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Richard Lawton

Therapist at Bodymind Integration

Richard Lawton, body psychotherapist

Personal statement

I believe that the meaning of life is to be found in how we relate to ourselves, to others and to the world in the here and now. Today is the only day we are alive: yesterday has gone and tomorrow does not yet exist. Life is too short to spend it unhappy and unfulfilled. I have a passion for helping people discover what is holding them back and to live to their full potential, to become all that they can be.

As a humanistic therapist I believe the relationship between client and therapist to be the primary agent of change. The humanistic approach calls upon the therapist to be genuine, empathetic, open, honest, non-judgmental & accepting, and to avoid the controlling, superior or separate attitude often found in other styles of therapy. Above all, I wish to empower you to live your life to the full - and only you can decide what that path is.

My theoretical basis

My main training was in modern Reichian therapy. The theoretical model was based on bioenergetic analysis (developed by Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos) and strongly influenced by Gestalt therapy (Fritz & Laura Perls and John Goodman). The bodywork methodology was Postural Integration (developed by Jack Painter).

My psychological persepctive is humanistic. This is a holistic view that promotes the individual's drive towards self-actualisation - fulfilling one's potential. Instead of pathologising people and focussing on what is 'wrong' with them, it encourages people to explore, develop and express their individual unique nature.

By temperament I am drawn to existentialism, with its emphasis on authenticity and the search for personal meaning. I am also naturally drawn to transpersonal psychology, which explores one's sense of identity beyond the material self and explores the spiritual or transcendent aspects of being.


The founder of Gestalt therapy, Fritz Perls, provocatively declared "Lose your mind and come to your senses." This has been the story of my life. Thus far I have managed to come to my senses, but haven't quite lost my mind.

The intellect and the senses, the mind and the body, abstraction and people - these are the twin threads in my story. I gained an Honours degree in Philosophy at York University, where the Philosophy of Mind lectures sparked an interest in psychology; I regularly attended the open lectures given by the Psychology Department, and my interest became deep fascination on reading 'Sybil' by Flora Schreiber, the astonishing account of the therapy of a woman with multiple personality disorder.

Jung: The Unconscious becomes fate

At the same time I became heavily involved in paint, mud and bouncy castles as a playleader with children's playschemes and PHAB clubs. After university I also spent some time as a farmer (more mud) and an archaeologist helping excavate what is now the Jorvik Viking Centre but was then a massive hole in the ground (even more mud). After some career twists and turns and a stint as a stay-at-home dad, I settled into a career in I.T. within the Civil Service, where I discovered that software design satisfied both my desire for intellectual challenge and my creative longings; I also enjoyed teaching and mentoring Youth Training Scheme participants who joined my team, and in addition became Chairman of the Cabinet Office Playscheme Committee.

These two threads came together after I completed several years of personal psychotherapy. While this process truly changed my life, it became clear that there were aspects of self that conventional psychotherapy simply could not address. This led me to investigate the interaction between mind and body, during which I discovered a passion for hands-on bodywork - and decided to train as a massage therapist. Whilst training I noticed the emotional effects of massage; it was apparent that I was not just touching people's bodies as I worked, but also their hearts, minds and memories. Intrigued, I began to explore - and discovered the work of Wilhelm Reich and the world of body psychotherapy.

I went on to train in various bodywork and subtle-energy modalities, including Pulsing Rhythmic Bodywork with Guy Gladstone, and finally entered a 4-year training in modern Reichian therapy with Silke Ziehl at The Open Centre. Here I qualified as a psychotherapeutic Deep Bodywork practitioner and a certified Postural Integrator. I am one of the few people in the world to be certified as a Pulsing Master practitioner. I have undertaken training in Gestalt and Psychodrama groupwork with Ari Badaines, whose work at the Skyros centre has been reported in Top Sante magazine, and in groupwork at the Gestalt Centre. I did post-graduate training in Somatic Trauma Therapy at the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre with Babette Rothschild, author of The Body Remembers.

A key element of Gestalt therapy (and at the heart of my trainings) is the practice of awareness, which was derived from the ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is now very well known in the West. It perhaps first came to wider attention through the work of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in the 1960s and 70s, and more recently in the form of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed and popularised by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I have increasingly brought this into my own practice, both personally and professionally, building on my core trainings in awareness with further training in mindfulness, positive psychology and mindful self-compassion.

My reflections on sexuality led me to explore Tantra, through which I gained powerful insights into both personal and societal attitudes towards sexuality. I am indebted to Brigitte Ariel for extending and deepening my understanding of the mind-body split and the spiritual dimension of sexuality, and also for guiding me through the magic of liminal spaces. On this path I also left behind a conventional Christian upbringing (and a hiccup of charismatic evangelism), and became a pagan. For me, connection with the natural world and the energetic flow of the Wheel of the Year mirror our inner relationship with the body and our own natural rhythms. Macrocosm and microcosm.

Until my daughter was 3 years old I was a stay-at-home dad, a delightful, demanding, profound and insightful hands-on experience that perhaps few male therapists share. Other important factors in my journey have been 5 Rhythms movement meditation and voicework (a big thanks here to Marie Malone for first helping me discover my voice).

Take responsibility for your life

I am now a humanistic somatic therapist in private practice. My journey of personal and professional development has taken me on many paths and has involved many different approaches. Over the years I have trained in and explored many styles of healing, bodywork, psychology and spirituality, and I have melded these into an integrated approach to personal development and transformation that I call Bodymind Integration.

I bring to my work personal qualities of sensitivity, intuition and empathy. I am a deeply but quietly spiritual person, reflective, thoughtful, full of wonder at the magic and mystery of life. Yet I am also warm, humourous, playful and down-to-earth. I am fully aware of the tensions that can exist between our dreams & aspirations and the sometimes difficult reality of our daily lives. In working with clients I never dismiss or deny either. I have a passion for helping people find more room to breathe and more space to be fully alive, to help them on their journey of becoming all that they can be.

I am in regular supervision with a highly experienced body psychotherapist, and am fully committed to continuous professional development. This includes deepening and extending my professional skills and understanding through trainings, workshops and study, as well as continuing my own journey of self-awareness and personal development.

In addition to my private practice offering one-to-one sessions of bodymind integration and other psychotherapeutic bodywork modalities, I teach Pulsing Rhythm Bodywork; after many years assisting Guy Gladstone in his Pulsing trainings, I took over the running of this professional training course in 2016.

I was one of the directors of the Humanistic Alchemy training course, and workshop faciltator for its Reichian bodywork and Pulsing modules.

I am the author of the entries for Postural Integration and Pulsing in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Counseling and Psychotherapy.

My life now balances the personal and the transpersonal, the abstract and the earthy, the mind and the body. I've come to my senses.


The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Counseling and Psychotherapy ed. Edward S. Neukrug

I am one of the contributing authors of this encyclopedia that covers most mainstream and alternative approaches to counselling, psychotherapy and psychological healing. I wrote the entries on Postural Integration and Pulsing. View book on Amazon


Several of my articles on Pulsing Rhythmic Bodywork can be found on the Pulsing Association website.