The Meaning of Osteopathy

Yes, that is a very pretentious title.

It occurred to me over a recent chat with someone.

She insisted that the ‘right’ practitioner was able to do work on a level of depth psychology. I think Germans use the term ‘depth psychology’, which to my knowledge has never occurred in English really, to denote something that is even deeper than psychology. I’m not exactly sure.

I’m not even sure what she meant.

My mind moves well in metaphors. I consider the nakedness and the touching of others a primal act or a primal something. it’s a very fundamental thing to touch somebody. Where and how that happens can trigger things for that person – good and bad (to use a very crude distinction). Think of victims of abuse for example. But also think of how a touch can be loving and kind without ever having to have that explained to you.

Touch is immensely powerful for these reasons alone.

What I said to her is that even though psychology is rudimentarily taught in osteopathic schools, it’s not discussed very much as part of the consultation and the space one inhabits with the patient. It is treated as a literal thing and its power is discussed literally.

I didn’t say that actually. I said that it depends on the practitioner what is being done with the patient and how. And I think it also depends on the patient. I think any treatment needs a willingness and openness from both sides. Not so open as to be permeable but open within the boundaries of the space. Something like that.

I hold to that. Depth requires a depth of inquiry and of reflection. We are resounding bodies and when we knock on each other we can sense the vibrations resonate through the other.

That’s a metaphor.

I don’t have an overarching theory of what osteopathy is in any real way. I’m trying to see it in a web that connects with psychology and philosphy, with metaphysics and mechanics. I like that it defies categorisation and that every time I say, ‘it’s a type of manual therapy’ I say facts and I don’t say nothing at all.

It’s a paradoxon 🙂


About guardienne

I am an osteopathic student.
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