Gerda Boyeson was born in Bergen, Norway on May 18, 1922. She entered the field of psychology after being introduced to the discipline through a book by Wilhelm Reich. She was so fascinated with the field that she began seeing a therapist trained by Reich. Soon after, she began to delve into the study of psychology. She explored various approaches and found a particular interest in physiotherapy. Her therapy and her training gave her an awareness into the various connections between her own physical body and emotional body. She began to develop her specific theories based on the teachings of Jung, Freud, and Reich, as well as her own experiences. The culmination of her work led to the creation of Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy.
Boyeson eventually left Norway and traveled throughout Europe to teach her approach. She spent most of her career in the practice of body psychotherapy and was the first female psychologist in Europe to found her own training organization dedicated to body psychotherapy techniques.
Contribution to Psychology
Boyeson developed biodynamic psychotherapy after her own training and personal therapeutic experience with various forms of therapy, including vegototherapy. Her approach uses massage to bring to fruition unfinished physical cycles that the body produces as a method of releasing and resolving emotional conflict. Boyeson would often conduct her sessions with the aid of a stethoscope, using it to listen to the bowel sounds occurring within her clients. She believed she could identify the subconscious mechanisms at work within them by listening to what was happening within their physical bodies. Massage allowed her to help her clients facilitate the physical processes at work. One of the techniques Boyeson employed is known as Deep Draining, a unique type of massage that aims to get at the deepest layers of internal conflict to affect physical and emotional change.
Boyeson’s approach also empowers clients to become keenly aware of their own physical sensations and acknowledge mental changes through physical expressions. By gaining insight into how mental challenges are exhibited physically, clients can than engage in the necessary behaviors to address and resolve those situations as they occur.