Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart III: Reich’s and Feldenkrais’s Treatment

Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart III: Reich’s and Feldenkrais’s Treatment

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Offering Some Suggestions

While it is important to ask our Tin Man some of these tough questions (centering on the matter of getting stuck in place by something other than the rain), we can also offer some suggestions that build on the techniques presented by Feldenkrais. The Tin Man can attend to his posture, his breathing and even his heart rate (for he does have a heart!). Which of his movements seem to not only be natural but also liberating for him. What happens to his body (particularly his armor) when he conceives of himself as a brave warrior who can go to battle for his colleagues (rather than staying frozen in the threatening forest). Do his movements come more freely as he “prepares to work on behalf of his new-found friends”?

At this moment, we might introduce some of Reich’s analytic techniques—for the Tin Man is frightened of the forest for some reason and holds on to a negative, powerless self-image to serve some purpose. We can help the Tin Man explore his earlier life or at least what goes through his mind and body when something scares him in the forest. We might find that a peremptory ideational stream is triggered that amplifies whatever be the source of the Tin Man’s initial fears.

We might even find that the Tin Man is imagining “lions” in the forest (as Robert Sapolsky suggests)—and we can go further by exploring why the imagined lions might have served an important function earlier in the Tin Man’s life (but are no longer needed). Thus, Reich helps liberate the Tin Man from his negative self-image, while Feldenkrais helps the Tin Man discover that the benefits of a positive self-image out-weigh the challenges he will face.

Yes, the forest might be frightening and, yes, there might be some danger inherent In the journey with his colleagues to the Emerald City. However, the feelings associated with a liberated body are wonderful. The Tin Man will acquire a spatial and temporal perspective that extends far beyond his armored body and confining forest. Most importantly, movement of his body on behalf of serving his new-found friends provides the Tin Man with deep abiding purpose in his life.

Moving Beyond the Tin Man’s Movement

All of this leads us to consider treatment strategies beyond just those engaged with the Tin Man. We can identify many potential clients – not just the Tin Man. The conditions of VUCA-Plus (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence and contradiction) produces many armored men and women (cf. Bergquist, 2020). One of our potential clients is a high-ranking member of the judicial system in her state.  She has to wear a “uniform” while doing her job and is often featured in the local news. As a result, she can’t go out to a local bar to hang out with friends and have a few drinks. She even finds it difficult to take off her “uniform” while going out in public. As a result, our client has purchased a second home in a city far away from her state – where she and her husband can enjoy an evening out “on-the-town”.

This delightful and deeply dedicated public servant loves going out to small nightclubs and dancing the night away: no uniform and no mask (or at least a different mask). Members of her treatment team might encourage her to do more of the same and find ways in which to find this “sanctuary” in her own local community. She might also use envisioning exercises that produce relaxing images (and perhaps even a positive peremptory ideational stream) that provide moments of sanctuary even in the midst of our jurist’s harried day of deliberations and administration.

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