relax and play — well-timed after a day of TRE taught by Dr. Berceli in the day-time workshop.

Click Here to Register Now

Much gratitude to all of our partners, donors and sponsors!

LIVING UBUNTU
GOLDEN WEST COLLEGE PEACE STUDIES PROGRAM
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE FOR BIOENERGETIC ANALYSIS
CARL WILKENS FELLOWSHIP
THE GRAIN PROJECT
I-ACT
SAN DIEGO TRAUMA-INFORMED GUIDE TEAM
TRE, LLC
BLUE HEART COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE
BRIDGETTE HANNING
BUDDHAMOUSE EMPORIUM
COSTCO
CUMMINS & WHITE, LLP
LARA MONTAGNE PHOTOGRAPHY
MIDAN AL TAHRIR
MOTHER’S MARKET
PRP WINE INTERNATIONAL
STAPLES
STEVE KAYE PHOTOGRAPHY
SWEET SENSATIONS
THE LIVING TEMPLE
WHOLE FOODS

Questions? Contact us: info@livingubuntu.org, 949.891.2005.


Ubuntu: a person is a person through other persons

Ubuntu [ubuntu] n. South African: Humanity or fellow feeling; kindness.

Why do we put down “feelings”?

People don’t think any more, they feel.  ‘How are you feeling?’  ‘Oh, I don’t feel comfortable.’  ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, we the group were feeling…’

Do you know one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?  Now thoughts and ideas, that interests me.  Ask me what I’m thinking…

– Margaret Thatcher in the film, The Iron Lady (2011)

Hello everyone,

Once upon a time, in a place not far from here, a group of Darfur, anti-genocide activists went to visit a Congressional aide.  When a member of the group delivered an impassioned plea for intervention and tears came to her eyes as she expressed her heartbreak and anger that innocent children were being bombed by the Sudanese government, contempt for feelings ruled the day, and arrogance reigned supreme as she was told by the aide, “these decisions need to be made by grown-ups”.  A few sentences later, the aide added platitudes, referencing the role of the U.S. government as “we’re doing all we can.”

Having witnessed the above exchange, I couldn’t disagree more with Ms. Thatcher that, “…one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

Why are we so afraid of feelings?  Why so much disrespect and suspicion of them?

I don’t know what happened in Margaret Thatcher’s life that led to such contempt of feelings, but she is not a rarity in her perspective.  Yet, she is targeting the wrong enemy.  Feelings, per se, are not the culprit.

It is a myth that we lose the ability to think rational thoughts, have sound judgment, choose wisely, or are ‘less adult’ when we are emotional.  Feelings are not irrational, immature or mere ‘fluff’.  There would be no warm, empathic relating, or enjoyment of life without them.  Feelings are a necessary companion on the path to knowing who we are and in the pursuit of compassionate wisdom.  They take us beyond the dry and dull to infuse ideas with passion and ‘life’.  Feelings contribute the heart and essential humanness so that we do not fall victim to the cold, calculating, slice-and dice, cut-off automaton influences of a left-brain-only, logical, linear thought process.

Where we get into trouble is when we are not in a well-regulated state, or lack sufficient groundedness in our body.  Then we are at risk to be unable to contain our emotional states.  Feelings can become overwhelming, hi-jack our senses, and unplug the rational.  Chronic stress, and unresolved traumatic experiences only make it worse.

We live in a society that over-values the head at the expense of the heart.  We pay too high a price if we just go along with that.  To counter-balance this, able to feel our feelings and keep our heart open, we’ve got to be able to stay in tune with the body’s sensations.  But how?

That is what we will be working on in our upcoming body group series – Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough: Bringing the body back to life.  All details are below and on our website.  I hope you will join us.

Warmly and with feeling,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

.* * *
.

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn’t enough

Bringing the body back to life

Sometimes ‘a head’ just isn't enough

Why is there so much resistance to feeling our feelings?

Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with our bodies?
Why do we obsess about how we look rather than how we feel?
Why is it so hard to slow down?
Why don’t we stop to feel our tiredness?
Why do we pursue success and accomplishment at the expense of relationships?

Living Ubuntu Body Group
February – May 2013
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA

Starts Sunday, Feb 24th
see all dates »

Find out more at
http://livingubuntu.org/events

Questions?  Please contact us at (949) 891-2005 or info@livingubuntu.org

###

Expansion, contraction and the horror of it all

The defenses we erect to protect us create the very condition we are trying to avoid.  Thus, when someone builds a castle to protect his liberty, he ends up as a prisoner in his own castle because he dares not leave it.
– Alexander Lowen

Hi everyone,

Two weeks have passed and it is clear that the tragic mass shooting that took place Friday, December 14th, in Newtown Connecticut, continues to be a national heartbreak.  Within that it is obvious already that we are not all the same when it comes to how we respond to an event of such magnitude.

While a father who lost his daughter appeared the next day to give a loving tribute to her and speak of coming together in compassion, others have already begun to dig their heels in on both sides of the gun control debate.

Within my early learning of Bioenergetics, a type of relational, somatic psychotherapy, I was profoundly impacted by what I learned.  Two things in particular come to mind for me at this time.

First is how the human organism alternates between expansion and contraction.  In response to pain, we have a tendency to tighten up and pull in.  When it feels safe enough, we release what we have been holding, and venture back out, becoming more expansive.

At times we can see these rhythmic alternating cycles take place across our society.  Is the national response to tragedy to get tight, pulled in and contracted?  Do we bolster up our defenses, increase our fear of one another, and rationalize that a form of me vs. you is the only way to survive?

Or, is there another type of response?  Is it possible for a more open, compassionate response to take over?  Can we step out and draw closer to one another?  Can we still find it within us to take a risk by admitting to the innate vulnerability of being human?  Can we find our way to being strengthened not through armor or weapon, but by increasing our connectedness, one to another?

The second thing, supported by the brilliant differentiation that comes through in the writing of Alexander Lowen, the founder of Bioenergetics, is horrorNowhere else have I ever heard someone discuss the difference between terror and horror, let alone the difference as it is experienced within the body.

While terror involves the extreme overwhelming fear that comes when our own life is threatened, we experience horror when we are witness to such a situation.  Terror will activate the fight-flight survival mechanisms of the body, but that is not necessarily what happens in horror.  Horror takes us into being witness to something so inhuman we cannot process it. It stuns our mind as we seek to comprehend the incomprehensible.

The problem with horror is, most of the time, we block it with platitudes.  We come up with defensively motivated statements to minimize and dismiss it, such as, “well, that’s just what happens in life… that’s just the way it is…”

The secondary problem with blocked horror is that we stop fully registering it.  This puts us into a state to stop noticing it for what it is, and thereby to become more able to perpetrate horrors upon others without realizing it.  In interpersonal situations one of the most commonplace, yet insidious forms of horror is acting out coldness toward one another, normalizing the abnormal so that disconnection is shrugged off and accepted.

Why would we choose to feel our own pain if we could avoid it?

I would suggest that it is only way to live.  It is in registering the pain and going through it that we can land in a different place of acceptance and increased compassion.

We must go through our fear together, thereby increasing our ability to stay open in spite of it.  It is by increasing our connection to one another that we are best equipped to face the future, deepening our understanding of the ills we face in this life, and able to resist the temptation to perpetually build more and more, ever-thicker, well-armed defenses.

Warmly,

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n.  Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human being.

Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat (January 2013)

“If only . . .”

Grief and the long, long, long road to acceptance…

“If only I was prettier, then he’d want me.”
“If only I could find the ‘right’ way to say it, then she’d understand.”
“If only I can be there for her enough, I could save her.”
“If only I keep quiet, it’ll all work out in the end.”
“If only I just keep going, I know it’ll be ok.”
“If only I could get a better _______, my family would be proud of me.”

Some aspects of life are hard to accept ‘as is’, yet, there are limits on what we can influence or control.  In this society, we frequently go to great lengths to avoid painful realities, and we avoid the very thing that would help us reach acceptance, being at peace with ‘what is’.  Far too often, we don’t grieve. 

We see it in:

  • the chronic seeking to win acceptance of those who have rejected us by pleasing, performing and doing everything possible to try to finally be deemed worthy, loveable and good-enough.
  • the downcast eyes and low energy of collapse when resignation has set in.
  • the oppressive wielding of power as a weapon, heels dug in, tightened fists and jaw defiantly refusing to give up, insisting they are going to “make it happen”.
  • those who perceive ‘justice’ as ‘revenge’.
  • the refusal to be vulnerable.
  • the denial of normal human limitations.
  • the defense against recognizing the helplessness of life and accepting the fragility inherent in living an ‘alive’ human life.

We give up when we ought to hang in there, and we refuse to let go when surrender would be best.  Either way, we lose.

If we don’t grieve well, we stay stuck in our illusions. We fight the wrong demons. We’re chronically unfulfilled because we reach for the thing that isn’t what we really want.

Underneath, we have angst. We have quiet desperation. We stay busy because we don’t know what else to do.  We have lost access to the natural rhythm of life.  We can’t even hear our own wise inner-knowing.

We don’t really live.  We don’t really love.  At least, not in the ways we could…

We need to grieve… and… we can’t do it alone.

This is what we’ll be addressing in our Winter Retreat in January.  All details are below.  To create an emotionally safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to 10 people.  Hope you will join us.

If only we could think of the right thing to say, people would come to our retreat…

:) Barbara & Anshul
Founders, Living Ubuntu
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
– Hermann Hesse

* * *

2013 Living Ubuntu Winter Retreat

The retreat will be in Julian, CA. Click to see more pictures of the cabin.

When:
Friday to Sunday, January 25–27 2013

Where:
Julian, CA.  Here are the cabin details.

Cost:
$195 per person. This includes food and lodging for the weekend.
If there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us. We will do our best to accommodate your situation.

Presenter:

Barbara English is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field. As a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist, she works from a mind-body perspective, and utilizes relational somatic methods as part of the process toward healing and a sense of well-being. Much of her training has focused on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and healing after abuse or trauma. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Living Ubuntu.

Like at our past retreats, we will:

  • Arrive at the cabin by mid-day on Friday and leave for home on Sunday afternoon. We will arrange a carpool to drive up together (leaving Friday morning).
  • Lunch and dinner will be provided, as well as supplies for breakfast (on your own).  Meals will be vegetarian, and organic as much as possible.
  • The daily schedule will include multiple sessions of body work (e.g. Bioenergetic grounding exercises, and TRE).
  • Most bedrooms will be shared (i.e. with roommate).
  • To create a safe, secure space, we are limiting attendance to no more than 10 people.

To register, please contact us at info@livingubuntu.org or call (949) 891-2005.

Space is limited and 50% deposit is due by December 21, payable to Living Ubuntu, 1151 Dove Street #210, Newport Beach CA 92660.

* * *

Why is joy, satisfaction and “aliveness” so elusive?

“A body is forsaken when it becomes a source of pain and humiliation instead of pleasure and pride.  Under these conditions the person refuses to accept or identify with his body.  He turns against it.  He may ignore it or he may attempt to transform it into a more desirable object by dieting, weight lifting, etc.  However, as long as the body remains an object to the ego, it may fulfill the ego’s pride, but it will never provide the joy and satisfaction that the “alive” body offers.

… The first difficulty that one encounters… [most] are not aware of the lack of aliveness in their bodies.  People are so accustomed to thinking of the body as an instrument or a tool of the mind that they accept its relative deadness as a normal state. …what is important is how the body feels.”

– Alexander Lowen, founder of Bioenergetics

Hi everyone,

It’s hard not to get overwhelmed with our chronically busy stressful lives.  Lately, it seems more and more people are going through unusually difficult times.

We all strive for peace, yet it remains elusive.  We try hard to change our patterns, “I have learned from the past”, “I’m not going to repeat the same mistakes as my parents, I will do it differently, better…”, yet somehow time and time again we find ourselves stuck in the same place.

Why is lasting change so difficult?

In Living Ubuntu, we have a deep conviction that true, genuine change requires not only awareness and insight into the problem, but requires change in the body.  Yes, the body.  Our patterns, and behaviors are not just driven by our all-powerful minds, but are structured into our bodies.  Sadness, loneliness, anger, overwhelm are not just experienced in our psyches, but show up as tension and pain in our body (belly, lower back, shoulders, jaw).

This is why we incorporate body-centered methods (e.g. Bioenergetics, TRE) in most events that we organize in Living Ubuntu.

I hope you will join us for our upcoming retreat in October.  It is a time to get away from the regular rigmarole of life, to focus on our self, our relationships, community and the world.  Plus Idyllwild is beautiful this time of the year :)

All details are on our website.  To create an emotionally safe space, we are limiting attendance to no more than 10 people.  If there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us.  We are a not-for-profit organization and we will do our best to accommodate your situation.

Warmly,

Anshul Mittal
Co-founder, Living Ubuntu
http://livingubuntu.org
(949) 891-2005

 [Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings. 

* * *

When We Become The Thing We Hate

How our trauma and unhealed wounds erode empathy, fuel fear, and create “others”

When we become the thing we hate: How our trauma and unhealed wounds erode empathy, fuel fear, and create “others”

The Living Ubuntu Fall Retreat will be in Idyllwild, CA.

When:
Friday, Oct 26 – Sunday, Oct 28

Where:
Up in the mountains of Idyllwild, CA

Find out more about the 2012 Living Ubuntu Fall Retreat »

* * *

Bioenergetics vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (and most traditional therapies)

Time and time again we are asked why we focus on the body in our work in Living Ubuntu.  Below is an explanation by Alexander Lowen, founder of Bioenergetics.

Alexander LowenAt the outset it must be recognized that most therapeutic efforts fail to help the individual resolve his conflicts and find peace of mind. In my opinion, there are two basic reasons for this failure. One is a lack of understanding by the therapist of the nature of the problem, and the second, related to the first, is too great a dependence on insight to change behavior.

Throughout this book I have emphasized that one needs to look at the body, to observe its movements and read its expression, to understand the individual and to evaluate and treat emotional disturbances. These disturbances are structured in the body and manifested in its loss of gracefulness. An analysis or therapy that focuses largely on the presenting complaint or symptom is not a holistic approach because it does not comprehend the whole individual. The goal of gracefulness cannot be achieved by working solely through the mind. It is a mistake to believe that deep emotional conflicts can be resolved through conscious reasoning alone.

The far greater part of our actions and behavior is governed by feelings and impulses of which we may or may not be aware. Analysis attempts to bring these unconscious forces, threatening as they may be, to consciousness. Psychoanalysis depends largely on free association, slips of the tongue, the interpretation of dreams, and the analysis of transference to shed light on the unconscious. Jungian analysis relies more heavily on dream interpretation. But because such methods are indirect, in most cases they do not reach deep enough. Even if patients become aware of some of their unconscious motivations, such insight does not generally lead to significant change. Neurotic attitudes and behavior are largely structured in the body by chronic muscular tensions over which the mind has no control. These tensions have to be released before any real resolution of conflict can occur.

Bioenergetics is a more powerful and effective technique than analysis alone because it offers a more direct route to the unconscious. By reading the body’s language, the therapist is able to see a patient’s personality conflicts immediately in areas of rigidity and chronic tension. By working with the body as described in earlier chapters, the patient learns to sense these tensions and to get in touch directly with his unconscious. Such an approach does not neglect the use of verbal analysis, including the interpretation of dreams and the analysis of resistance and transference, but its primary focus is the body. Rigidity is softened, chronic tensions are released, and the body is freed to feel the life of the spirit. In effect the body recovers its natural gracefulness.

In most cases a person cannot accomplish this alone. Feelings that have been suppressed are generally too frightening to be experienced without the support and understanding of a therapist, who acts as a guide to the patient’s unconscious. How good a guide he is depends on the extent to which he has explored the unknown world of his own unconscious. I like to compare the therapeutic experience with Dante’s account of his adventures in The Divine Comedy. When the poet finds himself lost in a wood with three wild beasts ahead of him, he calls upon Beatrice, his protector in heaven. Because the way home passes through hell and purgatory. Beatrice sends the Roman poet Virgil to guide him. As they traverse hell, Dante sees the punishments visited upon sinners. The passage is dangerous because a false step could leave him stuck in one of hell’s pits. Only with Virgil’s guidance does Dante make it safely through hell and purgatory. The patient in therapy goes through a similar experience on the path to self-knowledge and health. His own private hell consists of the painful feelings he suppresses in the interest of survival despair, panic, rage, humiliation. The chronic muscular tensions these suppressed feelings cause cannot be fully released until the feelings are brought to consciousness and expressed. That process requires the help of a therapist who has traversed his own hell, learning its dangers and finding his own way out.

From Spirituality of the Body by Alexander Lowen, M.D. Pg 74-75.

Alexander Lowen is a world renowned psychiatrist and the creator of Bioenergetic Analyis, the revolutionary therapy that uses the language of the body to heal the problems of the mind.  He has authored 14 books including Narcissism, Betrayal of the Body, Joy, Bioenergetics, The Way to Vibrant Health, Pleasure, Language of the Body and Honoring the Body.