• In Depth
  • Origins
  • The Seven Developmental Stages
  • Somatic Ego Functions
  • Bodynamic Overview
  • Character Structure Videos
  • Psychological Muscle Functions
  • BodyMap Article

BODYNAMICS STARTS FROM the premise that Mutual Connection - (When I am all of me, and you are all of you, can we be in deep connection?) - is the basic drive of development and growth. Our empirical research has shown that there are a series of basic themes around which connection, bonding, and attachment occur. This has led to the Bodynamic model of Seven Developmental Stages. Our clinical experience shows that disturbances in the primary childhood connections in relation to these themes lead to developmental or in some cases traumatic distortions.

FOUNDED BY LISBETH MARCHER, Bodynamics was initially the work of ten Danish therapists who studied, worked, and developed together for twenty years. The Bodynamic System combines depth cognitive psycho-therapy and an emphasis on relationship, with new research on the psychomotor development of children. The body is integrated into the therapy through knowledge of the psychological function of each muscle.

WE DISTINGUISH THREE possible outcomes for each developmental stage and its theme. If the parenting is "good enough", the child will be able to be herself, be in deep relationship, and develop the skills appropriate to that stage (our "resourced" position). If there are severe or early disturbances in a given stage, there will be a tendency to give up the impulse to do and feel things. Abilities and insights will tend to go unlearned or be given up, appearing in the adult to be outside of awareness or missing. (our "early" position). This is the origin of psychological resignation. If the disturbances are less severe of later in the stage, there will be a tendency to hold back impulses to do or feel things, or they may be enacted rigidly (our "late" position).

Both early and late positions result in a distortion of self and relationship (of Mutual Connection)

THE SEVEN DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES are named for the main issue or theme dealt with in that stage. Listed in the order of increasing age they are: Existence, Need, Autonomy, Will, Love/Sexuality, Opinion and Solidarity/Performance. For example, the Will Stage, 2 to 4 years of age, has major theme of "Can I be focused, powerful, and expressive, make my own decisions, and still be accepted by my family?" The early position of the Will Stage is characterized by self-sacrificing, the late position by judging, and the resourced position by assertiveness. With this detailed information a therapist can pinpoint the developmental origins of specific issues current in a client's life. Interventions thus become more precise and age appropriate. This work with developmental issues is complemented, when called for, by the sophisticated Bodynamic approach to working with shock trama or PTSD.

THE NEW ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE and work directly with psychological resignation and build new ego resources transforms the nature of psychotherapy. Working in the context of a therapeutic relationship, clients can learn to awaken undeveloped impulses and skills. The acquisition of these new ego and motor resources, being exactly the ones needed but missing, greatly facilitates the working through of developmental issues. At the same time clients are empowered to resolve related issues in their daily life.