Introduction and background
Roz Carroll MA Cantab, UKCP registered psychotherapist,
the Chiron Association of Body Psychotherapists (CABP)
Thinking through the body is an integrative project on which we are all implicitly - and some of us explicitly - engaged. Until recently in our culture the understanding of the body and its subtle processes was split between a range of disciplines. But now there has been a tremendous shift in some of the fundamental organising principles of psychotherapy towards a more inclusive, embodied and relational model.
For the last twenty years I have explored and attempted to balance a number of perspectives on the body in psychotherapy- theoretical, experiential, therapeutic and scientific. It is a constant interweaving of these different modes of processing/knowing/reflecting that has been the central theme of my work. I believe we actually think through our bodies in a multiplicity of ways, and that indeed the body's continual rich dense orchestrated responsive and active process is thinking.
My current work
I work as a psychotherapist in private practice and as a supervisor of psychotherapists with an interest in integration. For many years I was a trainer at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy, which has now closed. But the community of Chiron psychotherapists lives on and flourishes – see www.body-psychotherapy.org.uk
I now teach on the MA course in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Minster Centre for Integrative Psychotherapy, at the John Bowlby Centre and at Terapia training in Integrative Child Psychotherapy . I also lecture regularly for Confer, an organisation running seminars and conferences on psychotherapy, medicine and culture. I offer talks, and tailor-made short courses in for training organisations.
Many of these are available on this site See Index of papers
I am passionate about the importance of experiential learning and the need to relate from an embodied awareness of oneself and others. My most recent project is the development of a new course, Embodied Awareness: a New Anatomy aimed at keeping therapists interested in and able to enjoy their own bodies.
An academic background supports and facilitates my commitment to integration and understanding of the theory of embodied experience. Originally I studied English Literature at Cambridge. I went on to do research for a PhD at Yale on writing as a form of psychological processing. The interest in poetry and language has informed my listening for somatic metaphor. My subject, H.D., was an analysand of Freud and later Schmideberg (Melanie Klein's son-in-law). This stimulated my intensive study of psychoanalytic texts.
Concurrently my interest in body psychotherapy grew and eventually became the main focus of my professional life. I trained as a body psychotherapist at Chironduring a phase when it was rapidly evolving. This was evident in a more thorough critique of Reich, and interest in object relations; a move from idealisation of the body (and its wisdom) to an understanding of its role in intersubjectivity.
Body psychotherapy as a tradition has always drawn on the insights of scientific research about the body and the brain. It therefore provides a useful bridge between psychotherapy and contemporary developments in neuroscience because the implications of working with an embodied process (and essentially neuroscience is pointing increasingly to the holistic embodied nature of all psychological phenomena) have always been at its theoretical and practical core.
I maintain an active interest in developments at the frontiers of neuroscience, where so much interdisciplinary research and dialogue is now bearing fruit. It is in the relational and affective neuroscience field that the most exciting developments are taking place. I have been influenced by the work of Trevarthen, Daniel Stern, Schore, Tronick, Beebe, Panksepp, Damasio, Bucci, Fonagy, Ogden, Porges and many more.
I have found the framework of attachment and intersubjectivity theory, updated by neuroscience, to be the most robust foundation for an understanding of human development in the context of psychotherapy.
Whilst the science gives us a deeper understanding of self and interactive regulation, it is through writing of the relational psychoanalysts that I have found the most satisfying thinking about the intricacies of the therapeutic relationship. Here Mitchell, Donald Stern, Benjamin, Bromberg, Messler-Davies, Orbach, Samuels and others are inspiring.
My fascination with the body in process has been nourished by my engagement in dance and movement therapy over twenty years. I have explored many avenues of dance, especially in the context of process and group work, including studying Authentic Movement with Anne Herbert Smith in the US . I have also studied Body Mind Centering (BMC) with Linda Hartley. BMC is a mature synthesis of holistic, developmental, and contemporary anatomy, which provides a useful map for understanding the body through its own systems.
For articles on this site See Index
Resources and Links
Creative arts based/Gestalt therapy with children, adolescents and adults, contact Jon Blend, London <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jon Blend runs short training course in Working with children and adolescents - www.gestaltcentre.co.uk/training/shortcourses.htm