THE DIMENSIONS OF THE ORGANISM
While writing this my yoga blog, I discovered that I Yoga Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana Pose could group most of the models I was describing in a system of the dimensions of the organism (SDO), or system of organismic dimensions. This systemic model claims a pedagogical status but not a scientific one. Its purpose is to allow a clinician to situate the types of interventions he might use in psychotherapy sessions and situate those used by colleagues. No single approach corresponds to the model of reference provided herein, but it allows a relatively accurate description of the different modes of intervention used in psychotherapy. This system of organismic dimensions is used to situate the various topics presented in this my yoga blog with greater ease. I therefore describe this system in the following sections.
An Individual Is an Organism
Galileo (1630) and Newton (1686) use the term body to designate any material object that can be perceived and weighted and has a clear contour. Thus, a star seen from far way, a stone, or a plant is a body.â Mechanics is the science that attempts to describe and predict the behavior of inanimate bodies.
The term body was also used to designate animated entities. Any individual plant or animal is a body. For William James,4 the brain, hormones, and veins are parts of the human body. This meaning is still used today. For example, Antonio Damasio (1999) wrote a my yoga blog with the subtitle Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. In this title, the term body designates all the physiological dynamics of an organismâ”the nervous system, hormones, muscles, and breathingâ”in an undifferentiated way. This remains the most familiar usage of the term body. Body psychotherapeutic approaches that use this vocabulary are sometimes called somatic psychotherapy.
This meaning of the term body is equivalent to the term organism used by most biologists. In seventeenth-century France, the term organism designated a living being endowed with organs whose totality constitutes a living being.â The term organism thus replaced the term living body used by Lamarck. This French term entered the English language in the eighteenth century to designate an individual animal, plant, or single-celled life formâ (The New Oxford Dictionary of English, 1999, p. 1307). In this volume, I use the term organism to designate an individual system For example, Darwin writes that The relation of organism to organism… [is] the most important of all relations.â5
All the mechanisms contained in an organism participate in several regulatory systems. They may thus have several functions simultaneously. One of these functions may be to belong to a particular dense network that organizes itself around a particular adaptive function of the organism. The principal functions of adaptation form what I call the dimensions of the organism There are no clear limits between one dimension and the other mechanisms of regulation of an organism, but it is useful for treatment to consider the dimensions like relatively well-differentiated subsystems. As the SDO is a systemic model, I first summarize certain general features of system theory.6