Reaching for your deeper truth with the Postural Integration® process
In order to connect with the deeper truth of yourself, in order to live a loving, joyful & fulfilling life, we need to recognize how the body organizes its defenses, how it forms character patterns of restricted breath, muscular contraction, habitual movement as well as incomplete emotion and thought. To handle the shocks and traumas, all the continuing demands of our lives, we use characteristic attitudes and habits to try to hold ourselves together, to try to hold on, try to hold ourselves up, back or deep inside. While working with our breath and touching the deepest layers of our tissue, (Psychotherapeutic) Postural Integration® Practitioners help their clients learn where and how their persistent character armor defends the core and how to let it go. This process follows certain progressions and steps. Read here an elaborate explanation of Postural Integration within the context of a body psychotherapy.
The Postural Integration® Process
PHASE 1 - PARADIGM SESSION 1
"A NEW BEGINNING" - "OPENING UP - Upper body".
Our focus In Postural Integration is always and very much on the body as the ground of our being. In a first phase, at the body level, we want to open the superficial layers of connective tissue (fascia) that envelopes the muscles of the upper and lower half of the body. The "opening up" process is also a conscious and aware opening up to the emotional realm and the patterns of thought. Deep release of long held memories is facilitated in a warm, empathic and supportive therapeutic alliance. The focus is also on problems in the relationship with yourself and your relatives. This session can touch upon your bonding relationships, e.g. the relationship to your mother, etc. and deepen your awareness and understanding about your patterns of bonding. Work with fingers, hand, arm, and shoulder joints can reveal hidden and previously unconscious personal stories and histories around this part of your body, that with the help of psychotherapeutic methods are worked through.
PHASE 1 - PARADIGM SESSION 2
"A NEW BEGINNING" - "OPENING UP - Lower body".
Paradigm Session 2 is a continuation of Paradigm Session 1. This time we complete the work of "Opening" the Bodymind at the level of the superficial layer of fascia by working especially on the legs and thighs.
Gestalt work, Reichian breathwork and interventions to release the segmental bands of armour, work with acupressure points within a warm, empathic and supportive therapeutic relationship are furthered to assist the client to "ground" him or herself. This session brings awareness to the feet, and allows one to explore the literal relationship to the ground, the earth (your sense of stability, solidity, responsibility, trust, security, flexibility,... ). The work during this paradigm session (Usually more then one session are dedicated to this theme) can give you support in finding a new stance in your profession, or a new orientation towards your family: e.g. the roles you took on you as a mother/father, brother/sister, man/woman, etc. This session can also highlight historical problems with feet, ankles, knee and hip joints and help you deal with those.
Phase 2 - PARADIGM SESSION 3
"CLAIMING YOUR SPACE - "Lengthening of the body" - "Positioning the shoulders".
We are entering the second phase of the PI process. In essence, this phase of the growth work is about taking up your personal space as it was always meant to be. Release tensions in the sides of the body, the quadratus lumborum and release of pent up tensions and emotions in the shoulders help the individual to allow him or herself to be more present in space in relationship to significant others. Reaching out, allowing the longing of the heart, claiming the possibility to connect deeply with others are facets of work in this phase. Here you find a session that encourages you in finding better emotional boundaries and an improved capacity to feel your strength in your sides and how to communicate it in relationship to others. Many times you will get in touch with how you relate to your father and/or authorities. This focus can help you relax the pain you accumulate in your back or forms of headache; neck and shoulder problems may find relief; eye-sight improve. Work with the gallbladder meridian and the liver, can reveal issues around misuse or dependency of drugs and alcohol. Issues of relational co-dependency can also move to the foreground
Phase 3 - PARADIGM SESSION 4
"Deep Work" - RECLAIMING YOUR PELVIC POWER - "Reorganising the Pelvic area"
When we had enough work in Phases I and II ("Opening Up", "Lengthening" and "Taking Up right Space", we are slowly but surely ready for the "Deep Work". As a client you need to be "well engaged" now to "finish off" the transformative work. Working in the deep realms (also anatomically) of your being, is a significant enterprise. The work now is with the holding in the Pelvis and the core myofascial lines of tension in the core of the body
Paradigm Session 4 is concerned with release of the tensions on the inside of the legs. This is also the lower end of the pelvic structure. The adductors on the inside of the legs attach on the Sitzbones. Tension that has emotional and psychological connections with inhibitions in the field of sexuality, the problem of being able to allow oneself to be without fear in the "seat" of life. The ability to deeply trust oneself, the other and life and to relate in a sexually alive way are important focusses in this phase. This session usually touches upon inhibitions in the field of sexuality, emotional trauma around shame and abuse. Problems around the birth process or abortions can arise and dealt with. Unintegrated sexual experiences of adolescence, your relationship towards your own sex-gender to the other gender, can be expressed and become conscious. Physical fitness problems or psychological problems around the knees, the inside of the legs, the pelvis can be addressed and worked through in a way that you will find more flexibility and elegance in your way of being, even when times are hard.
Phase 3 - PARADIGM SESSION 5
"Deep work" - RECLAIMING YOUR PELVIC POWER- "Reorganising the Pelvic area"
At the level of the Body, Paradigm Session 5 is work with the "upper side" of the pelvis. The Iliopsoas muscles, the belly and the whole pelvic visceral content are now addressed
Deep seated trust, the feeling home and safe within oneself are the issues here. The belly, together with our heart is our very human core with possibilities of gentle strength, warmth, sexual groundedness. This work helps you reclaim the forces of your belly as well as the elegance and the grace of your hip movements, whether it be in the masculine or in the feminine expression. This session focusses you on any psychosomatic problem that is tied in with the intestines: "hypochondric" as it was called earlier means: hypo/under the chondrus: the sternum. Work with psychoperistaltic self-regulation, can help problems of digestion. Deep release can help problems with the urogenital system, such as bladder inflammation, prostate problems, etc. Overall a better relationship with the deep inner feelings of the belly can be developed and new tonicity of spirit can be found.
Phase 3 - PARADIGM SESSION 6
"Deep Work" - RECLAIMING YOUR PELVIC POWER "Reorganising the Pelvic Area
In Paradigm Session 6 we are still in the "Deep Work". Work in Paradigm Sessions 4, 5 and 6 are all needed to rebalance the pelvis and the core lines. In Session 6 - at the body level - we are dealing with the "rear" side (the buttocks), the outside and backside of the legs and the whole back
Tremendous holding and deep forces can be found here. Anger and aggression can be learned to be managed and expressed in contained and safe ways, helping the person to claim power and to "BE" in control. All the protective power in the back can be brought forward and a solid stance in life that is also sexually alive can be taken. In this session, many problems and memories relating to sport injuries, that involve your legs, such as football, jogging and athletics can be dealt with. Problems with the regulation of your emotions, issues around violence in former times, early childhood toilet training, difficulties with the pelvic floor, childbirth, even "essential hypertension," etc. can effectively be worked through in this paradigm session. Often this session brings huge release that people want it again and again, in order to find relaxation in the back-side problems and to find new relaxed and integrated ways of being embodied in life.
Phase 4 - PARADIGM SESSION 7
Reorganising head and neck.
Paradigm Session 7 is a separate Phase and at the body-level, involves work with the Neck and the Head. Work with these parts of the body can be done in bits in other sessions as well. When we really focus on the Head and neck however, we are dealing with the "life-force" in a special way.
The head is where we have our eyes, mouth, nose and ears. Our senses are strong up there. They allow us to orient ourselves, to take in to expel. What comes in and what comes out can be too much or too little. It can be overwhelming and out of control, or we can become over controlled and closed off sensitively.
Work with the head in PI helps you release the deep held emotions, to transform "the mask", and to claim "your true face". Work in the mouth and the nose, as well as work with the eyes are part of the process. Ways to bring our literally heavy head in a better balanced postion at the top of our body is also part of our care. You may want to confront painful problems related to the neck, the jaw or difficulties with your teeth - even when they relate to dentistry problems from long ago. You can learn to express through your eyes, and maybe find new ways of regulating your fear, or bring more compassion in your eye contact with others. All issues related to eyesight can be dealt with during this session; implicit, non-conscious memories from the perinatal period: e.g. developmental themes that arise as a consequence of having spent time in an incubator, early operations or moments of isolation during illness and disease.
Phase 5 - PARADIGM SESSION 8
Integration - Uniting all dimensions of Self
Again we enter in a new Phase now. This is called "The Integration Phase", where we develop the major Gestalts of Bodymind: Top-Bottom, Center-Periphery, Right-Left, Front-Back, Interior-Exterior
After we released all those held and mostly unconscious tensions in our body, after we have worked extensively with the breath and found our "free breath", "our excited and orgastic breaths", after we have been dealing with our inner processes in a gestalt manner, finding out that in our human form there is always some duality, some opposite sides that can be brought in dialogue with each other in order to create collaboration, unification and synthesis.
Then it will be possible, and the time will come that we can bring upper and lower parts of the body, left and right sides, back and front sides, inside and outsides into a deeper dialogue and connection-integration
"Bodyfoci or Paradigm sessions 8 and 9" are concerned with the bringing together of our upper and lower halves.>
Phase 5 - PARADIGM SESSION 9
Integration - Uniting all dimensions of Self
Paradigm session 9 is the continuation of Paradigm Session 8.
We learn to see, feel and move the body as a whole, as a synthesis of qualities from upper and lower body. With special "strokes", we unify our bodymind consciousness up and down. "I can be grounded below and free and mobile below" is one example of a possible dynamic. "I can be strong and present above and playful and careless below" or "I can be playful and all over the place alle over" are only few of the possibilities one can come to accept in ones self. While some may have experienced deep fears during the release sessions, now most of you will start to have a deeper sense of connectedness, connection of the different parts of the body, a sense of re-rooting in the richness of the bodies senses, a way to find more joy in movements and a more compassionate contact with someone close to you.
Phase 5 - PARADIGM SESSION 10
Integration - Uniting all dimensions of Self
Paradigm Session 10 is about integrating left and right sides, or in other words our integration in the vertical plane.
Left and right sides are only one other example of living in a dual reality. Lines of tension have crossed the midline, we can become increasingly aware of the left right relationship and with the help of specialised guidance of the practitioner you can now harmonise this plane of your existence. Also "inside" and "outside" are dualities that can become more balanced. Greater "Balanced Evenness" throughout the body can be found.
Phase 5 - PARADIGM SESSION 11
Further development of the Integration
The work is not finished. In the next sessions you can explore and increasingly claim your new found possibilities and sense of wholeness.
Maybe you started feeling "you are a tiger (or a tigress)". You can allow yourself to be a tiger! To really embody all the great qualities of the tiger you are. "Acting into" the possibility, feeling and moving your "tiger muscles". Tat tvam asi: "You are it". It is evident that spiritual sides of your self are more and more in play.
Phase 5 - PARADIGM SESSION 12
Vortex - Integration
Paradigm Session 12 helps you to bring you "Core qualities" in contact and relationship with the outside world, that has not necessarily changed.
Paradigm Session 12 is about being your whole "integer" self and taking courage to connect from a place of compassion-love to persons, groups or people or situations that have not necessarily changed, or even resist to do. This could include a new integration in your family, a better relation to your inner authority and less an outer authority or to a new vision of what is the true sense of your life under a transpersonal perspective.
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