Biodynamic Psychology

Within each of us is the possibility to lead a content and conscious life.

Biodynamic Psychology is one of the oldest methods of body psychotherapy in Europe, which, along with Alexander Lowen’s bioenergetic analysis developed in the USA, laid the foundations for today’s body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy. Founded by the Norwegian psychologist and physiotherapist Gerda Boyesen and further developed by her daughters Ebba and Mona Lisa Boyesen, it is now practised in many countries around the world. It is a depth-psychologically founded, body-oriented form of therapy and is based on the early libido theories of Freud as well as the work of C. G. Jung and Wilhelm Reich.

Biodynamic psychology is a biological theory of psychology that is interested in the organic connections between body and psyche. For Biodynamic Body Psychotherapy, psychological principles are not just theories and concepts, but actual energetic forces that can be organic and neurological reality. The term “biodynamic” recalls the concept that life energy is in natural and spontaneous flow (bios means life, dynamic means force); life energy is the force that moves us and brings us to life on all levels: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

Sigmund Freud suggested in his early libido theories that the phenomenon of psychic energy was the dynamic force of the sexual instincts. Wilhelm Reich took this idea further by assuming that this energy was of cosmic origin. He called it orgone energy, which makes itself felt as an energy current in the body and has a direct influence on the autonomic nervous system and its vegetative function. His work became the origin of body-oriented psychotherapy today.

Biodynamic psychology is a continuation of the work of Sigmund Freud’s libido theory and a further development of Wilhelm Reich’s orgonomy and vegetotherapy, which pointed to the fundamental connections between body and psyche and saw every pathology as a disturbance of bioenergy, which expresses itself in character and muscle armour and psychosomatic illnesses.

Psychological problems, psychosomatic symptoms and diseases are therefore clear signals that something is wrong with our lives.

Based on the assumption that all psychological states are therefore “embodied” in some form, in biodynamics the psyche and the body are seen as two sides of the same life process. The whole organism is seen as a storehouse of experience and a repository of the unconscious and, moreover, as capable of self-regulation and self-healing.

One of the most significant contributions of Biodynamic Psychology in contrast to other body psychotherapies is the discovery that the toxic components of emotional and mental stress can be discharged through fluid in the digestive system via intestinal peristalsis. Under favourable circumstances accompanying emotional arousal, hormonal residues are continuously discharged. In the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves have an important function. When the sympathetic nervous system works too hard (during stress and tension), the intestinal peristalsis closes. If the organism relaxes and the parasympathetic nerve starts to function, the intestinal peristalsis opens and contributes to emotional processing on a vegetative level.

Recent research in neurophysiology confirms that we still have a third nervous system, the so-called “enteric nervous system”, and that we have more nerve cells in the entire digestive system than in the spinal cord. This means that we have an “abdominal brain” in the digestive system as the seat of an emotional intelligence that reacts independently of the “head brain”.

Another important contribution of biodynamics to medicine and psychosomatics is the discovery that disturbances in the harmony of psyche and body show up on all physical levels (beyond Wilhelm Reich’s concept of “muscle armour”) in the form of “tissue armour”. Metabolic residues remain in the body during unfinished emotional cycles and form a barrier against the natural circulation of body fluids. The viscera, which in addition to digesting food are also responsible for the organic digestion of emotional conflicts, cannot or only incompletely break down the biochemical residues of psychological tension; a “tissue armour” is formed.

The spontaneous self-movement of the fluid-filled intestinal walls, called peristalsis, thus also serves to regulate nervous tension (“psycho-peristalsis” as it is called). Often these sounds can be heard with the naked ear; the use of a stethoscope (placed on the client’s abdomen) enables the therapist to diagnose and treat them even more specifically. It is essential that there is an inner feeling of emotional security and safety; only then do the psychoperistals begin to work. When it is working well, a relaxed, peacefully detached atmosphere sets in, accompanied by a harmonious and fresh feeling of full vitality.

Stimulation of psychoperistalsis means stimulation of the flow of a person’s life energy in all aspects of their being.