ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE & PSYCHOTHERAPY
"You translate everything, whether physical or mental or spiritual, into muscular tension."
--F.M. Alexander 1869-1955
What is Alexander technique?
Alexander Technique is a gentle non invasive technique that helps you to identify your habitual patterns of posture. Traditionally, Alexander Technique has been used by performers, such as actors or musicians, to increase their physical usage while managing fatigue and pain.
Alexander Technique and Psychotherapy
Alexander Technique can also be used to locate physical manifestations of emotional distress. The first step in this process is awareness. Identifying how you stand when you are depressed, anxious, or under stress, in combination with insight oriented psychotherapy, is a powerful intervention for managing your feelings and making actual changes in your attitude. Becoming aware of habitual patterns of holding helps you to inhabit and direct your body into a new way of being, surpassing old ways of holding the body that reflect childhood traumas, emotional and/or physical abuse.
How I Incorporate Alexander Technique in My Practice
A look into my office setup reveals how I work. There are two comfortable chairs facing one another and a massage table. When the client begins the session they sit down and have an opportunity to share the narrative of their life since the last session (usually once a week). As in any insight therapy, I the therapist am listening intently and offering any reactions I might have to what they are relating, often using illustrative metaphors. It is my intention to communicate authentic concern and I make the demand upon myself to be present and emotionally available to every client in every session. I am organizing my listening towards the content of what is being said as well as the style of how it is being said. For example, is the person telling a sad story and smiling? I might gently point out the disassociation between what they are saying and how they are expressing the feeling. At some juncture in the session I work with the client to identify an emotional theme and suggest a transition to the massage table, where I use the principles of Alexander Technique to gently trace the theme onto how it is expressed in the body. Through this process I am making the client aware of holding patterns which are emotionally historical and perhaps appropriate at the time of trauma, but no longer necessary. During this part of the session I will give them the opportunity to gently release through direction these habitual patterns of tension holding.
Clients find themselves leaving the session feeling like they are stripped of old defenses and more available to make new attachments.