Treating the Mind Through the Body Body Psychotherapy. Part 2

This question led to a shallow and useless conversation regarding career, family and my skeptical bent. After this, Gumpel asked me to close my eyes again. She stated:

I want to tell you that there’s nothing magical about Rubenfeld synergy method, and it’s not a method that’s more than what happens between the two of us, you being an equal part of what happens here. So there is no magic and there is no hocus-pocus or anything special in secret that I’m doing to you. What I’m asking for is for you to move inside your body in a way that you let go of the outside and move into the inside and just notice how you live inside your body — notice your life force inside yourself, your breath.

Gumpel inquired if I noticed a “holding” or a “tension” anywhere in my body. I reported that my left shoulder felt as though it were curled upward. “So bring your awareness to your left shoulder,” she said. She asked me to imagine space. “Could you tell me what image you have?”

“A broad expanse of ocean,” I answered, “and a blue sky meeting it, and a white bird.”

“Does that white bird have anything to say?”

“No,” I responded. “Birds can’t talk.”

“If it could, what would it say?”

“‘Give me a worm,’ I suppose.”

Although I was uneasy, I did not worm out of the rest of the session. Toward its end, Gumpel stated:

What I hear you saying is that in a few ways you feel stuck. And I think the only thing that we can say about that, as far as Rubenfeld synergy method [is concerned], is that your body also responds to emotional “stuckness.” … [Rubenfeld synergy] really isn’t anything more profound than that — even though I think it’s a profound way to work, in that you “somatize,” or your body holds onto, being stuck, just as much as your mind does. You feel the “stuckness” in your body, ’cause you simply can’t think something without also something happening. So when you think on a subtle level, you have some change in the body. Sometimes it’s a gross change. … If you think you’re going to be killed, what goes on in your body is pretty traumatic. If you think that you’re not going to be killed but [that] you’re going to be hurt, something happens. If you think that you’re going … to feel really good — like if you see an ice cream cone and you think you’re going … to eat it — something goes on in the body.

So your body responds to emotions, whether they’re externally generated or internally provoked. So your body holds onto what happens to you. Your body responds to what happens to you.

That the body responds to stressors is a truism, and I so informed Gumpel. But she maintained that memories are stored in every part of the body. She explained that women who are sexually abused or raped “hold the story in their pelvis.”

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