Below you can read some thought- (if not body-) provoking quotes from the article The Limits of Talk (written by Mary Sykes Wylie, Ph.D., a senior editor of the Psychotherapy Networker, published in the same publication).
What does she write about in the paper?
She writes about Bessel van der Kolk and his transforming the field of trauma therapy.
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I invite you to read it and share your thoughts in the comments.
(…) van der Kolk is nothing less than an equal-opportunity provocateur. He seems determined to make clinicians fundamentally reconsider their usual responses to the suffering souls who visit their offices, down to the furnishings they choose. With his characteristic wryness, he insists that “As long as people sit on their tochas and simply move their tongues around, they may not be able to make enough of a difference to affect internal sensations and motor actions. People need to learn to regulate their physical states in order to get their minds to work. Once they shift their physiological patterns, their thinking can change.”
It’s been an implicit premise of psychological science and clinical practice both, as it is of our entire culture, that our singular human identity resides in our disembodied minds. The West’s infatuation with Cartesian dualism has made our bodies somehow strange to us, a self-alienation reinforced by clinical psychology. It’s hard even to conceive of the lofty mind-our own, anyway-as an indisputably physical, material organ, a wrinkled, ovoid mass of blood and tissue. PTSD-or any deeply painful emotional state-is experienced as a foreign intrusion that smothers our “true self,” our mind’s self.
Most of psychotherapy is geared to getting this mind-self back, and most of it is conducted as a mental exchange between two people sitting quietly in chairs. Even psychopharmacology seems intended more to quell the rebellious body-quiet and soothe it, get it out of the way and under wraps-than acknowledge and welcome its living presence in the therapy room.
For all the ferment he’s helped create, van der Kolk admits that he doesn’t have any easy answers about how to unravel the tangled web of trauma, much less reconcile our culturally enshrined mind-body split.