The brain is a servant of the bodyAntonio Damasio
To be clear: feelings such as stress, anxiety, overstrain or helplessness consist of body awearness to a huge extend. You immediately feel in which parts of your body these emotions show up. For this reason, it is not only logical but also highly effective to not only work with the brain but to involve the body – if changing oppressive emotions is the goal.
Stephen Porges is one of the most experienced researches when it comes to the connection between brain and body. His Polyvagal Theory emphasizes the phylogenetic emergence of two vagal systems: a potentially lethal ancient brain and cord circuits involved in defensive strategies of immobilization (e.g., fainting, freeze, fight) including dissociative stress. Polyvagal responses provided a new conceptualization of the autonomic nervous system that emphasize neurophysiological mechanisms and phylogenetic shifts in the neural regulation of the psychological responses from the cranial nerves to the spine, spinal cord and lower aspects of the mammalian brain.
German speaking experts in the field of how to influence the brain by integrating the body are Prof. Gerald Hüther (neurobiologist), Dr. Maja Stroch (psychologist) and Dr. Michael Bohne (physician and psychotherapist). Prof. Gerald Hüther, one of the most renowned researchers of our time, has emphasized the importance of including the body many times in his books and lectures.
Dr. Maja Stroch, founder of the Zurich Resources Model (ZMR) and editor of the book Embodiment – understanding and using the interaction between body and brain – described the importance of this connection even more drastically: „Any professional who researches, advises or therapies clients without including the somatic experience owes an explanation for this deficit.“ Therefore in the Zurich Resources Model, the systematic attempt to develop a body posture which corresponds to the client’s goal is key.
Dr. med. Michael Bohne is a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy and the founder of the Process and Embodiment-focused Psychology (PEP®), which provides a highly effective way to change parafunctional thinking, feeling and behavioural patterns. PEP® influences neural networks through bifocal multi-sensory interventions (BMSI). In a coaching session with PEP®, a haptic stimulus that interacts directly with the limbic system in our brain is set while you are tapping certain points on the back of your hand and your face. The anatomical background to this is that the skin and brain (and the nervous system) of humans arise from the same primary germ layer (the ectoderm) in our embroynal development. To simplify this: the PEP® tapping technique allows you to establish a direct connection to the brain and thus to achieve an immediate reduction of stress.
By tapping the PEP® points under the guidance of the coach you offer yourself a low-calorie treat and are highly effective at the same time. You are introduced to a tool which is always with you at any time and any place – what an enormous force and lever! PEP® is not only highly effective when it comes to stress reduction, but it is also an important tool which can be used in case of anxiety and tension before exam situations, lectures, applications or speeches. In order to be able to support my clients in the best possible way, I have decided to gain profound knowledge and skills regarding this body-oriented method. I am currently enrolled in the continuing educational PEP® courses (held by Dr. Bohne), which I will complete in June 2019.