Dirk Marivoet is a Body Psychotherapist, Psychomotor Therapist and PT specialised in mental health with over 35 years of experience. He is the founder and director of the International Institute for Bodymind Integration (Ghent, Belgium; organisational member of EABP) where he also maintains his private praxis as a body psychotherapist. He is a faculty member in different schools for Body Psychotherapy and member of the Core Science Foundation which supports Body Psychotherapy research.
In the light of Polyvagal Theory this talk proposes a new conceptualization of how to integrate bodywork and body psychotherapy in order to address the whole sensory-motor-affective system and the soma-psychic adaptations and coping mechanisms.
With an understanding that present consciousness is a tapestry woven of threads of memory, the presentation illustrates a protocol that simultaneously works with the support of breathing (e.g. secure, nurturing, exploring, free, excited, etc. types of breathing), co-regulating interactions between client and practitioner (the use of human connectedness as a biological imperative), the simultaneous careful and systematic stimulation of the fascial system — coordinating the release of outer layers and inner layers of procedurally-learned somatic patterns and repetitive body responses to different emotions and contexts (including those of defending one’s self, setting boundaries, retracting, fighting, fleeing and freezing), the use of play scenes on the therapeutic stage (or “movies”) and meaning-making.
Building on the developmental issues within Alexander Lowen’s and John Pierrakos’ character structure frameworks (which were adapted from Reich’s armoring theory), and Jack Painter’s model of “the natural flow of energy” in 9 steps) we will also see how a stronger and more secure connection between the pelvic energies and the social engagement system can be established, helping clients to reorient their nervous system (opening up pathways of movement and flow in the body to begin counteracting the constriction of fight, flight, and freeze) towards a greater capacity to experience secure excitement, connectedness and pleasure in which the masculine and the feminine polarities want to come together. Any energies, thoughts, or feelings that are outside of the ego’s capacity to regulate (they are termed “unbounded,” and tend to be frightening to people) can thus be integrated. The healing lies in creating “new memories” so that the client can build resources with the appropriate foundation and allowance to perceive the world differently.