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What is biodynamic craniosacral therapy?

Biodynamic craniosacral therapy is a profound yet gentle form of bodywork which supports the body’s ability to repair itself. It is a very subtle approach to health and yet extremely effective, not only in restoring vitality and resolving physical pain, but has much wider implications both psychologically and spiritually.

The defining insight of the ‘biodynamic’ approach to craniosacral therapy lies in the fact that all form expresses an inherent rhythmic movement that is essential to life; and that this rhythm strives to maintain the balance and health of the whole. The skill in this work comes from how the therapist perceives and interacts with these rhythms in another’s body and allows change to come naturally from within, according to the body’s own inherent intelligence, rather than introducing any kind of force from outside.

‘Cranio’ describes the bones in the skull or cranium and ‘sacral’ the large triangular bone or sacrum at the base of the spine situated between the hipbones. It is at the cranium and sacrum that subtle rhythmic movements within the body are most evident to skilled hands. In fact, these various rhythms occur not just in the bones, but in relation to and within all structures and organs in the body right down to a cellular level. Their movement is much the same as how the lungs breathe, but at much slower pace of expansion and contraction.

How does it work?

Craniosacral biodynamics restores health through being in relationship in a subtle and subliminal way that is beyond our conditioned responses to things. You might say that this approach is ‘silent psychotherapy’, in which we listen through the body rather than through cognition.  Whether our response to trauma and wounding is acute or chronic pain, extreme defensiveness or dissociation, or oppositional reactions of anger, doubt or edginess, the therapist’s role is to be fully relational and present, so as to meet the client’s story.

In craniosacral biodynamics as with many traditional systems of medicine, health is not just seen as the absence of pain and disease but as its own dynamic expression of subtle rhythmic movements in response to the knocks and bumps of life. The therapist attunes to these information-rich rhythms that point to where and how their movement has been compromised perhaps in response to overwhelming force or emotional shock from the past.

The intention is to connect with the dynamic stillness that lies at the centre of all pathologies, just like the centring forces within the eye of a storm. By doing so, the original intention of what became compromised is allowed to return in the present, reorganisation takes place, and habits formed out of the past are at last allowed to subside.

Who can benefit from craniosacral therapy?

  • Excellent clinical results can be achieved in freeing up and dissipating acute and chronic pain and the associated tightly held emotional layers of trauma that often surround it.

  • For people suffering serious diseases, craniosacral therapy can help to contend with side-effects of medication, and support coming to terms with diagnoses.

  • For those who have experienced overwhelming life events, it is excellent for normalising symptoms of shock and trauma.  It is possibly one of the best therapies available for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.

  • For those with chronic fatigue or energy problems and associated symptoms of insomnia, muscle and joint pain, headaches, etc., craniosacral therapy supports the nervous system by improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, positively affecting the entire body.

  • Craniosacral therapy helps process unresolved emotional stories and powerful emotions of grief, fear, depression and anger.

  • It can reduce stress and increase well-being helping many aspects of life from strengthening the immune system to improving interpersonal relationships.

Please note that craniosacral therapy is intended to complement, not replace, the relationship you have with your medical practitioner. If you have or suspect you may have a serious health problem, please see your doctor. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you have read on this website.

Craniosacral therapy is undertaken with exceptional care and sensitivity to your system. In a typical craniosacral session, you will usually lie (or sometimes sit) fully-clothed on a treatment couch. The therapist will make contact by placing his or her hands lightly on your body and tune-in to what is happening by ‘listening’ with the hands. All contact is made in a safe negotiated manner by which the therapist explains his intention to move to different parts of your body.

This calm and gentle contact which is held still for long periods of time, reassures the system that it can release and deepen. The first thing you will probably notice is a sense of deep relaxation, which will generally last throughout the session. With subsequent treatments this release of tension often extends into everyday life. Sometimes the benefits are not immediately noticeable but become obvious on returning to a familiar environment.

Most people find cranial sessions pleasant and relaxing, leaving them with a sense of having been deeply heard and accepted. Sometimes people feel sensations such as warmth, coolness, floating, tingling or numbness or they may experience momentary pain related to past events. The work can involve resolution of these past experiences and is often profoundly relaxing, deeply moving or exhilarating.

What happens in a treatment session?

  • What happens in a Core Process psychotherapy session?
    In Core Process work, the idea is to slow one’s inner-world down, to pay attention, and to start to become aware of what is holding this sense of self together. The intention is to open to a subtler level of reality where one can apprehend process. In the work we distinquish between the mind that is conditioned by the body and the aspect of mind that is distinct from the body. We become very curious how the mind and body are connected particularly through the experience of feeling because it is feeling that engages both mind and body together. There is a bodily experience and an awareness of it and the two meet at the subtle level of energy described as the subtle body. Awareness of this subtle body is so important, because this sense of self arose out of sensory felt experience very early on in development. Perhaps a key difference in Core Process psychotherapy from some, but not all psychotherapy traditions is that the practitioner is expected to be deeply affected by the client. It is only by being deeply affected with the presence of the client, by having the internal embodied capacities to work with those affects and to maintain authentic relationship, that the client may feel that there is a ‘working through’ of deeply held issues. This can occur at all sorts of levels both personal, historical and if you do believe in something that are qualities of human mind that are beyond the cognitive, a quality of deep wisdom becomes available to support this joint practice of enquiry. Within an environment of respect and warmth, my aim is to honour the uniqueness of your process in a nonjudgemental way without any prescribed agenda and to help you find your own way of working. Practiced within this atmosphere of joint-enquiry and compassion, the approach understands awareness to be intrinsically healing and supportive of our discovering greater choice and freedom in our lives. I see my role to be that of a reflector and facilitator to your increasing awareness, a companion in your process.
  • Is psychotherapy confidential and is it safe?
    Confidentiality is an absolutely crucial component in the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Client confidentiality is held sacred and there is no normal circumstance where your confidentiality would not be absolute. However, there are exceptions where normal confidentiality will be waived, such as if you are a danger to yourself or others, when there are legal limits on the extent of confidentiality, or when you give me written permission to disclose information to someone else. In the interests of both client and therapist, the UKCP requires members to incorporate supervision into the therapist’s clinical practice. This means that I use the services of another psychotherapist to review my work with clients, without identifying you by name. I work according to the UKCP Code of Ethics which can be seen on request. I am covered by professional indemnity insurance.
  • How long does psychotherapy take?
    I offer both short-term or open-ended psychotherapy. The number of sessions will depend on you and the depth and complexity of the issues you want to resolve. Core Process Psychotherapy is most effective when continued for a year or more. However, people grow, heal and change at a different pace, everyone’s situation is different, and so the healing process will be different for each of us. Long term therapy does have a beginning, a middle and an end and we would regularly review our work together keeping in mind the original intention.
  • Can I come on a fortnightly or ad hoc basis?
    I do not offer fortnightly or ad hoc sessions. In my experience, therapy requires commitment and needs to be on a regular weekly basis.
  • What happens when I go on holiday?
    We would aim to discuss times of holiday breaks or unavoidable absences in advance. I am also happy to reschedule when possible so that it is rare that I will need to charge for missed sessions. I will also let you know my holiday dates in advance and take up to eight weeks per year.
  • How much does psychotherapy cost?
    My fees are from £70 for a full hour. The initial meeting is free of charge.
  • What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist and counsellor?"
    Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in psychiatry and, unlike psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors, are permitted to prescribe medication for psychological problems. Psychologists have a degree in psychology and are subsequently trained in specialist areas such as clinical, counselling, educational or other fields. Counselling psychologists are trained to practice at least two models of evidence-based therapies. A large number of Counselling Psychologists work in the NHS. It is difficult to draw a clear distinction between psychotherapists and counsellors and it is often a matter of opinion. There are actually no strict, official definitions and they are not protected titles. Some say psychotherapy goes deeper into your issues and emotions, and is longer-term work, and may be more about making a specific diagnosis. Some say counselling is more about a specific issue or situation, and is possibly time-limited. It really depends on the practitioner and how they choose to work.
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