Rosen and Psychotherapy
“In Rosen Method, the client’s story is not fundamental; the underlying goodness, wholeness, essence or being is fundamental” – ‘Rosen Method, An Approach to Wholeness and Well-Being Through the Body’, by Elaine L Mayland
Rosen students and clients often say that the Rosen touch feels unique and very different from other bodywork they may have received in the past. Although it touches the physical body in search of chronic tension and restricted breath, the awareness and contact that is sought is with the inner person and their emotional life. The touch and comments of the practitioner, and the dialogue that occurs both verbally and through the Rosen touch, allow a landscape of feeling, memories, sensations, self-reflections and insights to appear. Over time, Rosen works to enable the client to continue to develop a flexible and open mind, and a body that is at ease.
In Rosen Method, mind and body can be described as an inseparable unit. A Rosen practitioner works through touch to access this unity, to affect both.
The ‘body’ has historically been considered off-limits in traditional psychotherapy and analysis. With the growth of body psychotherapy and body-oriented therapies, many psychotherapists are reassessing the role of the body in therapy. They are recognising the benefits to be gained from including the body rather than seeing it as something separate from the ‘person’. In recent trauma-therapy developments, including the physical body is considered fundamental to recovery and change.
The benefits of Rosen Method for ‘talking therapy’ clients
Sometimes a talking therapy in combination with Rosen Method works well in helping a client to make more connections, and to develop a stronger ego and more awareness. Some clients find that the benefits they get from Rosen Method are sufficient without attending counselling or psychotherapy, and that the level of verbalisation that takes place in Rosen Method sessions is enough for them. Others may already have been in therapy and prefer to make their bodies the focus of their on-going evolvement and personal journey.
Practitioners may also suggest to a client that they would benefit from finding a psychotherapist or counsellor to help them process or talk through particular issues. On other occasions a psychotherapist might suggest to a client that they could benefit from a body-based therapy to unlock areas that are closed down or where therapy has reached an impasse. The material that is released during a Rosen session can continue to be processed with a counsellor or psychotherapist.
The benefits of Rosen Method for psychotherapists and counsellors
Rosen training offers a way for psychotherapists to gain an intimate experience of the power of gentle touch, a touch which tracks the subtle shifts and changes of their client’s inner state. It provides a route to the unconscious.
Counsellors and psychotherapists can also learn to engage with their clients in a different way: while self-awareness is important in both Rosen and talking therapies, a key difference is that, in psychotherapy, clients tend to think about themselves, their thoughts and behaviours as though they are distant from the present moment (“conceptual self-awareness”), the aim being to change cognitive and behavioural patterns. In Rosen, clients are guided towards states of “embodied self-awareness” – felt experience in the present moment of emotions and sensations (tingly, warm etc). There is no intention to fix or change the client. Instead, feelings (often long-suppressed) are allowed to emerge in this state naturally, to be processed and integrated. As Marion Rosen said: “Once the barriers (to feeling) are removed, growth will take place as a direct result, without effort or help from the outside.”
Rosen training teaches a different way of listening to and communicating with clients to guide them towards embodied self-awareness. It also supports practitioners and therapists in their own development, so they can become more fully present in their daily lives – and with their clients.