Body of Awareness : A Somatic and Developmental Approach to Psychotherapy book cover
1st Edition

Body of Awareness
A Somatic and Developmental Approach to Psychotherapy

ISBN 9780881633474
Published July 1, 2001 by Gestalt Press
244 Pages

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Book Description

Merging scientific theory with a practical, clinical approach, Body of Awareness explores the formation of infant movement experience and its manifest influence upon the later adult. Most significantly, it shows how the organizing principles in early development are functionally equivalent to those of the adult. It demonstrates how movement plays a critical role in a developing self-awareness for the infant and in maintaining a healthy self throughout life. In addition, a variety of case studies illustrates how infant developmental movement patterns are part of the moment-to-moment processes of the adult client and how to bring these patterns to awareness within therapy. 

Body of Awareness is intended to help therapists, new or advanced, to enhance their skills of attunement. They can do this by heightening their observations of subtle movement patterns as they emerge within the client/therapist relationship, and by respective their own developing feelings within session as essential information to the therapy process. And as developmental patterns are central to psychological functioning, a background study of movement provides the therapist with critical insight into the unfolding psychodynamic field.

Table of Contents

Tribute to My Teachers
Notes to the Reader
I. Opening Dialogue
- The Emerging Dyad: Rachel and Alex
- The First Session
II. Developmental Patterns and the Processes of Differentiation
- Contacting and the Emergence of Pattern
- Primary Supports for Contacting and Their Disruptions
- A Closer Look at Differentiation
- The Emergence of Toddling
- The Adult Psychotherapy Client: Karla
- Primary Orienting: Gravity, Earth, and Space
- Orienting Through Weight
- The Developing Experience of Weight
- Yielding
- The Moro Response
- Orienting Possibilities and the Adult Therapy Client
- Sharon: The Process of Yielding and the Experience of Support
- Rhonda: Losing and Making Support
III. Reaching and Being Reached
- The Developing Dynamics of Reaching
- The Rooting Response: Reaching with the Mouth
- The Adult Therapy Client
- Bob
- Cynthia
- Brenda
IV. The Upright Stance
- The Anatomy of Upright Being
- Difficulties of Being Upright
- Upright Behaviors in Infant Development
- How Disruptions Develop
- Dilemmas in Righting: The Adult Client
- Lisa
- Karen
V. Coming Into Wholeness: Annie's Story
- Annie: 1985
- Our Early Sessions
- The Therapy: 1985-1996
- Annie: 1996
VI. Resources for Therapists

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Ruella Frank, Ph.D., is on the training faculty at the Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy, adjunct faculty at the Gestalt Institute of Norway in Oslo, and the Center for Psychotherapy and Psychology in Madrid. She also trains within the United States and throughout the world. 


"It is a rare person in my experience who can say; 'This is what, how and why we did what we did.' Ruella Frank's manuscript gave me joy as it wove in and out of case example, theory, and personal reflexive involvement. For the therapist her work is essential; for the lay person excellent for self help."

- Richard Kitzler, M.A., Founding Fellow, New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy

"In Body of Awareness, Ruella Frank has given us an exceptional integration of movement patterns with adult psychotherapy. I recommend this book highly."

- James Kepner, Ph.D., author, Body Process and Healing Tasks

"The case studies are thorough, multidimensional, and poignant.  For those who do body work, this book should be an indispensable library addition.  For those who do not, it offers an eye-opening opportunity to hone observational skills and perhaps to learn some techniques of body intervention."

- Stephen Johnson, Ph.D., author, Character Styles

"She provides sensitive and exquisite case studies and shows a deep understanding of movement, development, and therapeutic change.  This book will find a wide and receptive audience."

- Esther Thelen, Ph.D., author, A Dynamic Systems Approach to Development

"Ruella Frank's brilliant account of the processes by which we learn/discover movement from infancy provides us with a template from which we can delve into a deeper sense of self and fullness of being."

- Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, author, Sensing, Feeling, and Action