Under The Skin

A Handbook of Psycho-physiology for Body Psychotherapists and Body-Therapists, by Courtenay Young with Laura Hope Steckler, and Andrea Battermann

Synopsis for Publishers
The book, comprising about 100,000 words with over 50 diagrams and illustrations, is designed primarily for body psychotherapists and bodyworkers who wish to know more about human psychology, and especially the physiology of their clients and how it affects their emotional state and thus the work that they do with those clients. Most training courses on body psychotherapy and the various individual bodywork therapies do not go in any great depth into aspects of physiology. These trainings may well focus on certain aspects of the anatomy or physiology where this overlaps with the particular methodology of the training (viz: Gerda Boyesen's psycho-peristalsis; Alexander Technique and posture) but most of the rest of human physiology seems to be either ignored or denied.
This book goes deeper, much deeper, not only into human physiology but also into the wider clinical connections and implications for the body-oriented practitioner. We describe the human body's functioning in certain areas (at least) to the specialist physiological level that (say) a nurse might wish for in their medical training. We also try to impart the added professional perspective on the emotional or psychological importance and therapeutic implications that these aspects may have for the client in therapy.

This book tries to bridge a gap in the range between the standard, formal, medically-accepted, 'scientific' knowledge & practice that is fairly 'mainstream', and some of the more alternative and complementary perspectives that are emerging as a very valid and increasingly accepted ways of pragmatically looking and working with clients: - empirically-based knowledge. These fields are expanding and growing exponentially. We also try to describe what happens when we, as clients, are touched by a therapist (in more senses than one) as well as what happens when we, as therapists, touch. We go into some detail about the multitude of affects and effects and on all the many different levels of what it actually is that we touch and what happens when we touch.

The main text is written in 10 chapters with frequent, detailed illustrations which cover topics like muscle functioning and firing patterns; energy usage; nerve system connections and feed-back; the autonomic nervous system; the brain stem and mid-brain connections; the three embryological layers; the skin; the digestive system; basic body chemistry; peptides - the molecules of emotion; immunology; the new science of neuropsychology; stress and trauma; various theories of consciousness; emotional intelligence; gender differences; holistic perspectives; the ethics of touch; and the inner life of the toucher. There is a comprehensive reading list; footnotes; history; authors' biographies; and an index. Throughout references are made to and examples given for the practical application of this information to professional therapeutic work with clients, either as a body therapist or body psychotherapist.

The book should be of great interest to professionals from all the different modalities of body psychotherapy, which in total, form a surprisingly large 'mainstream' division of psychotherapy; other professionals and therapists working in the field of body therapy, or body-oriented therapies, and also of interest to any clients in therapy as well. We could imagine that many of these perspective could also be of interest to other psychotherapists, and any psychotherapeutic implications may also be of interest to medical practitioners.

Whilst these body psychotherapy modalities and body therapies exist mostly in USA & Europe, there are also quite large contingents of practitioners in Australia and also in Brazil and Japan. Many (60+%) of the practitioners in all non-English speaking countries have a working knowledge command of English.


The various body-oriented psychotherapy modalities include: Alexander Lowen's 'Bioenergetic Analysis'; Gerda Boyesen's 'Biodynamic Psychology & Psychotherapy'; Reichian (Wilhelm Reich's) 'Character-Analytical Vegetotherapy'; Nick Totton & William West's 'Neo-Reichian Psychotherapy'; Chuck Kelley's 'Radix' work; John Pierrakos's 'Core Energetics'; Ron Kurtz's 'Hakomi'; Jay Stattman's 'Unitive Psychotherapy'; Lisbeth Marcher's 'Bodynamic Analysis'; Ajuriaguerra's psychoanalytically-oriented 'Psychomotor Therapy'; David Boadella's 'Biosynthesis'; Ilana Rubenfeld's 'Rubenfeld Synergy'; Malcolm Brown's 'Organismic Psychotherapy'; Al Pesso's 'Pesso-Boyden Psycho-Motor System'; and many others. There is no particular order to this list. There are currently about 40 body psychotherapy training programmes in Europe and many more in the USA, including at least four university Masters and Ph.D. courses in somatic psychology, body psychotherapy or body-oriented psychotherapy, all relatively well-known to the authors.

In the field of bodywork or body therapy, we would expect interest from the field of traditional physiotherapy; various types of massage (Swedish, medical, sports, energy, aromatherapy, etc.); structural, functional and movement therapies like Ida Rolf's 'Rolfing', Joseph Heller's 'Hellerwork', Alexander Technique, Postural Integration, Moshe Feldenkrais' Feldenkrais Method or 'Awareness Through Movement'; the therapies more gear to emotional release like; SHEN Physio-Emotional Release Therapy, Myofacial Release, the Trager Approach, the Rosen Method, etc.; Asian bodywork techniques like Acupunture, Shiastu, Moxibustion, Acu-yoga, etc.; bodywork therapies from the Indian sub-continent, like Aurudevic Medicine, Prana- and Hatha-Yoga; energy-based body therapies like, Therapeutic Touch, Kinesiology, CranioSacral Therapy, Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Reflexology, Metamorphic Technique, etc.

There are also psychologically-oriented body therapies like Rebirthing, Holotropic Breathwork, etc. and purely physiological therapies like: Relaxation Therapy, Autogenic Technique, and so forth. We would also expect considerable interest from other branches of psychotherapy, and art and movement therapies, and from the whole new interest in popular psychology and psychotherapy as well as the explosion of interest in health and general well-being and the body-mind connection.

The book is written primarily by Courtenay Young, a psychotherapist & counsellor, currently working in the NHS. He was assisted in the writing of this book by Laura Hope Steckler PhD, an American Psychology Association and Texas state-registered Clinical Psychologist, who has also trained extensively with Ilana Rubenfeld in her form of body psychotherapy (Rubenfeld Synergy) and is also an accredited Somatic Movement therapist along with valuable inputs from Andrea Battermann, an Edinburgh-based Shiatsu teacher and N.H.S.-registered physiotherapist and lecturer. All three are experienced workshop and course leaders.

As regards marketing, through various national & international associations, we have many contacts in the field, both in Europe and the USA, and there is already considerable interest from a wide variety of colleagues just from casual discussions. The EABP has about 500 members and the USABP has about 600 members and both have contacts with many many more (conference mailings are about 20,000). We also have direct contacts with about 40 teaching institutes and colleges which cover about 7,500 body psychotherapists in Europe. There are probably also at least 15,000 body therapists in the UK and possibly 10 times that number in the USA and we have reasonable connections with these through Complementary Health groups and the Institute of Complementary Medicine. The book would be an ideal supplement to any professional training course to a Master's degree level or NVQ Level 5/6 in any of these disciplines and could probably sell for about 20-30 or $40.

The diagrams in the book are not finalised. They are all line-drawings, no photographs. They are illustrative only and are currently drawn with aid of a simplistic computer programme and fitted into to create a context. They would all need to be re-worked for publication with a professional graphic artist. The index has not been prepared yet.

Two translations are being considered for publication in Greece & in German, and there is a strong likelihood of a Portugeuse edition for Brazil as well. Thus at this time, we want only to offer worldwide English-language rights (UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc.) and would probably like to retain foreign language & translation rights. 



Authors' Introduction :

Chapter 1: What Is It That We Touch?
Body Psychotherapy Work: What we touch first: Muscle Structure: Connective Tissue: Muscle Fibre and Myofibrils: Muscle Contractions: Synapses: Implications:

Chapter 2: Deeper Under the Skin:
Electrical Patterns: Asynchronus Discharge: Tonus: ATP and High-Energy Phosphates: The Beginnings of Fatigue: The Role of Oxygen: Absorption of Sugars: Lymphatic System:

Chapter 3: What Is Connected?
Nerve Stimulation of the Muscles: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis:
Reflex Arcs: The Afferent Nerve and Muscle Spindles: Gamma Nerve System: Inhibition and Reverberation: The Effects of Bodywork on Hypertonic and Hypotonic Muscles: Psychological Effects: Posture.

Chapter 4: Two Systems
Types of Touch: The Autonomic Nervous System: The Biology of Stress: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Connections: Ascending Tracts: Touch
& the ANS: Rebalancing the ANS: Nervous System Repatterning

Chapter 5: Inside the Skull
The Brain Stem: Thalamus and Hypothalamus: Early Theories of Emotion: The Amygdala & Hippocampus: The Emotional Brain: The Cortex & Sub-Cortex:

Chapter 6: Three Layers
Embryology: Emotional Anatomy: The Skin: Other Functions of the Skin: The Body as a Hologram: Body Energy: The Digestive System: The Firing Patterns of Smooth Muscles: Fats and Phospholipid Membranes: A Theory of Evolution: The Endocrine System.

Chapter 7: Emotional Molecules
A New Science: Receptors and Ligands: Chemical Soup: Chemical Feedback Loops: Peptides: The Molecules of Emotion: The Unconscious Body-Mind: Immunology: Peptides and Cancer Research: Pain Control: Meditation Studies: Pheromones:

Chapter 8: Neuropsychology & Psychotherapy
Attention in Neuroscience: Memory in Neuroscience: Working Memory: Long-Term Memory: Executive Functions: The Basic Emotions of Neuropsychology: Internal Consciousness: The Cortex: Frontal Lobes: Towards a General Theory of Consciousness: Mind Modulation of the Immune System:

Chapter 9: The Intelligent Emotional Body
Emotional Memory: Research in Neuroscience: Stress & Trauma: Panic Attacks: Emotional Intelligence: Mental Disorders: Male and Female Differences: Non-Verbal Communication: Super Intelligence

Chapter 10: Working With All This!
Different Perspectives: Empathic Responses: Visualisation of Objectives: Top-Down & Bottom-Up Therapy: The Magic of Touching & the Inner Life of the Toucher: Life Rhythms: Education and Referrals: Legislation and Regulation: Addendum

Reading List:

Authors' Introduction

In the past, body psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy, or somatic psychology has perhaps been associated with, or incorporated into, other body therapies rather than with, or into, the more traditional analytic or behavioural types of psychotherapies. However the situation is changing rapidly. In this introduction, we wish to give an overview of the field within which the book is set.
Body psychotherapy is now accepted in Europe as a 'mainstream' branch of psychotherapy and as a 'scientifically-valid' branch of the emerging profession of psychotherapy by the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP): it is also becoming accepted by a number of 'state boards' in various countries that traditionally only accepted two or three types of psychotherapy like cognitive behavioural, systemic & psychodynamic. Body Psychotherapy (which we can now even begin to capitalize) is becoming one of the leading fields in psychotherapy today as there exists a much greater focus on and interest in the whole body-mind arena: other psychotherapies are even climbing on this band-wagon and claiming some of this territory.
This territory includes the fields known as somatic psychology, psychosomatics, or just somatics (though each of these three will possibly maintain they are different fields); the role of the body-oriented psychotherapies in the use of touch; efficacy research; in new work with trauma patients; and in the links with transpersonal and esoteric beliefs that often have a large body-oriented aspect; as well as also in the new sciences of neuropsychology and psychoneuroimmunology.
In this book, we make a clear distinction throughout between body psychotherapy (with its many variations) and other bodywork or body therapies, though the book is written equally for both fields. Hopefully the distinctions that we use between a type of body psychotherapy and a type of body therapy will become clearer as we progress, but there are essential differences, especially nowadays, as the field becomes redefined. One of these essential differences is that for a form of treatment or practice to fit into the category of 'body psychotherapy', there must be a view of the practice as lying within the wider field of psychotherapy, which is increasingly being defined as a profession in its own right.