“We live in an era where the divide between body and mind is gradually closing. However, in the attempt to unite the physical and the psychological dimensions, a one-way hierarchy is all too often established that favors one (the psyche) as it expresses itself through the other (the soma – the seat of disorders that are considered to be primarily psychological).
Perceptual Psychoeducation (formerly known as Somatic-Psychoeducation) is an emerging discipline that attempts to reconcile the body and the mind fully, and to put them on equal footing.”
The Wild Region of Lived Experience (2009)
Who is DANIS BOIS?
Dr. Danis Bois (Ed.D) is an osteopath and physiotherapist who began developing the Danis Bois Method some 40 years ago in France. He is the creator of Perceptual Psychoeducation (formerly Somatic-Psychoeducation), an academic field dedicated to the qualitative and clinical research exploration of the inner movement and the Sensible in its applications to physical and behavioral wellbeing. He is the director/founder of CERAP (Centre for Applied Research in Perceptual Psychoeducation) and Professor of Perceptual Psychoeducation, a discipline he created at Fernando Pessoa University in Porto, Portugal where he directs M.A. and Ph.D. theses.
HOW DOES DBM WORK?
New to the US, DBM is a somatic tuning approach that evolved from Dr. Danis Bois' osteopathy and physiotherapy practices in France in the early 1980s. It is a perception enhancement technique that draws upon sensory awareness of our matter to transform our relationships to pain, stress and tension. We primarily use 1 or more of 4 modalities to foster this awareness: 1) a gentle, non-manipulative manual therapy (fully clothed), called Fasciatherapy; 2) a somatic movement practice, called Sensorial Re‐education; 3) a meditation practice, called Sensorial Introspection; and 4) a verbal or expressive component that accompanies all of the above. We follow a slow, autonomous 'inner movement' - a vital life force that permeates all tissue matter and every system in the body. Our aim is to not only rhythmically regulate this 'inner movement', but to guide the student through the process of perceiving and relating to this movement for themselves. Awareness of this movement is a profound perception awakening experience that can draw the student's attention to physically and mentally injurious habits. As such, we do not treat bodies; rather, we facilitate a process where individuals move into deeper, more intimate relation with their bodies and hence themselves and others. The practitioner's empathetic hands guide individuals through the perceptual experience of "appearing to" or "sensing" themselves. This occurs through heightened sensory awareness of the qualities and stories that make-up our dense and yet ever dynamic and communicative matter.
FASCIATHERAPY : A NON‐MANIPULATIVE MANUAL THERAPY
In manual therapy - Fasciatherapy - the practitioner follows the 'inner movement' with razor precision as the hands slowly glide through the infinite fascial layers that connect and protect every element in the body (muscles, bone, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, etc). The practitioner also provides verbal cues at appropriate moments throughout the session that cultivate the student's sensorial receptivity. This process helps awaken the student's perception of the 'inner movement', as well as their real-time changing experience of their own physiology/body matter, sensory perception skills, and thought processes. Also, what's interesting about DBM is that we do not initiate movement of our students' tissues if we do not perceive the 'inner movement' in the area in which our hands are applied. What this means is that each stroke is a response to a concrete dialogue with the tissues, a dialogue that authorizes the practitioner to move the tissues in that area. This is one way that the DBM practitioner honors the depth of the student's bodily and psychological experience. The 'inner movement' is the expression of the student's physical and psychological potential, in that moment; and the practitioner's aim is to be faithful to this process by following the 'inner movement's' lead. This work is ideal for motivated individuals experiencing physical and/or emotional pain, stress and fatigue. It can accompany or inspire an inner inquiry process, or be used to support sensory re-education.
Sensorial Re-education is a somatic movement practice that complements manual therapy sessions. Here, the objective is to help people become autonomous in their relationship to the inner movement that is followed in manual therapy. Sensorial Re-education classes introduce students to slow, gentle movement sequences - called codified movements - that explore how the body moves through space to maintain balance and ease in the execution of ordinary gestures. The aim is to bring awareness to how perception of the inner movement can organize optimal biomechanical activity. This depth of perception enables us to consciously live the body's potential for effortless motility: we begin to glide through movement as opposed to simply muscling through it. Awareness of this movement occurs, in part, through sensorial training - 300+ codified movements that enrich cognitive skills (proprioception, focus/attention, being present to one's self, etc.). These sequences were meticulously designed to illuminate our perception of movement patterns that generate tension or pain. Each class explores the vast learning potential in ordinary gestures - their amplitude, rhythm, velocity, the qualities of their orientation, unfolding and affectivity - through evolving awareness of the inner movement. Students are closely guided through codified movement sequences that sensitize us to the nuances that make-up everyday gestures. We learn what it means to become movement.
Sensorial Introspection - a 20+ minute activity - is an opportunity to observe how we perceive the inner movement and the effects of this animation within our bodies from a place of relative stillness. This practice is essential to building the students' autonomy. It is an internal compass that involves no other interlocutor but ourselves and the movement. It is also a place to explore the limits of our own stability and the degree of closeness we have to our selves when we are still. We call this immobility a 'point d'appui', or a 'supporting point'. Done on a regular basis, Sensorial Introspection is an indispensable tool for the DBM student who is eager to develop a more autonomous relationship to the inner movement, beyond the practitioner's guidance.
VERBAL DIALOGUE AND EXPRESSIVITY
Verbal dialogue accompanies every aspect of the DBM process. The aim, as noted above, is to draw sense-meaning from what the student perceives sensorially. The practitioner guides the student through the creation of a descriptive lexicon that is unique to the student's extra-quotidian experiences. This direction helps transform subjective experience into something tangible/concrete and real. It is this real-time verbalization of such inner experience that invites the realization of something new, something beyond what the student knew or understood previously.
The Sensible & Expressivity
Drawing sense-meaning to extra-quotidian experience in the immediate moment is a process of sense-experiencing - the perceptive ability to both fully experience and fully witness an inner event in the moment in which it is happening. Dr. Bois refers to this process as living the Sensible, or living the Sensible dimension of the body. The word Sensible is derived from the French word 'sensible', a concept usually translated as "sensitive." In DBM work, differently, the Sensible (with a capital 'S') is meant to describe the "sensibility" of the body matter when one sense-experiences or is in dialogue with the immediate effect of one's perception of the inner movement. This heightened awareness is what can transform our relationship to pain, tension, stress, our habitual thought patterns, and our behaviors. In Europe the verbal dialogue component has been developed within the expressive arts realm. Artists, dancers and theater performers are utilizing manual therapy (Fasciatherapy), Sensorial Re-education and Sensorial Introspection to establish the evolving condition for living and experiencing the Sensible in action. This process not only transforms the practice of creation, but it can engender the experience of the Sensible within audiences, or those on the receiving end of Sensible-inspired productions. Here, powerfully, a reciprocity evolves between the artist and their interlocutors.