Personality and body

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There’s a story in the news this week about a young woman with a personality disorder. She describes herself with insight and paints a picture of the struggle that she feels with her own emotions and the eating disorder that haunts her.

If you recognise her words, either in your life or in a client, think about how you can work with the body as part of an approach to managing emotional reactions.

– Identify where upsetting feelings are usually located. Are there tummy pains? Foggy head? Palpitations? Sweaty hands? Draw these on a handout or mark them on a doll.
– Practice awareness of the body. Move from the toes to the top of the head, feeling what is happening.
– Focus on areas that link to the overwhelming emotions. Find a way to visualise those parts of the body when upset and when at peace. E.g. A pounding heart might be a wild man playing a drum kit. Put that drum kit in the shallows of a beautiful bay and watch the water wash over him, calming his playing.
– Practice using these visualisations to calm your body when you start to get upset, removing the fuel from your emotional fire.

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