Neurodynamic psychotherapy

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I offer training and supervision to clinicians in ‘neurodynamic psychotherapy’. This was first proposed by the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria in 1925 as a way of integrating psychoanalysis with neuroscience, but it could not be realised in the then USSR.

I have been developing neurodynamic psychotherapy with a neuropsychiatrist colleague, Dr José Ignacio Xavier (based in Rio de Janeiro).  We have both had extensive training in the body-oriented psychoanalytic therapy developed by Wilhelm Reich – in effect a ‘Pulsation Therapy’ focused on the breathing, emotional expression, and healthy sexual functioning. We have developed this further along the lines suggested by Luria.

I introduced ‘The Neurodynamic Approach to Psychotherapy’ at the German Psychosomatic Medicine Conference in 2005. It is further described in my book PULSATION – From Wilhelm Reich to Neurodynamic Psychotherapy (2014).

The ‘neuro’ part of the word ‘Neurodynamic’ refers not only to the brain but the entire ‘neural network’ that governs both voluntary and involuntary attention and movement.

‘Dynamic’ refers traditionally to action and reaction, but neuroscience (consistently with modern physics) increasingly sees dynamics as relational interaction – between ourselves and others, as well as within ourselves between conflicting emotions and thoughts.

The key functions in the neurodynamic approach are attention, contact, and pulsation.

Attention underlies all neuropsychological functioning. Neurodynamic psychotherapy encourages the client to pay attention to every moment, as in ‘mindfulness’, but also intensifies it through work with the breathing and bodily movement.

The pulsation of the breathing is what keeps us alive, but it can be impaired by blocks to contact and to free movement, in the form of chronically immobilised muscles which prevent the lively expression of emotion, and in turn awareness of feelings and of ‘forbidden’ or self-censored thoughts.