"… When engaged in slow long distance running…we cease to think about it. It appears as though we could run forever…we suddenly feel free and light."
Thaddeus Kostruballa ,MD.
"The Joy of Running" 1975
Running Therapy affords decrease of emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and difficulties that rise from ADHD and tendencies for compulsions and addictions.
1 | Background
The treatment was developed in the 70s by the American psychiatrist Thaddeus Kostrubala.
Thaddeus believed that the combination of running and therapy is more effective for clients than sole psychiatry. When client and therapist move together, anxieties and blocked thoughts open thus lead to improved acceptance ability - and afford space for a different perspective of how to cope with anger, sorrow or trauma.
Running Therapy is based on Paleoanalysis Theory (2013), a concept developed in the 80s by Dr. Kostrubala with the publication of his first book - The Joy of Running, and serves as the focus of his recently published second book - Running Therapy & Paleoanalysis. This theory utilizes biological and social information for the decipherment of human behavior. The sources are anthropological – the history of species, evolution and the effects of environmental changes, as well as processes such as agricultural development and urbanization, upon man, with an emphasis on consequential physical and psychological damages. The evidence for the above is apparent once we go back in time 10,000 years ago and connect with Prehistoric Man who was in constant motion due to life necessities and mostly relied on his own physical abilities for protection. The overall notion is to adopt, by means of Running Therapy, the experience of joint running that mimics inner senses of affinity and intimacy in the like of primitive societies that lived together in groups, in contrast to modern society's sense of alienation.
Currently, Paleoanalysis may help us understand and treat negative aspects produced by agricultural development and urbanization, where man relies more upon technology, spends longer periods of time sitting down, relies less on his body and no longer regards the survival and existential aspects of motion.
2| How is it conducted?
The overall idea is to turn running into an integral activity in one's daily routine, where fitness is gradually built up and adjusted to the client in accordance with their physical abilities and mental difficulties.
Contrary to traditional psychoanalytical therapy that conducts therapy sessions while sitting down, in Running Therapy the sessions are conducted outdoors, in the park or on walk trails.
The therapist and client walk or run together at an easy pace that enables conversation as needed in a non stressful manner.
Running Therapy includes treatment of body and soul through communication and awareness of processes taking place in the body and their effect on the soul. The focus is on three realms:
- Physical –
The client's physical state which determines physical powers and limitations.
- Interpersonal relations –
Social relations, various relationships (such as partners, siblings, parents, etc.), marital status, life stage such as puberty, marriage, parenthood, retirement, etc.
- Spiritual –
Life view and belief – Currently, many people do not experience the spiritual world and tend to bestow greater significance on scientific and analytical thought. The therapist assists the client in finding their own spiritual path.
The prime objective is to promote the client's sense of freedom and independence so as not to develop long-term dependency on the therapist.
3 | Why Running Therapy?
It is good for the body
Strengthens the skeleton
Lowers blood pressure
Raises heart function
Improves brain function
Increases concentration ability
Effectively treats overweight
Improves cardiovascular function
It is good for soul
Relaxes and dissolves anger
Decreases anxiety and depression
Promotes improved control in cases of addiction
Creates a positive mood throughout the day
Improves self-efficacy and self confidence
Strengthens character, determination, and perseverance
Transmutes features occasionally perceived as negative, such as aggression, into positive progressive forced
4| Therapy target population
Anyone interested in improving body-soul balance
Cases of anxiety and depression
Adolescents demonstrating antisocial behavior and violence
Difficulties with interpersonal relations, loneliness, making contact
The construction of a therapy program
First meeting at the clinic that includes personal acquaintance and cause of referral.
Medical limitations, doctor's certification, running related weaknesses and limitation.
Initial commitment to a 6 week framework.
Fixed sessions once a week for 1-11/4 hrs.
Possibility to extend weekly training according to program.
Individual therapy or group therapy according to diagnosis.
Training is accompanied by talks during, prior or post running in accordance with client needs.
How to achieve improved mental balance in light of changes in physical fitness.
Turning running into a source of comfort and emotional regulation and channeling anger/violence into the positive venue of running.
Nice to meet you, my name is Rachel Reingwirtz.
A few facts about me:
Married + 4 siblings.
Certified Running Therapist on behalf of the Thaddeus Kostrubala, MD. Founder and President of the International Association of Running Therapy & The Paleoanalytic Institute (2014).
Certified coach of long-distance running at Si'im Campus, Tel Aviv University (2013).
Arts therapist, graduate of Seminar Hakibutzim (2006).
M.A degree in Contemporary Art and Curation (2004).
Currently working in therapeutic kindergartens – addressing behavioral problems and difficulties based on delayed development, including parent coaching and professional staff counseling.
Private clinic at Puzzle Center, Ramat Hasharon.
Marathon runner, personal running coach for adults and adolescent groups.
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