Developed by Sigmund Freud’s student Wilhelm Reich, integrative body therapy is based on the belief that psychological traumas have physical counterparts, so that when we become psychologically wounded, our physical bodies become wounded as well. Integrative body therapy is a process that aims to uncover the wounds that are at the root of our problems and holds that eating disorder behaviors are associated with feelings of abandonment and loneliness. To escape our painful feelings of inner emptiness, we attempt to develop a comforting relationship with something outside of ourselves, be it food, money, or certain people. But since the object in focus can never satisfy our longing and doesn’t address the basis of the problem, we never feel satisfied. And we’re never at peace.
Integrative body therapy works to heal the problem at its essence, and, once this is done, behaviors such as eating disorders begin to disappear. Integrative body therapist Jane Latimer cautions that this is not a quick process, as most people with emotional eating issues are so disconnected from their bodies that they cannot access that deeper, inner wounding at the beginning. The major part of the therapist’s job is to help patients reconnect with what they are feeling underneath. “They need to start connecting the trigger, the thing that started them feeling out of control,” Latimer says. “If they can connect the trigger with some of the older wounding, then they can begin the healing and actually start putting the pieces back in place.”
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