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  • Writer's pictureLowen Foundation

Women in Body Psychotherapy

In celebration of International Women's Day The Alexander Lowen Foundation would like to recognize the contributions of some of the women in Body Psychotherapy past and present that helped shape the therapeutic field and the world.

Elsa Gindler (1885-1961) was a gymnastics teacher and may be considered the grandmother of Body Psychotherapy. Her work developed out of her own healing process after being diagnosed with a severe illness as a young woman. She discovered that calm in the physical field is equivalent to trust in the psychic field, which later became basic to all subsequent research. Her work developed, offering opportunities for each person to become more aware of what was happening in their own organism. Her influence reached across many in fields such as physical therapy, dance, movement, and psychotherapy, including Otto Fenichel, Charlotte Selver, and even Wilhelm Reich. (from The Influence of Elsa Gindler by Judyth O. Weaver)

Gerda Boyesen (1922-2005) was a psychologist and physiotherapist who created Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy, which to this day remains a major school of Body Psychotherapy. She developed useful ways of using the association between the digestive system's peristaltic movements and the discharge of emotions in psychotherapy. She coined the term "psycho-peristalsis" to designate the psychological functions of the gastrointestinal system. She had a particular gentle way of helping a person to get in contact with their deep vegetative flows, to open the person's breathing and emotions, and to support their deep relaxation. Her approach continues to be taught and practiced around the world. (from The Norwegian Tradition of Body Psychotherapy by Nicholas Bassal)

Eleanor A. Greenlee was a a Senior International Bioenergetic Trainer with over forty years of Bioenergetics experience. She passed away earlier this year on January 13, 2022. She was a Certified Bioenergetic Therapist since 1976, had a private practice in California and led therapy, exercise classes, and training workshops all over the world. In 2013, The Alexander Lowen Foundation published a rare recording of a conversation between Ms. Greenlee and Frederic Lowen in which she shared her insights about the ways to help people feel themselves, reconnect with their bodies, and lead healthier lives.

Alice K. Ladas is a pioneer of body psychotherapy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and sexuality education. In 1956 she helped form the Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis. She is the co-author of the NY Times best seller The G Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality. She is the recipient of The Smith College Medal and in 2008, the USABP named its research award The Alice Kahn Ladas Research Award to honor her for her tireless efforts to further research in Somatic Psychotherapy. She is a licensed psychologist in New Mexico and one of The Alexander Lowen Foundation's online psychotherapists. Watch an interview with Ms. Ladas >

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