by Rabbi Yosef Cornfeld, M.S.W.

In this weeks advanced training Chana presented further ideas about exploring areas that are non-verbal.  She drew on her past experience of training with Alexander Lowen and his theory of bioenergetic analysis.  The idea she presented is to access a language being expressed that is non-verbal.  This could be the client’s breathing, feeling, physical movement, or physical stance.  Sitting in a certain stance can be communicating something.  This could be a memory that has a 3 dimensional recall in the cerebral field, or be represented somatically.  These memories can have a revelation about identity, or about a rupture in identity.  We usually think of change as being gradual, but working with these body memories can reduce the time it takes to get to a certain point and can increase clarity.

She presented some exercises in which we were asked to think of something that needs to be changed in our life, and then to explore where in the body we feel this, what word could describe it, what picture comes from it, what color, size, shape etc. would it be?

Questions were raised in the staff about this new direction, such as do we then try to translate this into something verbal?  And if not, as a therapist how do we know what is going on?  And can this new direction be considered as still being within the realm of classical Narrative Therapy as we know it?  A partial answer given is that it is done Narratively in the sense that it is “non-normative”, it’s done from a non-expert position, from a position of curiosity, and is de-centered.

It is apparent that the Narrative Movement is moving into new directions, as are the Narrative groups in Australia and Denmark.  So we are exploring new areas that fall outside the Narrative Therapy that Michael White taught.  And Chana and Gidon are preparing this mind-body work to present at the 2nd European Conference in Narrative Therapy and Community Work, in which one of the three main tracks is “Narratives of the Body”.

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