Embodiment in Group Therapy: From IQ to WeQ—Together We Are Stronger!
The brain is a relationship organ. We not only enter into contact with the thinking appliance of another individual, but also into resonance with the body. In principle, people cultivate two types of relationship: one to themselves (self-reference) one to others (interaction reference). Over the course of our life history we develop an inner picture of ourselves and of the world in which we live. We have experienced what we have to do and not do to satisfy our needs, maintain relationships and avoid, as far as possible, unpleasant emotions and tensions. Frustrating relationship experiences have left (emotional) scars which we are anxious to protect. Nobody wants to relive the pain of previous rejections and frustrations. We avoid the “terror zone” with diverse, often creative behaviour strategies. When we come closer to others, however, the two scar tissues make contact. They touch and rub against each other, and this can lead to pain. The embodiment concept understands every organism as being “fully embodied” in its body with all of its thinking, acting and feeling, and “embedded” in its environment, e.g., in a group. Our approach uses the latest research results for a very special intervention architecture. Problematic life issues are made visible with body and soul in a protected (therapy) room. The application of embodiment techniques in group therapy is more than just talking: emotions can be generated and regulated (bottom-up) via the body, and the body also helps with the development of a new attitude towards oneself and one’s life, always in direct contact with others. The body thus becomes a stage for shaping relationships on which the Survival Strategies of all the protagonists are played out. We use it for the modulation of a new attitude to central life issues and the associated problems, as a feedback instrument and a resonance organ. During all of this our roots remain firmly connected with the fertile soil of CBT. We reflect, dispute and structure along with our clients (top-down) their insights, attitudes and thoughts. The promotion of synchrony in social interactions makes an improvement of the emotional regulation possible and, in this way, we bring a lot of movement into the room on all levels. Improving the emotion regulation, gaining greater access to one’s own feelings and needs, and developing a values-oriented approach to problem resolution in everyday life are the aims of this group program. Nobody takes this often stony road alone!
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