Foundations of the method

We teach psychotherapists in the method of Neo-Reichian analytical psychotherapy that views the human being in its fullness – mind, soul, and body. Over half of all body psychotherapeutic methods globally are Neo-Reichian. I.e. they adopt basic elements of the teaching of Wilhelm Reich who was a student of Sigmund Freud, and who introduced the body into psychotherapy.

Our education provides not only theoretical knowledge and understanding but also the necessary skills to apply this knowledge that is based on the teaching of Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, and prof. Waldo Bernasconi. According to them, emotional trauma is “encoded” into muscular blockages in the body. Essentially, this is an analytical psychotherapeutic approach to which the therapeutic field of the body has been added. Through bioenergetic breathing, various therapeutic exercises that include bodywork, and sharing lived experience, access is gained to deep unconscious psychic contents which are then analyzed together with the client. The focus of our bioenergetic work is always the authenticity of the individual. This determines the integrative nature of our method – a unique combination of effective therapeutic instruments such as: “therapy of the five movements”, classical psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy, cognitive-behavioral techniques, psychodrama, Carl Roger’s client-centered therapy, bioenergetic breathing, short-term psychotherapy, art therapy, and a specialized form of bioenergetic massage. These methods are supported by an understanding of evolutive psychology, psychopathology, psychodynamics, a psychiatry internship, psychopharmacology, anatomy, neurology, and endocrinology, psychoanthropology, the psychology of the creative process, and more.

The “Therapy of the five movements” created by prof. Waldo Bernasconi is not only a therapeutic method and a philosophy, it is also a way of life. It lies at the intersection of medicine and psychology, as well as of the latest scientific achievements but also the ancient techniques of self-knowledge. It is aimed at the harmony of the human being with themselves, as well as the surrounding world. This is a method that contributes to the complete well-being of the separate individual and improves their social skills. It restores our inborn skills to ask for help and to trust, to assert ourselves and to set limits, to attract others toward ourselves, to plan, and to properly assess reality, and to select the appropriate and winning behavior on the basis of such an assessment.

The degree of satisfaction and happiness that we have in our life are the marks of our health. This is the aim of the body psychotherapeutic school that helps with the transformation – a transformation that does not necessarily remove what is already the case and already present but that adds that which is missing in us.

The analytics work in our method is similar to that of the other psychoanalytical schools. What sets us apart from other forms of therapy is that we also gain access to the unconscious through the memory of the body that is inscribed in the muscular blockages and cellular memory. The specificity of the method is the use of touch in the therapeutic process. Treating muscular blockages in this specific way is in line with the ethical code of the European Association for Body Psychotherapy (EABP) and is only used with the agreement and consent of the patient. The so-called bioenergetic massage is only conducted through clothing and it may be painful as it has a therapeutic aim. For example, when aggression has been suppressed and held, work is done on the masseter and gluteal muscles. The muscles involved in mastication are also worked on when there are trust issues present, etc.
Muscular blockages differ according to the different character structures and are pathogenic zones whose treatment leads to the release of unconsciously held emotions into awareness. The history of our traumas frequently tells the story of deficient touch or of the abuse of touch. The defensive reaction in these traumatic instances parallels that of any living organism – withdrawal, contraction, a rejection of feeling and sensitivity on a body and emotional level. Melting this “armor” cannot happen in a meaningful way only at the “entrance” of cognition – what’s needed is to also engage the “entrance” of the body that remembers. Therapeutic touch differs and depends on the type of trauma and the age at which it was formed (for example, a trauma in the pre-muscular stage when one has to work with connective tissue rather than with muscles). Touch evokes experiences from the level of the unconscious that can only be worked with in the sheltered and secure setting of the psychotherapeutic contact. There are memories that we can only access through the body. This is why touch has such a therapeutic effect. It is always in conformity with the feedback of the client and the limits of what they can accept. In body psychotherapy transference and counter-transference are also analyzed in relation to the powerful instrument of touch. At the beginning of the psychotherapeutic process, clients complete a special informed consent form that provides information about all the specifics of the body psychotherapeutic approach.

The aforementioned assortment of tools positions the Neo-Reichian therapeutic approach among the most avant-garde and successful holistic therapeutic approaches. Its aim is not only to achieve a lack of symptoms in the client but also to work with the causes, and to offer prevention and care for their psychosomatic health, as well as to increase their awareness, their satisfaction from life, the feeling of freedom, joy, inspiration, love and vibrant health.

During the last 25 years, the students of prof. Waldo Bernasconi have developed and enriched the body psychotherapeutic method and added to it the latest finding in the fields of neuroscience, the spiritual understanding of the East, as well as new practices and scientific findings that are in accordance with the demands and needs of today’s people.

Our method is established and our educational course is in accordance with the standards of the Bulgarian Association for Psychotherapy (BAP) as well as the European Association for Body Psychotherapy (EABP) that, in 2019, reaccredited our Institute for a consecutive seven-year term.