Integrative body psychotherapy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Integrative Body Psychotherapy)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Integrative body psychotherapy (IBP) is a psychotherapy that recognizes and treats the somatic (physical), psychological/emotional, and spiritual nature of a human being. It is based on the premise that the body, mind, and spirit are not separate, but rather integrated parts of a whole person. Every experience has a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect, which manifests internally within the body and externally in relationship to others. IBP was first developed by Jack Lee Rosenberg starting in the late 1970s (see § History, below).


Integrative body psychotherapy (IBP) presents itself as a synthesis and implementation of three aspects:


Some of the key concepts, tools and techniques of integrative body psychotherapy are:

Cognitive-sensate link[edit]

In order to create lasting change, every cognitive insight in treatment is linked to physical/sensate response and vice versa.

Current event and early childhood experience[edit]

Upset about a current experience will have roots in an individual's early history and IBP treatment addresses both current event and early history.

Stress held in the body[edit]

Early childhood stresses are held in the body as energy blocks which are exhibited as chronic muscular tension, organ dysfunction, and/or lack of sensation. A key component of IBP treatment is to facilitate the release of the energy blocks through physical exercises, physical and emotional release, and psychological processing.[3]

The Bug[edit]

"The bug" is an image that diagrams the entry points of enquiry in an IBP therapy session. Any topic introduced by the client (or the therapist) can be explored from any of the points indicated on the diagram and all of the points are experienced in the body.

"The bug" diagram in integrative body psychotherapy


Arenas are a summary way of describing the origin, structure, and purpose of coping patterns that provides the therapist and the client with practical understanding and treatment interventions. Although it is based in object relations theory, the concept of Arenas is more pragmatic than comprehensive and scientific.[4]

The Arenas are: Core Self, Primary Scenario, Basic Fault, Agency and Character Style.

The infant (Core Self) is born into and grows up in its family and culture (Primary Scenario). There it experiences needs met and needs not met. Where needs are not met the child feels awful (Basic Fault). In order to cope with the stress of the Basic Fault, it creates a complex of psychological, behavioral and somatic coping strategies, all of which require overriding and disconnecting from the experience of Core Self (Agency and Character Style).

The Core Self is the basic, authentic Self, the Self that comes into the body at birth and goes away at death. It is the Self we experience when we feel truly loved or loving, when we are in a creative flow, when we are joyful or grieving or telling a deep truth seldom spoken. We experience the self that we truly are any time we are fully alive and present, focused in the moment.[5]

Primary Scenario, in IBP, is the "movie" into which we were born. It is a summary diagram of the family history for three generations. Its purpose is to present a clear picture and a "felt sense" of what the client experienced as a child in his or her family. When the Primary Scenario is understood then the needs not met are revealed, as is the Basic Fault. The coping patterns become known and make sense.[6]

The Basic Fault is the bad feeling, the somatic reaction, psychological upset, confusion and negative belief about the self that results from needs not met in infancy. It is the primal wound that is the foundation and reason for the psychological, behavioral and somatic patterns that interrupt aliveness and wellbeing. The Basic Fault is a lie about the Self that is held deeply in the body and the psyche. It is also the root of upsets in the present. Everyone has a Basic Fault.[7]

Treating the Basic Fault is the primary work of IBP and involves revealing the Basic Fault as a lie and learning to live life from the truth of the authentic, Core Self.

Agency is one of the patterns that IBP identifies for coping with the Basic Fault. The infant adopts a coping strategy of abandoning Core Self in an effort to meet the caretaker's needs. The child reduces breathing, numbs its self- awareness and focuses on the needs of the mother (or primary caretaker) in an effort to influence the mother to better meet the child's needs. As an adult, Agency takes the form of abandoning one's self and taking responsibility for another's wellbeing.[8]

Character Style is the other set of patterns that IBP identifies for coping with the Basic Fault. As a response to the sense of loss of self in Agency and to the distress of needs unmet, the child starts to develop strategies for pseudo-self expression, pseudo-assertion, and self-protection. Character Style is a complex pattern of fixed muscular holding, energy blocks, emotional responses, and behaviors as well as beliefs about the self and the world. The most common Character Style traits are: Splitting Off, Cutting Off, Fixed Ideas, Automatic No, Treating Self as Object, Lying Up or Lying Down, and, in relationships, Not Too Close but Not Too Far Away.[9]

These concepts are complex, layered, and often subtle and need to be studied and experienced to fully grasp. They manifest as behavioral, psychological, mental, somatic, and relational. The definitions above are highly simplified for the sake of this summary explanation of IBP.


Breathing fully is essential to feeling and being alive. Regulating the breath is also the first and most fundamental somatic pattern for coping with the Basic Fault. When an infant experiences the stress of a need not being met, it reduces its breathing to reduce the intensity of the stress it feels. Reduced breathing also makes it impossible to feel fully alive and present. We must breathe fully to experience our Core Self. In IBP, breathing fully is the most important tool for attaining and sustaining mental and physical health.[10]

Sustaining constancy series[edit]

SCS is a breathing exercise that aims to create a profound experience of wellbeing. It combines high-charge breathing with physical stresses that result in the release of muscular and organic holding in the body. SCS stimulates and balances the central nervous system, oxygenates the blood, releases endorphins in the brain and allows energy to flow freely throughout the body. Helping the client move through the interruptions that arise during the exercise is the therapeutic work of IBP.

SCS is a primary IBP tool for experiencing the Core Self. It is a powerful antidote to the pervasive negative influence of the Basic Fault and when done as a regular practice, creates a constant sense of wellbeing and inner peace.[11]

IBP couples therapy[edit]

The one person problem: IBP couples therapy is based on the assumption that relationship difficulties are at least partially a result of one partner being triggered or upset as a reaction to his or her own Basic Fault and vice versa. For instance, partner A's Basic Fault is summarized as "I'm not loveable." Partner B's Basic Fault is summarized as "I'm defective and unlovable." Partner B, who tends to absentmindedness, misplaces the wedding ring. Partner A experiences the fact as "I'm not loved (again)" and spontaneously reacts with hurt and anger. Partner B experiences the loss as "see, I'm defective" and the partner's reaction as "I'm not loveable" and reacts defensively. The objective fact is that the ring is misplaced. From that fact, each partner upsets him or herself believing that it was the other partner's action that caused the upset.

The goal of IBP therapy is to help the partners claim their power over their own upset. Much of IBP couples therapy is one-on-one therapy done with the other partner as a witness.

IBP couples therapy addresses the status of the relationship bond, relationship patterns of each partner, facilitates open heartedness and mutuality, sexuality and sexual dysfunction, healing betrayals, healing from loss such as miscarriages and abortions.[12]



Jack Lee Rosenberg, the founder of integrative body psychotherapy (IBP), began his professional career as a dentist in 1958. He was teaching, doing research, and studying at the University of California Dental School when he became the Director of Counseling at the University of the Pacific, School of Dentistry. In 1971, Rosenberg received his doctorate in clinical psychology and began practicing psychotherapy.

In 1963, Rosenberg began traveling to the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, California, where he studied with the leaders of the Human Potential Movement: Fritz Perls (Gestalt therapy), Abraham Maslow, Alexander Lowen, Will Shuts, John Pierrakos (Core Energetics), Rollo May, Carl Rogers, Moshe Feldenkrais, Ida Pauline Rolf (Rolfing). At the Esalen Institute, he also studied Eastern philosophies and became a yoga practitioner. Rosenberg was particularly influenced by the work of Robert K. Hall (Lomi School).

From 1968 to 1976, Rosenberg was a training therapist and board member at the Gestalt Institute of Psychotherapy in San Francisco. In fact, Rosenberg's first name for IBP was "Gestalt body psychotherapy." For over eight years, he studied and did Freudian psychoanalysis with Jean Pouteu. He worked with some of the leading therapists of that time: Philip Cucurudo (Reichian therapy), Jim Simkin, Jack Downing (founder of the Gestalt Institute of San Francisco), Elaine Kepner (Gestalt therapy ), and Janie Ryan. Rosenberg was in individual therapy for ten years with Victoria Hamilton, an object relations therapist who assisted John Bowlby, of attachment theory fame. (Hamilton also trained in object relations therapy/theory with R. D. Laing and Donald Winnicott.) All these different therapeutic approaches are integrated into IBP's implementation model.


In 1973, Rosenberg wrote the book, Total Orgasm, an energetic approach to realizing the full potential of human sexuality. In 1985, Marjorie Rand and Diana Asay helped organize and formalize the theory and practice of IBP in Rosenberg's book. Rand also organized and developed the existing IBP training groups into what is now the IBP Central Institute professional training program.

Rosenberg and Rand assigned the task of developing IBP institute and practitioner certification criteria and IBP training program standards to the IBP Advisory Board members, Beverly Kitaen Morse, Myron Goldenberg, and Tom Paris.

In 1986, Rand became the IBP director of New Institutes, and in 1995, Morse became the executive director of the IBP Central Institute. Through its books, trainings and workshops, IBP spread worldwide. IBP Institutes were certified in the United States, Canada, and Europe, using a standardized curriculum and a growing group of IBP Certified Teachers.


There are eleven IBP institutes throughout the United States, Switzerland, Germany, and Canada. In Switzerland and Canada, where government and professional societies must officially recognize a therapeutic modality, IBP is certified and approved as a body-oriented psychotherapy.

Related issues[edit]


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, p 95 – 118 and ch5, Humanics Limited, 1985
  2. ^ Cortright, Brant, Psychotherapy and Spirit, State University of New York Press, 1997. Wilbur, Ken, No Boundary, Shambhala, 1985
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, pp 22 - 26, Humanics Limited, 1985
  4. ^ Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc., 1996, ch2, 11, 12, 13, 14
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, pp 20–22, Humanics Limited, 1985
  6. ^ Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc., 1996, p 281, Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, pp 18-20 and ch 3, Humanics Limited, 1985
  7. ^ The Basic Fault, Michael Balint, Northwestern University Press, 1992
  8. ^ Daniel Stern, Interpersonal World of the Infant, Basic Books, 1985, Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc., pp36-42 and Ch 13
  9. ^ Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc., Ch 12. Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, p 21, Humanics Limited, 1985
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, ch 4 and 5, Humanics Limited, 1985, The Intimate Couple, Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, ch6, Reich, Wilhelm, Character Analysis, Straus and Girous, Inc., 1949, 1961
  11. ^ The Intimate Couple, Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, ch 4, 5 and 7, Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, ch 4, Humanics Limited, 1985, Reich, Wilhelm, Character Analysis, Straus and Girous, Inc., 1949, 1961
  12. ^ Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc. 1996

Further reading[edit]

  • Balint, Michael, The Basic Fault, Northwestern University Press, 1992
  • Babette Rothschild, Marjorie Rand - Help for the Helper: The Psychophysiology of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma, W.W. Norton, Nov. 2005
  • Cortright, Brant, Psychotherapy and Spirit, State University of New York Press, 1997.
  • Edited by Theodor Itten and Markus Fischer: Jack Lee Rosenberg, Celebrating a Master Psychotherapist - A Festschrift in Honor of his 70th Birthday, 2002
  • Ed. Christina Caldwell, Marjorie L. Rand, - Getting In Touch: A Guide To The New Body Psychotherapies
  • Jane E. Latimer; Beyond the food game - A Spiritual & Psychological Approach To Healing Emotional Eating
  • Reich, Wilhelm, Character Analysis, Straus and Girous, Inc., 1949, 1961
  • Rosenberg, J. L. Orgasm (1973) English
  • Rosenberg, J. L. Orgasmus (1973) Deutsch
  • Rosenberg, Rand, and Asay, Body, Self and Soul, p 21, Humanics Limited, 1985
  • Rosenberg, J. L., Rand, M. & Asay, D. - Körper, Selbst und Seele.
  • Rosenberg, J. L., Rand, M. & Asay, D. Le corps, le soi et l'âme
  • Rosenberg and Kitaen-Morse, The Intimate Couple, Turner Publishing, Inc., 1996
  • Rosenberg, J. L. "SegmentaleHaltemusterimKörper-Geist-System" ab S 66 in "Handbuch der Körperpsychotherapie" (Handbook of Body-Psychtherapiy), Marlock, Weiss, Stuttgart: Schattauer, 2006
  • Thomas Paris, and Eileen Paris; I'll never do to my kids what my parents did to me! - A Guide To Conscious Parenting
  • Thomas Paris, and Eileen Paris; Nichtwiemeine Eltern, Scherz (1999)
  • Stern, Daniel, Interpersonal World of the Infant, Basic Books, 1985
  • Wilbur, Ken, No Boundary, Shambhala, 1985

External links[edit]