In this post Krystie Edwards shares some thoughts and information about our upcoming training Accessing Somatic Intelligence with Dr Kim Sargent Wishart.
I met Kim when I attended a 1-day experiential training with her 2 or 3 years ago. I don’t remember what the day was called but I do clearly remember how I felt during some of the movement exercises and the overall texture and impression of the day. It is so very different being in a space that is imbued with presence and where the encouragement is to move down into present moment experience, sensation and the body rather than up into thoughts, concepts and theories.
It is not necessarily easy for us largely ‘rational’, individualistic, western culture saturated people to risk the known terrain of the conceptual world/our conceptual selves and ‘let go’ into deeper, immediate, present moment, somatic experience, or perhaps even to consider that there is a ‘somatic intelligence’.
I asked Kim to write down some introductory information about Body-Mind Centering (BMC) from the perspective of how it might be useful to psychotherapists and also some more information about what she will present in the training – you’ll find that below.
Following that is a quote from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s (the founder of BMC) new book – Basic Neurocellular Patterns – that describes the embodiment or rather re-embodiment process, for those of us that have taken up residency primarily in our heads thanks to innumerable experiences of lack of connection/holding/support, perhaps traumatic experience and cultural practices embedded in families, the education and health systems and society in general.
This quote is Bonnie’s nutshell overview of the cumulative process of (re)embodiment – from guiding awareness with visualization to awareness of movement and sensation through to ‘awareness of the cells themselves’. I have not seen it so clearly and beautifully articulated before and have included it for that reason however I am glad she prefaces the description of the 3 stages by stating that embodiment is a being not a doing/knowing process, to mitigate the mind boggling notion that we can expect to have ‘awareness of the cells themselves’ if we commit ourselves to the embodiment process.
I hope they are helpful.
Body-Mind Centering draws on anatomical, physiological and developmental principles and systems through directly experiential methods. One aim of this somatic approach is to open possibilities of being more present and engaged in relationship – with your own embodied self, with your environment, and with other people in your life, including your clients. BMC practices foster an easeful presence, while also allowing for finer responsiveness to a given situation, drawing on the wisdom of the body’s cellular make-up and other physiological systems as a support for the nervous system.
BMC is sometimes called a ‘bottom-up’ approach, meaning that it recognizes the intelligence at play in the body’s cellular territory as an equal partner to the brain and nervous system in how we can know and navigate the world.
Somatics is a broad term for a range of approaches that focus on engaging with the alive, dynamic and inseparable processes of body and mind, what Thomas Hanna (who coined the term ‘somatics’) called ‘the body as perceived from within’. ‘Felt sense’ and ‘interoception’ are terms that refer to similar territory.
Along with experiential learning – including guided movement explorations, somatic meditation, and (carefully negotiated) hands-on work in partners – participants will have opportunities to bridge this work to support personal and professional well-being. Depending on the individual needs, this might mean applying the material to self-care, balancing rest and activity, drawing on body-based intuition in working with clients, and/or bringing more movement and body awareness into therapeutic and counselling environments. There will be structured time for participants to dialogue around applying the material to real-life situations and incorporating somatics into professional practice.
This workshop is suitable for therapists new to somatic approaches as well as those more experienced who wish to deepen their embodied experience.
For more about BMC: https://bmcassociation.org/about/bmc
“Body-Mind Centering® is an ongoing, experiential journey into the alive and changing territory of the body. The explorer is the mind – our thoughts, feelings, energy, soul, and spirit. Through this journey we are led to an understanding of how the mind is expressed through the body in movement.” – Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, founder of BMC
Kim Sargent Wishart
“The Embodiment Process
The process of embodiment is a being process, not a doing process. It is not a thinking process: it is an awareness process in which the guide and witness dissolve into cellular consciousness.
Visualization: is the process by which the brain imagines (visualizes) aspects of the body and informs the body that it (the body) exists. In this process there is a director or guide.
Somatization: is the process by which the kinaesthetic (movement) and tactile (touch) sensory systems inform the body that it (the body) exists. In this process there is a witness – an inner awareness of the process
Embodiment: is the awareness of the cells themselves. It is a direct experience. There are no intermediary steps or translations. There is no guide. There is no witness. There is the fully known consciousness of the experienced moment initiated from the cells themselves. In this instance the brain is the last to know. There is complete knowing and peaceful comprehension. Out of this embodiment process emerges feeling, thinking, witnessing and understanding.”
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement, 2018
Thanks to Nina Mekisic for the inspiration for this blog and the initial draft.
Details about the workshop are available at:
There is an early bird fee until August 31st.