Basingstoke and Kingston upon Thames
Ripeness - August 2014
When people ask me, “What is Biodynamic Psychotherapy?” I find it difficult to give a short but comprehensive answer, as there are many dimensions to the work I do. Writing now in late summer, at a time when fruit and grain crops are being harvested, it seems appropriate to explain the work in terms of “Ripeness” – a concept first advanced by Gerda Boyesen, the pioneer of Biodynamic Psychotherapy.
Perhaps you can take a moment to tune into this concept by thinking about one of your favourite fruits. If you can find it when it is perfectly ripe, it will be soft to touch, sweet and juicy to taste, easy to digest – and you will gain maximum nutritional benefit from it. If it is under-ripe it will be dry, hard, sour or bitter and it will be resistant to picking from the tree. If it is over-ripe you will see, smell and taste that it has started to rot or ferment – it may disintegrate when you try to take hold of it, or it may fall from the tree and become spoiled by bruising. And if, having judged that it is too far from ripeness, you decide to eat it anyway your stomach and gut may become quite upset!
When we look for physical, mental and emotional signs of “ripeness” in Biodynamic Therapy, we are looking for the places which are becoming softer and easy to release, the moments when the client is ready to welcome, rather than resist, the material which is presenting, the points in time when it will truly do them good to digest and integrate new experiences.
Working with the body using Biodynamic Massage, it is often possible to see and feel the “ripeness”, which can manifest (as with fruit) in changes of colour, moisture and texture in the tissues. Using an abdominal stethoscope as I work, the sounds of peristalsis in the gut can be heard at, or shortly after, the moment of release, signifying that the body has moved from a state of tension to a state of relaxation. (This physiological response at a visceral level is connected with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system which enables us to relax and rest, and we consistently observe that the gut is activated not only in the digestion of food, but also in the acceptance and processing of psychological experiences.)
Much of my work lies in helping clients, whose needs in early life were not fully met, to let go of coping mechanisms which no longer serve them - and in facilitating the experience of discovering and reaching out for what is “ripe for the picking” and will truly nourish and satisfy them now.
I offer short, medium and long term Biodynamic Psychotherapy to adult individuals. I also offer Biodynamic Massage as a short term therapeutic modality in its own right, and as a negotiable component of Biodynamic Psychotherapy.