25.11.2015
SOMATIC PERSPECTIVES ON PSYCHOTHERAPY
An Interview with mit Raja Selvam, PhD

(The following is an edited transcript. It varies substantively from the original interview. It was edited by Raja Selvam to make it more clear and informative.)

Serge Prengel: This is a conversation with Raja Selvam. Hi, Raja.

Raja Selvam: Hello, Serge.

Serge: So Raja, you have developed an approach called ISP. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Raja: I would be glad to Serge. ISP stands for Integral Somatic Psychotherapy, and what it is about I will say briefly. I’ve been teaching for a long time different body-based approaches to psychological work, that is, how to make psychological work more effective by bringing in the body and its awareness more than is usual in mainstream psychology. Through my studies and my experience of working with people and teaching large number of clinicians in many countries, I came to a place where I realized a couple of things. One, there is a lot of scientific information on the physiology of emotions and on the process of self-regulation that has not found its way into clinical practice, information that can be used to simplify the integration of the body into any psychological practice. Two, it is not enough to address just the physical body, the only body that science recognizes as the source of all experience, the one that we leave behind in a coffin or have cremated when we die. That it is also important to address the subtle body, what cannot be measured by science or can be measured only with a great deal of effort and expense as in quantum or particle physics research. This body is called the subtle body in the East, as opposed to the gross or physical body, the body that goes into the coffin. The latter body I will refer to as the gross body or physical body in this interview. The gross body has a quantum level as all objects in the world do. The subtle body however exists only at the quantum level. It is also commonly called the energy body in the West but that terminology can be misleading as all bodies, whether gross or subtle, are all made up of energy that differ only in terms of frequency.


Interviewer: Serge Prengel. This conversation was transcribed by Claire Cornelio.


The gross body and subtle body interact at the quantum level. I’m also trained in Eastern psychology and I find parallels in modern quantum physics to what has been discussed in Eastern psychology for a long time. Western Cranial Osteopahty also works with a subtle body. They call it the fluid body and use it to bring about higher regulation in the physical body. One difference is that while Eastern psychology claims that the subtle body can outlive the gross body and reincarnate, Cranial Osteopathy remains silent on this subject. I find it more effective to work with both these bodies simultaneously as the source of all our experiences: perceiving, thinking, feeling, remembering, acting, connecting, relating, etc. It turns out that working with the subtle body is not as difficult as is commonly assumed. But once we include the subtle body, we might as well bring in the larger collective gross and subtle bodies we are or we are part of, depending on one’s point of view, and bring in the dimension of pure consciousness, the absolute body or ground being of all the bodies we are made of, according to Eastern Psychology. In Western psychology, there are several approaches that bring the gross body into psychological work, and some approaches that bring the subtle body in as in energy psychology that is based on the notion of meridians. There are some trans-personal psychology schools that bring in collective gross and subtle bodies as significant influences in our psyche. And there are approaches that bring consciousness into psychological work. Almost all the mindfulness approaches work with consciousness in one way or another. So I thought that it would be most effective to bring as many bodies in and find simple ways to teach clinicians in different orientations how to go about embodying the different bodies or these three dimensions in their practice without having to change the different theoretical orientations they are trained in to work with their clients. But the primary focus of the Integral Somatic Psychotherapy or ISP approach is on how to find simple ways to integrate the individual gross body into any psychological work using available research on the physiology of emotions and self-regulation and on integrating the individual subtle body and its layers into any clinical setting. For example....

Read the full Interview with Raja Selvam here (PDF)

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