The relationship between the mind and the body
– THE MIND AND THE BODY –
A simple truth that should be self-evident is that an individual’s personality is expressed through his body as much as through his mind. A person cannot be divided into a mind and a body. Despite this truth, all studies of personality have concentrated on the mind as the determinant of identity and have neglected the body.
The body of a person tells us much about his personality. How one holds himself, the look in his eyes, the tone of his voice, and the spontaneity of his gestures tell us not only who he is but also whether he is enjoying life or is miserable and ill at ease. A person enters therapy because he is not enjoying life.
In the forefront or the background of his mind, he is aware that his capacity for pleasure has been diminished or lost. The apparent complaint may be depression, anxiety, a sense of inadequacy, and so on, but these are the symptoms of a deeper disturbance, namely, the inability to enjoy life. In every case it can be shown that this inability stems from the fact that the patient is not fully alive in his body and in his mind.
This problem cannot be fully resolved, therefore, by a purely mental approach. It must be tackled on the physical and the psychological levels simultaneously. Only when a person becomes fully alive is his capacity for pleasure fully restored. The principles and practices of bioenergetic therapy rest on the functional identity of the mind and the body. This means that any real change in a person’s thinking and, therefore, in his behaviour and feeling, is conditioned upon a change in the functioning of his body.
The two functions that are most important in this regard are breathing and movement. Both of these functions are disturbed in every person who has an emotional problem by chronic muscular tensions that are the physical counterpart of psychological conflicts. Through these muscular tensions, conflicts become structured in the body. When this happens, they cannot be resolved until the tensions are released.
To release these muscular tensions, one must feel them as a limitation of self-expression. In other words, the body and the mind must work hand in hand to overcome the problem.
Mark the best choice.
1. The studies of personality are all based on the idea that .
a) the body and the mind cannot be treated separately
b) an individual’s personality is expressed through his body
c) personality depends on the mind of the individual
d) the body determines the individual’s personality
2. Which of the following is not correct about depression and anxiety?
a) They are the signs of the inability to enjoy life.
b) They are reduced by the person’s capacity to enjoy life.
c) They make the person aware that he doesn’t get pleasure from life.
d) They are the complaints that cause the person to enter therapy.
3. The reason for the inability to enjoy life is that the .
a) patient doesn’t get physical and psychological treatment at the same time
b) problem is dealt with by a purely mental approach
c) problem is much deeper than the patient can be aware of
d) patient is not fully alive in his body and mind
A change in the functioning of the body first affects the person’s ‘ .
a) behaviour and feeling
d) identity are the reflections of psychological conflicts on the body.
a) Breathing and movement
b) Emotional problems
c) Chronic muscular tensions
d) Changes in attitude