Shifting bodies - trouble moves
By sarah boreham, Nov 11 2014 05:48PM
I have often wondered about the concepts of cohesion and ambivalence in psychotherapeutic literature and practice , I have sometimes sensed moral judgement around such concepts as if balance or inbetween is in some way a position to escape, so my thoughts today are around what I would call a position of being on the edge or when shifts are taking place in a persons experience and how change reflects in the body.
I have had the opportunity to work with persons whose world and ground may be shifting, constantly changing and the ground moving under their feet rapidly.
The embodied feeling of instability or lack of solid ground, I have felt in my body when with clients with dementia, parkinsons disease, anxiety and mental health challenges. When I am with such a client I seem to notice a deep need in me to fall to the ground, curl up or wrap myself into or around a shell anything to form a protection with weight against what feels like a stormy sea moving inside of or around my body.
One client with described her illness; as a feeling of being in limbo another as her life slipping away from her and I wonder how I as a therapist can help a person to build a more secure ground for themselves, because my sense of feeling unsafe has been so strong in the presence of this. The paradox may be to be find solidity, whilst accepting that in certain ways our bodies, movement and lives are constantly changing and require a flexibility from us.
It is also curious that this lived experience may be viewed as justifiable fear or insecurity of loss may not fit into a psychoanalytical idea of resistance and stuckness, it seems that stillness, consistency and uneventfulness may be required in a fast spinning world in which we are literally pinned down by gravity or constant demands of perfection achievement and quick fix, an upgrade culture. As one client said, ‘ I just want to hold onto things … I don’t want to let go of things’. It reminded me of Marina Rova’s embodied research in dance movement psychotherapy and dementia called ‘De Mentis: Silent Stories’ (2010-2011), where a mover is embodying an experience of dementia, as she clings onto her memories, experiences and photos that are slipping away, dropped, lost, dispersed yet treasured.
In spiritual practices it is often chanted as a simple guide to life to let go of things and I have always been bothered by the lack of weight given to this kind of assertion as if it is as simple as taking a drink of water. My sense is that until we have felt enough of a meaningful experience with objects or in relationship it may be difficult to move on or let go and spontaneously attune and adapt.
Interesting article. Whilst reflecting on your points about stillness,consistency and uneventfulness as a source for stability, I felt a sense of clarity and groundedness within my body, reminding me of the power of the core as a source of navigating strength and stability.
The last paragraph regarding spiritual practices echoes some of my concerns. Whilst I believe in positive affirmations - I also believe that until you have experienced the source of the unrest at a felt sense level, until you truly connect with the unrest within and work through it no amount of positive affirmations are going to cause a meaningful change in life. Moreover, it may have the effect of creating a distance and a denial of the true self increasing the split between the body and mind.
thanks for your reflection, it is interesting how we can build a fuller picture with co-creating narratives and sharing reflections. I am going to check my email to see if I have your email address but please feel free to email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org co.uk if you are interested in further discussion, I've decided to use this piece of writing as the basis of a personal dance performance I am involved with in May.