Rosen Method Bodywork
How we live in our bodies is also how we live in our lives.
What is Rosen Method Bodywork?
This work was born out of the pioneering work of Marion Rosen (1914-2012). Marion Rosen was a physical therapist for 70 years, and also had a background studying touch therapy in Munich with some of the leading innovators in body-oriented therapies in Europe. During her apprenticeship, she worked with many patients undergoing psychoanalysis and worked with a Jungian analyst named Gustav Heyer.
Her experiences meant that she understood the connections between the physical body and the emotional self. Because of Marion Rosen’s background in physical therapy, Rosen Bodywork is rooted in the anatomical function of the muscles themselves. Because of her Jungian background, the bodywork is also designed to help people to access unconscious feelings.
This is because all people use their musculature to express their emotions, and when emotions are not allowed or are too big to meet in the moment, we also use our musculature to repress or contain the feelings.
In this way, Rosen Method is truly a mind-body therapy which works with both the physical function of the human body, and the emotional function (expression or lack of expression) of the human body.
Who is it for?
The bodywork is designed for people who want an integrated way of getting both relaxation and inner-connection with themselves. It’s for people looking for a different avenue to personal growth that includes their whole self: body, mind, & spirit. Rosen Method helps connect the dots between past experiences, current postures, and expectations of the future.
Often clients have tried various other modalities for chronic physical or emotional pain, and they are looking for something which will effectively address either physical or emotional pain, or –– as it is not uncommon that they show up together –– both.
It is important to note that I am not a psychotherapist and my work is not a substitute for psychotherapy, but a great complement to it. This work however is not for anyone in the midst of an acute mental health crisis. If you are experiencing an acute crisis, I recommend seeking out support from a licensed mental health professional.
What is it like?
Rosen Bodywork happens as private, one-on-one bodywork sessions. A session includes attuned, gentle touch and verbal engagement. Some people say it looks like massage and feels like psychotherapy for the body.
The combination of gentle, direct touch and verbal dialog invites awareness into the body, creating the opportunity to experience yourself from within, underneath physical and emotional habits of tension. This allows you to experience hidden aspects of yourself that long to be seen, heard, and felt.
This habitual tension is explored with a gentle inquiry into which parts of yourself are working when they don’t need to be (in theory, when lying on a massage table your muscles don't have much to do). As we invite gentle awareness to this unconscious muscle tension, it allows whatever work the muscles are doing to come up to consciousness. From this, new possibilities and choices have the space to arise.
With all this talk of releasing muscle tension, you might think that the goal of Rosen Method is to get rid of it. On the contrary, in Rosen Method there is tremendous respect for muscle tension as whatever we had to do at some point in order to cope and to survive. Our muscle tension has quite a lot of intelligence about what we have needed to do to get by. We don't talk about muscle tension in a way that we get rid of it- muscle tension is a juicy door into what we’re doing to ourselves and what we have needed to do. There is tremendous respect for muscle tension and whatever it is our psyche has done to survive. Whatever they did was a way to survive.
Another common misnomer about Rosen Method bodywork is that we only care about ease. While we are definitely inviting people into an easier connection with themselves, this is not accomplished in a “there-there” way. It is much more honest than finding a short cut. In fact, one could say that it is confronting in its simplicity and gentleness.
Why do it?
With something so simple as relaxation with another person, clients can have big changes to how they feel in their bodies, as well as in their thoughts and emotions.
Clients leave a session feeling deeply relaxed, and often connected to elements of themselves they didn't know needed connecting. Sometimes the results are as simple as relaxation, other times the results are profound realizations of how they live their lives, and an opportunity to explore more authentic ways of being that do not rely on old habits.
In short, this is truly about the body-mind connection (and not the body-mind as a buzz word) and so people seek out Rosen for support with emotional changes, relational changes, or to help them address physical pain or to recover from injuries.
Theresa studied with Marion Rosen and I was one of Marion's original patients as Rosen method was being conceived in her basement PT office on Grand Ave. I was deeply moved to recently find Theresa's translation of Marion's brilliant hands, mind and spirit. This work is alive and well and growing ever more relevant- to learn and love our bodies, as well as respecting the force of gravity of the earth on which we walk, and sometimes dance.
Dr. Sue Saperstein