Matter of the Body

By | February 27, 2011

One of the main distinctions of western psychology and somatic psychology is the latter’s focus, attention, and awareness of the body. When one speaks of the “matter of the body”, one must acknowledge the relationship of the Latin mater, which means mother. All somatic approaches to healing engage the client’s relationship with their mother. As mentioned in my previous blog, Freud’s emphasis of analysis engaged the phases of development after language acquisition, i.e., during the left hemispheric growth, also known as the “paternal” attachment phase.

Body-oriented therapies provide an opportunity for the client to access the pre-verbal, pre-oedipal, deep feeling and emotional states, that are experienced during the “maternal” attachment phase of development. It is during the last trimester in utero to the ending of the mother attachment phases (18-24 months) that the most profound neural “explosion” of development, and the human life span, takes place in the right hemisphere. Neural imaging research, using fMRI and PET scanning, have shown that during this period the right hemisphere is 10-20% larger than the left hemisphere.

The right hemisphere receives direct sensory information from the body and is intimately associated with bodily states of being. The language of the right brain has to do with shifting states of feelings, emotions, and the subtle nuances of pulsation, vibration, and fluidity.