Boulder Psychotherapy Institute

Advanced Training in Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP) — since 1989

An Experiential Psychodynamic Gestalt Approach   •   Boulder, Colorado

Module V: AEP Approach to the Body, Character Strategy, and Trauma

Betty Cannon, Ph.D. and Robyn Chauvin, M.A.,L.P.C.

  • Learn to see stuck emotional patterns in the body (character strategy).

  • Learn to relate particular bodily patterns of holding and collapse to developmental issues.

  • Learn techniques for helping clients free blocked energy and move on with their lives.

  • Learn to recognize and work with the symptoms of trauma.

  • Learn to work with body awareness from an AEP perspective.

  • Learn to integrate character strategy and trauma work within an AEP perspective.

  • Learn to recognize and move among intervention levels: body, emotion and meaning.

The Training: AEP works with the lived body to explore ways in which meaning shows up in body stance, movement, gesture, facial expression and voice. We will explore Reichean/bioenergetic approaches to character strategy--looking at the ways in which our ways of living our lives show up in and help fashion our bodies. We will explore various modalities for working with trauma, adding to these an existential perspective on trauma as loss of meaning. We will also focus on integrating work with the body and trauma within a broader therapeutic perspective.

We will pay particular attention to choosing appropriate levels of intervention (body, emotion, meaning) in working with clients with different character strategies. We will also consider the question of when cathartic work is appropriate and when it is not - a question that students studying trauma approaches frequently ask.

Tentative Start Date: 2027

Certification Hours: 48

The Trainers: Betty Cannon, Ph.D., Boulder Psychotherapy Institute President and AEP founder, is a licensed psychologist and certified Gestalt therapist. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups in Boulder for over 40 years and trained and supervised psychotherapists for over 30 years. She is professor emerita of the Colorado School of Mines and Senior Adjunct Faculty at Naropa University. Betty is a member of the editorial boards of three professional journals: Sartre Studies International, Existential Analysis, and Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry. She is an internationally known author, lecturer, and workshop presenter. She is the author of many journal articles and book chapters on existential psychotherapy. Her book, Sartre and Psychoanalysis, is often considered a classic in existential psychology.

Robyn Chauvin, M.A., L.P.C., is BPI's most Senior Trainer. She is a music therapist and musician as well as a Gestalt Therapist and AEP therapist and trainer. She has been working in private practice in Boulder and Longmont since 2008. Her previous work was in in-patient psychiatric contexts and hospice, and she brings a wealth of insight and examples from those contexts as well as private practice to her teaching. Robyn offers supervision/consultation, practice, and process groups as well as trainings at BPI. A prominent member of the LBGTQ community, she is currently writing about gender identity, developmental issues, and the practice of psychotherapy. She is well-known in the BPI community for her humor and wit as well as her Dream Process Groups and the Dream Training Module she teaches at BPI. She has taught and co-taught (with Betty) many other training modules at BPI.

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