Somatic Psychotherapy

Dr Kay Distel, PhD,
Psychotherapist, Listening Consultant
Somatic Psychotherapy

Kay Distel is a fully-trained Somatic Psychotherapist

Kay trained in London at the Gerda Boyesen Centre Acton, completing a Diploma in Biodynamic Psychotherapy in 1984. The next five years she honed her practice, was involved in supervision and training of students, coordinating the public clinic, and worked on developing the curriculum.

On return to Australia, she studied further the mind/body link through specialising in the Tomatis method of listening therapy and the voice/ear/brain connection. She works mainly with children and their parents with listening and learning issues and helps them transform their self-regulation.

While the talents of Gerda Boyesen ended on her passing, her work lives on, and Kay wants to again teach introductory workshops in Gerda Boyesen Methods. She welcomes training inquiries from community centres, health workers, and all types of organisations dealing with stressed people!

Somatic = Treatment of the body as distinct from the mind
Psychotherapy = Therapeutic treatment of any mental health issues by talking with a trained professional.

Somatic Psychotherapy:

Bio-dynamic Massage Therapy

Every emotion, shock and frustration has a direct physiological consequence, as well as a psychological one. To make sense of the energetic and emotional meaning of physical posture and bodily symptoms (and being able to work therapeutically with this information) is the unique contribution of Biodynamic Massage Therapy.

Gerda Boyesen was a Norwegian practicing psychologist and physiotherapist working in a mental hospital in the 1960’s. She was doing her own therapeutic work with a therapist trained by Willem Reich. (Reich pioneered a deep study of the body/mind connection which led to him parting company from Freud before WW2). At her workplace, Gerda observed a form of deep muscle work administered on neurotic patients. Some of these patients came out of their neurosis and some moved more towards madness. It seemed a hit and miss way of working!

Then she observed the bodily sounds of the gut were pronounced on those who were getting well. She realized if may be possible to track the self-regulating mechanism of the body through these sounds. Using a stethoscope to monitor the GUT, she hypothesized that the gut sounds had two functions: physiological – rid the body of accumulated toxic waste, and a psychological function of removing psychological stress. Through exploring different levels of touch, she began to differentiate these sounds.

This is the hallmark of her developing Biodynamic Massage, which acknowledges the synchrony of the body and mind towards self-regulation and integration. From following the client’s gut sounds, we aim to free emotions and energy trapped in the body. Thus we return the body to equilibrium and harmony, and encourage the body’s ability to heal itself.

When in good health, energy flows through our bodies freely. Stress results from an imbalance of energy, causing blockages, which often lead to physical symptoms and eventually to ill health.

Massage which dissolves accumulated tension, brings deep relaxation, improved circulation, energy flow, and relief from tension, anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain and digestive disorders will all contribute to a sense of wellbeing, self-awareness, and body connection. Clients receive individualised massage that works towards an on-going process of releasing stress and tension.

The massage therapist’s ability to create an atmosphere of safety and comfort enables people to relax and gain these benefits. Touch that is caring, attentive, non-sexual and undemanding is very nurturing and creates a sense of well-being. If a client shows discomfort in their body, these feelings are respected and appropriately worked with.

Working at different levels, the massage can be applied to: bones, muscles, tissue, skin and energy. It depends on the most appropriate technique at the time for the client. They may need to: have an awakening of bone energy, encourage the flow of tissue fluids, have trapped energy freed from muscles, harmonized, holding, contained, soothed, supported, and nurtured.

I arrived ten days ago absolutely spent after half the house had been cleared of furniture- the floors sanded and recoated then all furniture returned to normal placings.
The first few days all I could do was sleep in a very deep relaxed state while listening to the lovely Tomatis music. Gradually some of my old energy returned. I have been doing a cleanse at the same time- so I’m not surprised that the energy levels are low. However the change – deep relaxation, good plane food and friendly company have been calming and great for morale.

I can recommend this Tomatis Listening program for all other octagenarians or younger folk interested in self improvement through better listening skills. Thanks Kay ( BV Feb 2016)
Clinical Program Feedback from an Octagenerian