Stanley Keleman and
Formative Psychology

Who was Stanley Keleman

Stanley Keleman has been practicing and developing somatic therapy for over forty years and is a pioneer in his study of the body and its connection to the sexual, emotional, psychological and imaginative aspects of human experience. Through his writings and practice, he has developed a methodology and conceptual framework for the life of the body. He is the creator of Formative Psychology™.

Keleman has been the director of the Center for Energetic Studies in Berkeley, California since 1971, where he maintains a private and group practice and an active schedule of national and international professional programs. He is the honorary president and director for research at the Zurich School for Form and Movement, and the Institute for Formative Psychology™ in Solingen, Germany where he also teaches.

He is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the European Body Psychotherapy Association and the American Body Psychotherapy Association. He received an honorary Ph.D. from Saybrook University for his contributions to the field of body psychotherapy and humanistic psychology. He is the author of numerous books including Emotional Anatomy, Embodying Experience and The Body Speaks Its Mind. Currently, he is writing a book on dreams and the body.

He maintains a private practice for individuals September through June and has ongoing groups intended for those who have had experience at the Center and who wish to deepen this experience.

Stanley Keleman’s interest in the body has always been experientially based, beginning with an early involvement in athletics and continuing in his education at the Chiropractic Institute of New York, where he graduated in l954.

After starting his practice as a clinician, he began to observe the relationship between emotional conflict, organismic movement and distortions of body posture. Following his interest, he initiated a program of training and research into the life of the body. He became a member in l957 of Alexander Lowen’s Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis and was, until the l970’s, a senior trainer. He attended the Alfred Adler Institute and his thinking was affected profoundly by Adler’s ideas on the relationship of the state of the organism to its functioning, the will to power, and the role of society in personality development. This education and training balanced the characterological approaches of Lowen, Freud, and Reich.

At this same time, Keleman began a personal mentorship with Nina Bull, a member of Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, Columbia University, and author of Attitude Theory of Emotions. He joined with her on a research project which resulted in her book, The Body and Its Mind. Bull’s social philosophy and neurological training established Keleman’s neural-somatic model for emotions and goal-oriented behavior.

His inquiries then took him to Europe where he studied Daisen Analysis in Zurich with Dr. Dori Gutscher in the school of Medard Boss. He moved from a sexual and social emphasis to a different philosophical perspective, more phenomenological and existentially oriented.

In Germany he formed an association with Professor Karlfried von Durckheim at the Center for Initiation Studies. Durckheim offered an approach that used the human form to reveal the relationship of man to his own nature and to bigger nature. These studies led to central experiences that confirmed his concept of the body as the center of one’s self. They gave seed to the experiences that eventually led to formative psychology™ and Keleman’s particular somatic-emotional methodology.

After returning to the United States in 1967, he moved to California where he interned at Esalen Institute in group dynamics and was exposed to humanistic psychology, the leading edge of psychology at the time. There in an atmosphere of cultural revolution, he established his form of working bodily. The interaction with many leaders of the humanistic movement – Carl Rodgers, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Alan Watts and others – provided a forum for his ideas. He met Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, and began a fifteen year association, teaching an annual program in which they developed connections between myth and the body. These workshops evolved into the annual programs taught by Stanley in Berkeley and Solingen Germany that connect dreams, body and the formative process.

Since 1990 Keleman has developed his work with an emphasis on education rather than therapy. He has applied ideas from Darwin’s theory of evolution and Einstein’s theory of mass and energy to understanding how shapes change over time and how the individual can learn to influence the body nature has given.

His commitment to understanding the life of the body keeps him abreast of the changes in modern biology, neurobiology and molecular dynamics all of which help him understand how the body develops and matures. Along with his vision and philosophy of formative psychology™, he has developed an original methodology for teaching individuals how to participate in their own formative process. His pioneering efforts continue take him into the forefront of learning how the body shapes itself over time, through all of life’s stages.

His formative psychology™ and methodology rests firmly on an anatomical and physiological base, as well as a psychological and mythological understanding. His approach deals with the human condition in its societal and evolutionary thrust toward forming a personal somatic self.

Formative psychology™ is based in the evolutionary process in which life continually forms the next series of shapes, from birth through maturity to old age. At conception each person is given a biological and emotional inheritance, but it is through voluntary effort that a human fulfills the potential for forming a personal life. Form gives rise to feeling. When individual identity is grounded in somatic reality, we can say: I know who I am by how I experience myself.

Formative psychology™ gives a philosophy and method of how to work with our life. We learn to regenerate our emotional and instinctual vitality, to inhabit our body, and to incorporate our excitement and emotional aliveness. The goal of formative practice is to use daily life to practice being present and to create an adult self and reality. I proceed from the premise that we are each conceived as an adult and that we grow the adults we are meant to be.

All of us are in a continual process of forming, stabilizing, and reforming our adult reality. This process of forming and reforming is a continuous extension and contraction of tissue motility, a reflex that is an unbroken chain through our life. Pulsation is an essential expression of our hormonal and emotional life. The pulse process, like the heartbeat, is crucial in the maintaining our body shape and development. A continuous pulse organizes cycles of arousal. When pulsation is inhibited or overstimulated, our somatic, emotional and mental life also changes.

In the practice of forming, we work with the pulsation patterns of the soma and restore the bodys natural rhythm and vitality. The areas of voluntary management in the brain are used and undergo growth.

There is a methodology to formative psychology™ that I call the Bodying Practice. The Bodying Practice engages the voluntary part of the brain to work with the reflex, nonvolitional somatic functions. The brain can suggest patterns of behavior as well as form an image of its own body to have a relationship with itself. Of first importance is to be bodied, to form ones body in living the stages of our somatic existence.

The Bodying Practice is inaugurated by intensifying whatever we recognize as our present somatic-emotional stance. This intensifying is meant to magnify the pattern of our way of being present along with its images, memories, and thoughts. We can then disorganize what we have voluntarily done and in so doing learn how we can have some say over what we do. This helps bring into relief the reflex or unknown structures that have been inaccessible to us. It is similar to throwing a pebbled into the water and initiating rings of response. In this sequence, we become familiar with how we organize our actions and how we can use our brains to affect our responses and feelings. The work of the exercises is to form an adult soma and brain, and an adult emotionality in social relationships.

The work is not only meant to be intimate with past structures and how to disorganize them, but it is also about having a tool for present and future situations.

The exercises are done slowly in frame-by-frame fashion to discover ones own speed and to compensate for somatic anesthesia—to become intimate with the unforming and forming sensation of the pulse pattern.

To work somatically in this way is to bring about a shift in recognition and to experience the way we organize to be present, to solve problems and to try on the new shapes of expression. It also organizes a dialogue between body and brain which shifts the patterns of meaning and order. We begin to live our destiny, our somatic inheritance. We begin to empower ourselves in forming our adult and its relationships.

Formative Methodology: The Bodying Practice

Few people realize that their somatic-emotional presence is a complex organizing that is usually unconscious. The formative exercise method is designed to bring into relief and vivify the organizing and disorganizing sequence of somatic-emotional shapes.

The Bodying Practice is based on the expansion-contraction pulsatory reflex and has five steps:

  1. What is our somatic situation? Organize the muscular pattern of our organization
  2. Intensify the pattern to make vivid the emotional attitude
  3. Undo the intensified emotional-muscular attitude.
  4. Pause. Contain the pulsatory response
  5. Reorganization of new patternsSteps two and three, done voluntarily, make it possible to influence unconscious behavior. As we practice increasing and decreasing the intensity of muscular emotional shape, we generate specific sensations and feelings. This voluntary practice grows the cortical function to influence reflex responses, making them personal. This dialogue of body and brain grows our personal somatic adult.

The Bodying Practice is a powerful tool to help reorganize past somatic traumas and to help form somatic solutions to problems. However, its most urgent purpose is continue, extend, and reorganize experience to grow a personal somatic identity. For example, it can help identify and then reorganize constraint around the heart allowing a flood of blood warmth that might enable us to love again. It may also use its warmth to personalize a love relationship and deepen bonds.

To be able to influence the intensity of how we respond is no small thing. There is no stereotyped way to do the exercises, no need to perform. What is important is how you learn from doing. I recommend doing the exercises with a slow rhythmic pace. This helps freeze-frame a phase, to hold the form so as to savor the shift in shape and feeling. This is an important experience in self-regulation and identity.

The work is to link the deep pulse process between form and expression so as to deepen the instinctual and personal somatic adult self. The exercises are ways to help us know our somatic-emotional identity and, if we wish, to change our state, to be here differently. This is how problems are truly resolved. The work, then, is a process that aids in establishing a basic somatic adult self that gives us a truer sense of our identity, a somatic sanity and reality.

The Bodying Practice stresses daily life as the practice of forming. bodying the adult self. It is a process of existence, a pulsatory continuum. It invokes a reflex of expanding, gathering, disassembling, regathering, reorganizing, growing, and forming.

The urge to form is a basic appetite that is the generator of optimism, hope, and charity. The ability to commit to this process, using the brains cortex, gives our life a reference for living and generates satisfaction.

The Formative method:

How We Voluntarily Influence Being Present in the World Formative Philosophy

Anatomic structure is behavior. Formative philosophy states that there are two ways the body manages its behavioral process. One is inherited, the pulsatory, neural, and muscular patterns we are born with; the other is voluntary effort. Both arise from the cells and are a natural body process. Inherited behavioral patterns are autonomous and automatic. They require no voluntary effort. Voluntary behavior arises from the inherited, nonvolitional and is localized in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex has the ability to voluntarily influence behavior, creating new connections and new patterns. These new behaviors becomes anatomic and supplement inherited behavior. Both of these behaviors, the inherited and the voluntary, are experiences of self-knowing.

The soma grows an adult by organizing a series of shapes over time. There is a sequence in this series of shapes. They begin as unformed, motile shapes; then they become diffuse and porous. Finally, they become more formed and stable, rigid or dense shapes.

This sequence of developmental shapes can be influenced by gradients of voluntary effort. With voluntary effort, the cortex can manage surges of motility, the osmotic diffusion of porosity, rigid firmness, and compacted shapes. The unformed, unstable and the stabilizing continuum of shapes takes place between the body and its cortex and the world.

Adults who learn to influence their behavioral process develop an ability to govern their lives and their transitions. Adults who grow their voluntary function are able to embody new experiences and actions. They develop a variety of ways to be present in the world. Discrete voluntary acts make complexity from simplicity and transform and deepen both our anatomic and our experiential reality. Voluntarily formed behavior organizes anatomic structure—-a living memory that is a center of acting and knowing.

The forming of a personal anatomic structure requires persistent voluntary effort. Voluntary effort extended over time grows anatomic connections that form relationships between the body and its cortex. It is a somatic function that can alter and create an anatomical structure.

Voluntary effort is the driving force in the development of a personal life. It has consequences for influencing emotions, satisfaction, relationships, and personal destiny and awareness.

Anatomic Memories

An anatomic structure is a remembered behavior. Remembered behavior is ready to be used, since it has already gone through the motile stage and the diffuse and porous stage. A remembered behavior may be recognized as anxiety, yielding, stiffening, or hunkering down.

There are four patterns of remembered behavior: Two are inherited, one is unprogrammed and the last is volitionally formed. The first inherited pattern of remembered behavior is the organization of an organism, its architecture and its movements of expansion and contraction. The second inherited pattern of remembered behavior is the patterns of electrical excitatory pulses, which resonate and form bonds with other cells, like birds chirping together. The next pattern is the experiences that accompany the developmental process. Then there are the anatomic behaviors formed by voluntary effort. Voluntary effort influences inherited and developmental behavior.

The Formative Method

The method of formative psychology™ regenerates our emotional and instinctual vitality. It suggests ways to inhabit our body and to resist shrinking from our excitement and emotional aliveness. Emphasis is on daily life as the practice of being present as an adult somatic self.

Each conception represents a unique combination of tissue types with a particular organizational process. The endomorph, a pear-shaped soma with big lungs and intestines, gathers and incorporates. The square-shaped, muscular mesomorph likes to act and confront. The long-bodied ectomorph has a large sensory area for gathering information and is hyperactive and alert. These body types give an orientation to the organism’s experiences and toward others—to incorporate, to confront, to be alert and motile. How we do the exercises, and the responses we have to them, are related to the type we are. We can do them and respond in an endo or meso or ecto way. We can misjudge our responses or be critical of them.

There is a general organizing process that forms our somatic reality. This organizing process is essential in establishing a relationship to ourself. It has several phases and stages. Four stages, on a continuum, are tissue responses: swollen, porous, rigid, and dense. These stages affect how our soma also has a shape. We can be a mesomorph that is swollen or porous, rigid or dense. Our bodies can be inflated, with the membrane stretched, or the membrane can be porous, rigid, or compact. These states influence our organizing process. It is important to know that our inherited vitality and desires, our arousal and emotional and social response patterns, can be modified or exaggerated, individuated and personalized. We can do the exercises and respond in a swollen, porous, or rigid way. The brain is able to influence its somatic state and compensate.

Pulsation is an essential expression of our emotional life. The exercises influence and extend the motility and pulsation of our tissues which in turn organize cycles of arousal. When pulsation is inhibited or over stimulated, our shape also changes. The organizing pulse, when interrupted or over aroused, disturbs the bodying process. The methodology of formative psychology™ engages the volitional part of the brain to work with the nonvolitional tides of excitatory pulsation, desire, and feeling.

The exercise method is inaugurated when (1) we recognize the pattern of our present somatic-emotional stance, an ectomorphic, alert state.( 2) we intensify our pattern of somatic presence and give ourselves more definition, a mesomorphic function. We magnify the pattern of action, and the images, memories, and thoughts that accompany it. (3) we disorganize the muscular pattern that has been organized. This is also a mesomorphic function. These three steps bring into relief unknown somatic-emotional structures and their rings of response. Step two organizes rigidity and density, while step three organizes porosity and swollenness. (4) In this step, we contain the swelling of pulsation, excitement or image made available from step three. This is an endomorphic, porous shape. (5) This step is new form, new behavior. It is a reorganization for a new somatic adult reality.

Somatic work organizes a dialogue between body and brain which shifts the pattern of meaning and order. We begin to live our destiny, our somatic emotional-inheritance. We begin to empower ourselves in forming our adult and its relationships. In this way we recognize and experience the body we have, the body we live, and the possibility of the soma we can be.

Formative psychology™ is based in the evolutionary process in which life continually forms the next series of shapes, from birth through maturity to old age. At conception each person is given a biological and emotional inheritance, but it is through voluntary effort that a human fulfills the potential for forming a personal life. Form gives rise to feeling. When individual identity is grounded in somatic reality, we can say: I know who I am by how I experience myself.

Formative psychology™ gives a philosophy and method of how to work with our life. We learn to regenerate our emotional and instinctual vitality, to inhabit our body, and to incorporate our excitement and emotional aliveness. The goal of formative practice is to use daily life to practice being present and to create an adult self and reality. I proceed from the premise that we are each conceived as an adult and that we grow the adults we are meant to be.

All of us are in a continual process of forming, stabilizing, and reforming our adult reality. This process of forming and reforming is a continuous extension and contraction of tissue motility, a reflex that is an unbroken chain through our life. Pulsation is an essential expression of our hormonal and emotional life. The pulse process, like the heartbeat, is crucial in the maintaining our body shape and development. A continuous pulse organizes cycles of arousal. When pulsation is inhibited or overstimulated, our somatic, emotional and mental life also changes.

In the practice of forming, we work with the pulsation patterns of the soma and restore the bodys natural rhythm and vitality. The areas of voluntary management in the brain are used and undergo growth.

There is a methodology to formative psychology™ that I call the Bodying Practice. The Bodying Practice engages the voluntary part of the brain to work with the reflex, nonvolitional somatic functions. The brain can suggest patterns of behavior as well as form an image of its own body to have a relationship with itself. Of first importance is to be bodied, to form ones body in living the stages of our somatic existence.

The Bodying Practice is inaugurated by intensifying whatever we recognize as our present somatic-emotional stance. This intensifying is meant to magnify the pattern of our way of being present along with its images, memories, and thoughts. We can then disorganize what we have voluntarily done and in so doing learn how we can have some say over what we do. This helps bring into relief the reflex or unknown structures that have been inaccessible to us. It is similar to throwing a pebbled into the water and initiating rings of response. In this sequence, we become familiar with how we organize our actions and how we can use our brains to affect our responses and feelings. The work of the exercises is to form an adult soma and brain, and an adult emotionality in social relationships.

The work is not only meant to be intimate with past structures and how to disorganize them, but it is also about having a tool for present and future situations.

The exercises are done slowly in frame-by-frame fashion to discover ones own speed and to compensate for somatic anesthesia—to become intimate with the unforming and forming sensation of the pulse pattern.

To work somatically in this way is to bring about a shift in recognition and to experience the way we organize to be present, to solve problems and to try on the new shapes of expression. It also organizes a dialogue between body and brain which shifts the patterns of meaning and order. We begin to live our destiny, our somatic inheritance. We begin to empower ourselves in forming our adult and its relationships.

Formative Methodology: The Bodying Practice

Few people realize that their somatic-emotional presence is a complex organizing that is usually unconscious. The formative exercise method is designed to bring into relief and vivify the organizing and disorganizing sequence of somatic-emotional shapes.

The Bodying Practice is based on the expansion-contraction pulsatory reflex and has five steps:

  1. What is our somatic situation? Organize the muscular pattern of our organization
  2. Intensify the pattern to make vivid the emotional attitude
  3. Undo the intensified emotional-muscular attitude.
  4. Pause. Contain the pulsatory response
  5. Reorganization of new patternsSteps two and three, done voluntarily, make it possible to influence unconscious behavior. As we practice increasing and decreasing the intensity of muscular emotional shape, we generate specific sensations and feelings. This voluntary practice grows the cortical function to influence reflex responses, making them personal. This dialogue of body and brain grows our personal somatic adult.

The Bodying Practice is a powerful tool to help reorganize past somatic traumas and to help form somatic solutions to problems. However, its most urgent purpose is continue, extend, and reorganize experience to grow a personal somatic identity. For example, it can help identify and then reorganize constraint around the heart allowing a flood of blood warmth that might enable us to love again. It may also use its warmth to personalize a love relationship and deepen bonds.

To be able to influence the intensity of how we respond is no small thing. There is no stereotyped way to do the exercises, no need to perform. What is important is how you learn from doing. I recommend doing the exercises with a slow rhythmic pace. This helps freeze-frame a phase, to hold the form so as to savor the shift in shape and feeling. This is an important experience in self-regulation and identity.

The work is to link the deep pulse process between form and expression so as to deepen the instinctual and personal somatic adult self. The exercises are ways to help us know our somatic-emotional identity and, if we wish, to change our state, to be here differently. This is how problems are truly resolved. The work, then, is a process that aids in establishing a basic somatic adult self that gives us a truer sense of our identity, a somatic sanity and reality.

The Bodying Practice stresses daily life as the practice of forming. bodying the adult self. It is a process of existence, a pulsatory continuum. It invokes a reflex of expanding, gathering, disassembling, regathering, reorganizing, growing, and forming.

The urge to form is a basic appetite that is the generator of optimism, hope, and charity. The ability to commit to this process, using the brains cortex, gives our life a reference for living and generates satisfaction.

The Formative method:

How We Voluntarily Influence Being Present in the World Formative Philosophy

Anatomic structure is behavior. Formative philosophy states that there are two ways the body manages its behavioral process. One is inherited, the pulsatory, neural, and muscular patterns we are born with; the other is voluntary effort. Both arise from the cells and are a natural body process. Inherited behavioral patterns are autonomous and automatic. They require no voluntary effort. Voluntary behavior arises from the inherited, nonvolitional and is localized in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex has the ability to voluntarily influence behavior, creating new connections and new patterns. These new behaviors becomes anatomic and supplement inherited behavior. Both of these behaviors, the inherited and the voluntary, are experiences of self-knowing.

The soma grows an adult by organizing a series of shapes over time. There is a sequence in this series of shapes. They begin as unformed, motile shapes; then they become diffuse and porous. Finally, they become more formed and stable, rigid or dense shapes.

This sequence of developmental shapes can be influenced by gradients of voluntary effort. With voluntary effort, the cortex can manage surges of motility, the osmotic diffusion of porosity, rigid firmness, and compacted shapes. The unformed, unstable and the stabilizing continuum of shapes takes place between the body and its cortex and the world.

Adults who learn to influence their behavioral process develop an ability to govern their lives and their transitions. Adults who grow their voluntary function are able to embody new experiences and actions. They develop a variety of ways to be present in the world. Discrete voluntary acts make complexity from simplicity and transform and deepen both our anatomic and our experiential reality. Voluntarily formed behavior organizes anatomic structure—-a living memory that is a center of acting and knowing.

The forming of a personal anatomic structure requires persistent voluntary effort. Voluntary effort extended over time grows anatomic connections that form relationships between the body and its cortex. It is a somatic function that can alter and create an anatomical structure.

Voluntary effort is the driving force in the development of a personal life. It has consequences for influencing emotions, satisfaction, relationships, and personal destiny and awareness.

Anatomic Memories

An anatomic structure is a remembered behavior. Remembered behavior is ready to be used, since it has already gone through the motile stage and the diffuse and porous stage. A remembered behavior may be recognized as anxiety, yielding, stiffening, or hunkering down.

There are four patterns of remembered behavior: Two are inherited, one is unprogrammed and the last is volitionally formed. The first inherited pattern of remembered behavior is the organization of an organism, its architecture and its movements of expansion and contraction. The second inherited pattern of remembered behavior is the patterns of electrical excitatory pulses, which resonate and form bonds with other cells, like birds chirping together. The next pattern is the experiences that accompany the developmental process. Then there are the anatomic behaviors formed by voluntary effort. Voluntary effort influences inherited and developmental behavior.

The Formative Method

The method of formative psychology™ regenerates our emotional and instinctual vitality. It suggests ways to inhabit our body and to resist shrinking from our excitement and emotional aliveness. Emphasis is on daily life as the practice of being present as an adult somatic self.

Each conception represents a unique combination of tissue types with a particular organizational process. The endomorph, a pear-shaped soma with big lungs and intestines, gathers and incorporates. The square-shaped, muscular mesomorph likes to act and confront. The long-bodied ectomorph has a large sensory area for gathering information and is hyperactive and alert. These body types give an orientation to the organism’s experiences and toward others—to incorporate, to confront, to be alert and motile. How we do the exercises, and the responses we have to them, are related to the type we are. We can do them and respond in an endo or meso or ecto way. We can misjudge our responses or be critical of them.

There is a general organizing process that forms our somatic reality. This organizing process is essential in establishing a relationship to ourself. It has several phases and stages. Four stages, on a continuum, are tissue responses: swollen, porous, rigid, and dense. These stages affect how our soma also has a shape. We can be a mesomorph that is swollen or porous, rigid or dense. Our bodies can be inflated, with the membrane stretched, or the membrane can be porous, rigid, or compact. These states influence our organizing process. It is important to know that our inherited vitality and desires, our arousal and emotional and social response patterns, can be modified or exaggerated, individuated and personalized. We can do the exercises and respond in a swollen, porous, or rigid way. The brain is able to influence its somatic state and compensate.

Pulsation is an essential expression of our emotional life. The exercises influence and extend the motility and pulsation of our tissues which in turn organize cycles of arousal. When pulsation is inhibited or over stimulated, our shape also changes. The organizing pulse, when interrupted or over aroused, disturbs the bodying process. The methodology of formative psychology™ engages the volitional part of the brain to work with the nonvolitional tides of excitatory pulsation, desire, and feeling.

The exercise method is inaugurated when (1) we recognize the pattern of our present somatic-emotional stance, an ectomorphic, alert state.( 2) we intensify our pattern of somatic presence and give ourselves more definition, a mesomorphic function. We magnify the pattern of action, and the images, memories, and thoughts that accompany it. (3) we disorganize the muscular pattern that has been organized. This is also a mesomorphic function. These three steps bring into relief unknown somatic-emotional structures and their rings of response. Step two organizes rigidity and density, while step three organizes porosity and swollenness. (4) In this step, we contain the swelling of pulsation, excitement or image made available from step three. This is an endomorphic, porous shape. (5) This step is new form, new behavior. It is a reorganization for a new somatic adult reality.

Somatic work organizes a dialogue between body and brain which shifts the pattern of meaning and order. We begin to live our destiny, our somatic emotional-inheritance. We begin to empower ourselves in forming our adult and its relationships. In this way we recognize and experience the body we have, the body we live, and the possibility of the soma we can be.

What is Formative PsychologyTM?

Formative PsychologyTM is a contemporary approach that views the human being as a growing process continually reorganizing itself. The Formative view is rooted in the reality of biological processes, and has phenomenology as its philosophical ground.  From the standpoint of Formative PsychologyTM, subjective and somatic lives are inseparable and form a single process, a unified reality.  Somatic-subjective reality involves emotional attitudes, behavioral patterns, and ways of imagining and thinking. It is the reality of the embodied experience.

Formative PsychologyTM holds an evolutionary perspective. The human body is viewed as a living subjective process continuously shaping and reshaping itself, headed towards growing and maturing.  The body is a formative process organized through a series of somatic emotional shapes which appear and disappear in the course of time, from conception to death. Throughout our lives these shapes are added onto each other as layers and coexist in us.

The Formative Methodology

The Formative Methodology or the Bodying Practice works with the pulsatory continuum of contraction and expansion present in our cells and tissues, and with the relationship between body and brain. A person’s bodily structure is an expression of her personal history, and of her way of relating to herself and the world.  The volitional capacity of the cerebral cortex allows people to muscularly alter their inherited patterns, differentiating habitual emotional postures into new patterns of acting. The formative methodology associates the cortex’s volitional function with the use of voluntary muscular effort, allowing for self-influence and altering patterns of behaving, thinking and feeling. The methodology encourages the person to actively participate in her forming process and in managing daily life.

The Bodying Practice – the Five Steps

  1. Make a muscular model of your experience.
  2. Intensify your posture through measured steps, by means of voluntary muscular-cortical effort.
  3. Slowly undo the intensification of the shape through managed steps.
  4. Allow for a pause in order to take in the somatic-emotional responses.
  5. Consolidate the emerging organization by giving it firmness and duration.

The bodying practice makes the inner pulse available for voluntary influence. The muscular modulation of the pulse, its intensity and speed, helps us to differentiate and structure distinct layers in a given shape (behavior).  As we work formatively using voluntary cortical-muscular effort in steps two and three, we form a way to receive and embody our responses (steps four and five).  The somatic exercise enables us to establish distinctions within a previous pattern — inherited or formed — and influence our behavior and emotional states, thus organizing a personal shape.

Formative work seeks to deepen the body’s dialogue with itself, allowing for the embodied reality to become manifest in the shape of a subjective presence. It provides people with effective tools to influence themselves, reorganizing their subjective state and living style. The formative practice allows for the creation of a set of personal values based upon lived experience.

Our groups and workshops focus on raising our ability to exert influence upon ourselves, helping us to become active agents in our life process.

Consulting 

Organizations have made an intense effort to resist market pressures and variations in the economy; in this context, the modern worker is subjected to great wear and tear, either due to the long working hours, the stress of urban daily life, or the demands of specialization and insecurity in maintaining employment. We also observed, as part of the organizational scenario, that the most prevalent risk factors among workers are sedentary lifestyle, obesity, stress and high cholesterol rates and that cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death.

Keleman says that muscular postures also provide a way of thinking, feeling and acting. A change in a person’s somatic-emotional structure generates changes in their lifestyle, making it possible for each individual to influence the social environment in which he is inserted.

In line with this approach, we offer consultancy to companies that have in their culture thinking and reflecting on quality at work, humanization of the environment, improvement in the health and well-being of employees. Our objectives include offering these organizations a proposal for reflection and somatic-emotional re-education aimed at reorganizing ways of living and working, as well as creating a creative and inspiring environment for new production and relationship strategies that may come to the fore. in the sense of building its own operating ethics aimed at building personal and collective health and well-being.

Contact phone: (21) 2512-0590

e-mail: psicologiaformativa@psicologiaformativa.com.br

Education 

Formative PsychologyTM is an educational and clinical approach.  The formative methodology allows one to acquire self-knowledge and to manage his personal growth and maturing process.

Based on somatic malleability and neural plasticity, the formative methodology makes possible, through the use of voluntary muscular effort, the creation of new synaptic connections and new neural maps; these newly formed maps will support the voluntarily formed anatomical configurations which manifest in the world as differentiated motor actions and behaviors. The methodology deepens the reciprocal communication between the body and the cortex.

In this sense, the work allows influence over one´s process, creating the ability to modulate one´s emotional expressions and way of loving and relating, as well as to reorganize behaviors and manage moments of crisis.  The development of the ability of influencing oneself generates an experience of empowerment and competence in the world.

The Brazilian Center of Formative PsychologyTM, through its several programs, contributes to the engagement in a process of personal and professional education.

The human journey encompasses the development of several forms that appear from infancy to old age. The innate process of being born, growing up, maturing, aging, and dying, destined to all individuals, is a malleable event, and liable to being personally influenced.

The formative approach views psychotherapy as an educational-therapeutic process based on the reorganization of inherited and learned somatic-emotional patterns. The therapist works in conjunction with the client in the direction of deepening his self-contact and generating new possibilities of relating to self and others.

Formative PsychologyTM understands the human being as an embodied subjective process that continually reorganizes itself. Bodily process and subjective experience are seen as a unified reality.

The formative therapist seeks to propitiate the reorganization of emotional patterns and behaviors that hinder growth and to form a new life style, not to correct or cure something. The method works with the restructuring of neuro-motor patterns and the extension of the subject’s influence over his emotional reality and his process of personal evolution.

Methodology

The formative methodology works with the voluntary organization of different degrees of muscular effort, making distinctions in a given emotional attitude.

The connection between the striated musculature, the motor cortex, the emotional brain, and the spinal medulla constitutes the basis for the formative practice, which by means of voluntary effort, mobilizes the muscular layer and makes feasible the dialogue between the body and the cortex, as well as the dialogue between the latter with other parts of the brain.

The regular practice of the formative exercises using voluntary muscular effort enables one to influence emotional intensity and thinking patterns, organizing new attitudes and behaviors. The possibility of voluntary regulation of muscular tonus affects the entire interior of the body and constitutes a powerful instrument in the construction of a personal identity. The regular repetition of a muscular action stabilizes new synapses and brain maps, reconfiguring the neuro-motor structure of a person.

Paraphrasing Keleman, a person’s bodily structure expresses his personal identity, his way of being and relating in the world. Working with the somatic postures through the formative method allows one to influence his emotional, cognitive, imaginative, and action patterns.