Wholebody Focusing Therapy as Alchemical Transformation

Beneath, within, and beyond our conditioned and unconscious patterns lies an inner wellspring of wisdom and vitality that knows how to unwind our stress and traumas, as well as how to restore the connection with our natural body and natal spirit. The very symptoms of stress and trauma—and the embodied patterns that keep us from living the fullness of our being—contain the precise information and life energy to move toward their own healing. We refer to this vital force as our living body or our spirit- body. The living body includes our physical body, but it is more than physical. It also includes a deep wisdom, a knowingness that we call body intelligence.

We can also refer to it as Wholebody transformative alchemy- in the sense that the living body contains (or becomes) the “philosopher’s stone,” i.e. has a spirit, a life force, an energy of its own capable of transforming our whole sense of being in the world. Alchemy was the ancient practice, considered both scientific and philosophical for transmuting base metals into gold. On the symbolic level, alchemy or alchemical processes refer to any power or process of changing one thing into another – i.e. transmuting a common substance into a substance of great value and light. What has struck me about the alchemy of WBF is its sense that some process happens both within the body as well as between bodies, and within a larger connection with nature and life – that does feel or seem magical, and often mysterious. This seemingly unexplainable, magical or sudden change or shift is actually a product of a much deeper unfolding that has been occurring underground within the body and the body’s life force. We can call this process being led (turning lead) into gold, in the sense that by inviting the body to come alive, the intelligence of its life force and spirit will show us the way toward healing wounds, transforming life patterns, and recovering its natal spirit.

Thus, what in alchemy is called the opus, or the philosopher stone, we sense as the body’s vital energy, life-force and vitality. As we will be exploring in this group, the core dynamic of Alchemical Transformation in WBF, i.e. the process of both grounding awareness in our whole body inviting, and waiting for the body’s life force, it’s vital energy and spirit to waken, come alive and flow. It the coming of this vital energy, what has been called the body’s inner directed energy and wisdom, something that moves the body and awareness of its own, from within its own natural impulses, that is the heart of the WBF process in FOT.

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