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Fred had tried everything: traditional therapy, self-help books, group therapy, toastmasters meetings, and public speaking classes. Some things helped a little. Nothing significantly. Sick of his paralyzing shyness, he wanted help quickly.

Meeting Fred for the first time, I noticed thin arms appearing undernourished, stiff shoulders that made it difficult to reach out and make contact, and a torso that leaned back and pulled away from the people his legs wanted to move him toward.

Because I am a body therapist, I ramped up Fred’s energy level in order to prepare his body for change. Then he agreed to engage in simple physical exercises, designed specifically to unblock energy, create flow, and return his body to its natural state. After three weeks of following my the protocol I gave him, Fred was able to brake through his resistance.

Fred shared with me that he socialized more at school and even asked to join a fraternity, a big step for him, since the possibility of rejection was a reality. He asked a girl out on a date and she accepted. The energy exercises triggered his desire to lift weights and build up his strength. He joined a gym in order to acquire arm and shoulder muscles.

Like Fred, most of us would like to be free of self-defeating behaviors and replace them with energizing life patterns that lead to success, love, and fulfillment. Consider that most of us have had past experiences—either in the family, at school, or socially—that caused us to hold our shoulders stiffly, pull then up in fear, or roll them forward to protect our hearts. By using simple and practical exercises that focus on the body and create energy flow, we can restore our bodies and replace defeating life patterns with life-enhancing ones.

Body Wisdom: Release Your Past, Reshape Your Body, Renew Your Life addresses ten self-defeating behaviors that result from unpleasant, unhappy, or abusive life situations that readers may have experienced earlier in their lives, even before they learned to talk. Each chapter contains examples, motivating stories, psychological facts, illustrations, and energy exercises that facilitate change. Dr. Wilner’s healing methods teach how to replace negative behavior—that you never asked to have and don’t particularly want–such as explosive anger or procrastination, with healthy life-affirming alternatives. For readers who want to change their lives, stop repeating painful patterns, avoid dead-end relationships or boring jobs, this book offers a path to success.

Dr. Wilner’s message to thousands of her students and workshop participants, “reshape your body, release your past, and renew your life” informs this book.  She teaches that you can remold your body and return it to a more natural state. Because the body is malleable, like plastic, when you work with its energy, the past can release, creating a path for change.

Dr. Wilner is a licensed psychologist who has worked with mindbody techniques for over 35 years. Currently she directs the Core Energetics Academy, teaches in the Holistic Counseling Department at Salve Regina University, and creates webinars, podcasts, and workshops that inform about energy psychology and body reading.  She has received over 3000 hours of training from leaders in the field since 1972, has been director of several institutes of Core Energetics, including Australia and Brazil, and has spoken on this subject at 60 professional and general interest conferences. Material in this book comes from discussions with her mentor, John C. Pierrakos, MD, now deceased, co-founder of Bioenergetics, founder of Core Energetics, and one of the foremost practitioners of body reading in the world, and from Ray Birdwhistell, PhD, anthropologist—known as father of kinesics—who taught nonverbal communications at the University of Pennsylvania when Dr. Wilner was a student there.