Stanley Keleman’s interest in the body has always been experientially based, beginning with an early involvement in athletics and continuing in his education at the Chiropractic Institute of New York, where he graduated in l954. After starting his practice as a clinician, he began to observe the relationship between emotional conflict, organismic movement and distortions of body posture. Following his interest, he initiated a program of training and research into the life of the body. He became a member in l957 of Alexander Lowen’s Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis and was, until the l970’s, a senior trainer. He attended the Alfred Adler Institute and his thinking was affected profoundly by Adler’s ideas
on the relationship of the state of the organism to its functioning, the will to power, and the role of society in personality development. This education and training balanced the characterological approaches of Lowen, Freud, and Reich.
At this same time, Keleman began a personal mentorship with Nina Bull, a member of Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, Columbia University, and author of Attitude Theory of Emotions. He joined with her on a research project which resulted in her book, The Body and Its Mind. Bull’s social philosophy and neurological training established Keleman’s
neural-somatic model for emotions and goal-oriented behavior.
His inquiries then took him to Europe where he studied Daisen Analysis in Zurich with Dr. Dori Gutscher in the school of Medard Boss. He moved from a sexual and social emphasis to a different philosophical perspective, more phenomenological and existentially oriented.
In Germany he formed an association with Professor Karlfried von Durckheim at the Center for Initiation Studies. Durckheim offered an approach that used the human form to reveal the relationship of man to his own nature and to bigger nature. These studies led to central experiences that confirmed his concept of the body as the center of one’s self. They gave seed to the experiences that eventually led to formative psychology and Keleman’s particular somatic-emotional methodology.
After returning to the United States in 1967, he moved to California where he interned at Esalen Institute in group dynamics and was exposed to humanistic psychology, the leading edge of psychology at the time. There in an atmosphere of cultural revolution, he established his form of working bodily. The interaction with many leaders of the humanistic movement –Carl Rodgers, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, Alan Watts and others–provided a forum for his ideas. He met Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, and began a fifteen year association, teaching an annual program in which they developed connections between myth and the body. These workshops evolved into the annual programs taught by Stanley in Berkeley and Solingen Germany that connect dreams, body and the formative process.
Since 1990 Keleman has developed his work with an emphasis on education rather than therapy. He has applied ideas from Darwin’s theory of evolution and Einstein’s theory of mass and energy to understanding how shapes change over time and how the individual can learn to influence the body nature has given.
His commitment to understanding the life of the body keeps him abreast of the changes in modern biology, neurobiology and molecular dynamics all of which which help him understand how the body develops and matures. Along with his vision and philosophy of formative psychology, he has developed an original methodology for teaching individuals how to participate in their own formative process. His pioneering efforts continue take him into the forefront of learning how the body shapes itself over time, through all of life’s stages.
Recently he has been the recipient of lifetime achievement awards and an honorary Ph.D.by Saybrook University for his contributions to the field of body psychotherapy and humanistic psychology. He is the author of numerous books including Emotional Anatomy, Embodying Experience and The Body Speaks It Mind. Currently, he is writing a book on dreams and the body.
Keleman has been the director of the Center for Energetic Studies in Berkeley, California since 1971, where he maintains a private and group practice and an active schedule of national and international professional programs. He is the honorary president and director for research at the Zurich School for Form and Movement, and the Institute for Formative Psychology in Solingen, Germany where he also teaches.
His formative psychology and methodology rests firmly on an anatomical and physiological base, as well as a psychological and mythological understanding. His approach deals with the human condition in its societal and evolutionary thrust toward forming a personal somatic self.