The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series)

The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series)

The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series)

This book is designed to provide massage therapists and bodyworkers with a greater understanding of the psychological issues that can arise from using touch in their therapy sessions. The book describes the connection between the body and the mind, how touch affects this connection, the client’s emotional reaction and release, and how to respond to the client in an appropriate manner. The purpose of the book is to clearly define the scope of practice in this area for massage therapists, and bodyworkers.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. Catherine Edward said,

    Wrote on March 10, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

    47 of 51 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Informative, September 24, 2003
    By 
    Catherine Edward (Silver Spring, MD USA) –

    This review is from: The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series) (Paperback)

    It’s a fact that body and mind are not separate entities and an eventuality that massage therapists will encounter their clients’ emotional expression in some sessions. This book shares Elliot Greene?s and Barbara Goodrich-Dunn’s expertise, drawn from over thirty years experience each in dealing with body/mind phenomena and teaching why it comes about, what can happen, how it manifests in different forms, and other information about feelings and emotions that can arise during body work. The Psychology of the Body, written for massage therapists and anyone who works with the body, is a clear and concise book about a large and complex subject — the human organism. Because of its acuity, I think it is also a good book on the subject of Somatic Psychology in general.

    “Our entire mind is reflected in the body. Not only our conscious thoughts, but also our unconscious anxieties, insecurities, desires and other feelings, beliefs, thoughts and values are reflected in our bodies?. The activity in the unconscious ranges from material that we either cannot or do not need to be aware of, to material of which we do not want to be aware.” (Page 101).

    This is the central issue. Mental repression and resistance can hold uncomfortable or unwanted thoughts and feelings at bay from conscious awareness. However, feelings are an integral part of being human and will find bodily expression even when we use our minds to control bodily impulses and functions or feelings we think are negative (page 98). If held in resistance, feelings can exhibit in different ways outside our awareness and this shows in our bodies. Understanding how our psychological state is expressed in the body and how working with the body affects our psychological state as well as how our work is affected by the interaction between the mind and body is imperative for massage therapists.

    This book also addresses the problem of the massage therapist who does not know what to do or feels uneasy when a client has an emotional release. The massage venue is a logical place to experience and move through emotional expression because the somatic practitioner is releasing tension and working into the soft tissue, which sometimes also leads naturally to release and processing of held emotion. However, the therapist?s discomfort may reflect societies? perplexity with emotional expression, concluding, “it’s bad, it’s wrong, it’s too much, it will lead to insanity, etc.” This discomfort might cause the massage therapist to have an inappropriate reaction or “invalidating response” (page 114) to the client, which can reinforce the client’s blocking of his or her feelings. For example, if the massage therapist is uncomfortable or impatient with emotional expression, then that is what they impress on clients. They either discourage the client from a richer relationship with self or they loose the client to a more empathetic body worker.

    The other problem regarding dealing with emotional release is the massage therapist who responds by doing too much. The book explains how the massage therapist can make a balanced response that avoids either too much or too little caution.

    A major point of this book is the boundary between psychotherapy and massage therapy and explaining how the massage therapist can remain on the correct side of this boundary. For example, one distinction the authors identify is the difference between processing and handling psychological material (page 69). The massage therapist needs to learn to handle emotional expression appropriately when it occurs as a secondary and spontaneous result of the massage. This allows clients to have their emotion without being placated, frowned upon or rejected. A critical issue is that the massage therapist neither induces the emotional reaction nor processes the psychological material. The authors keep to this subject with good ordering and progression of material, practical exercises, and exacting description.

    Material ranges from information about the philosophy surrounding body/mind issues, the psychological implications of touch and physical sensation, psychological terms and mental health conditions that are defined without jargon or technical wording, the dynamic underlying therapist/client relationship, and the interrelationship between chronic psychological and physical patterns. In addressing psychological issues, they carefully explain the power differential between therapist and client and point out pitfalls, such as the therapist?s psychological inflation from the dramatic work and the client’s regard; in other words the attractiveness of the “healer archetype.” As the authors weave in and out of this material they never loose sight of exampling what is inside and outside of the massage therapist?s scope of practice.

    Of special importance to massage therapists is the description of the difference between armoring and tension. Tension can dissolve with bodywork but armoring is…

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  2. R. Volzer "risenstardust" said,

    Wrote on March 10, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Informative and well organized, February 28, 2011
    By 
    R. Volzer “risenstardust” (San Diego, CA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series) (Paperback)

    This book is well written and organized. Unfortunately my professors at school have been lacking in demonstrating good boundaries and this book really helped me put that in perspective and what to do about it. It explains topics very well. A bit dense for someone new to the topic, so spread out the reading. Otherwise, highly recommended!

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  3. S. McLain said,

    Wrote on March 10, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

    1 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent Transaction, March 26, 2007
    By 
    S. McLain
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series) (Paperback)

    My order was completed without any problems. All went well. Very good service. Thank you.

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