Dancing with Yin and Yang Book Review by Ray Castellino

Dancing coverDancing with Yin & Yang, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Psychotherapy and Randolph Stone’s Polarity Therapy
by John Chitty (2013)
Boulder, CO., Polarity Press, 422 pages, ISBN: 978-0-941732-04-8.

Review by Ray Castellino

John Chitty’s book Dancing with Yin & Yang is not just another book on therapy and psychology. It is a must-read for all practitioners including and especially those who explore into the realms of pre- and peri-natal consciousness. By interweaving awareness of the human energy field with the development of the body, John shows us how the body, emotions, mind and spirit are all part of the same whole, and he shares practical tools for our therapeutic practices.

Dancing with Yin and Yang expands our understanding. John does an eloquent job of doing exactly what the title of his book states, sharing how an understanding of the primary forces of the universe (yin/yang) as taught by Dr. Randolph Stone, can enhance the work of anyone practicing preventative and restorative psychological approaches.

John is one of the leading teachers and practitioners of Polarity Therapy and has been so for more than 30 years. He is a past President of the American Polarity Therapy Association. He has the ability to synthesize, chart, simplify and explain complicated concepts so that they are readily usable by the reader.

Dancing with Yin & Yang is half theory (replete with examples) and half practical application to psychological work with all ages. He shares experience with pregnant women, newborns, children and adults. He discusses the PPN field and our birthing practices in view of the development of the social nervous system.

Dancing with Yin and Yang is a masterful pulling together of the work of so many contributors to the healing arts, citing their individual work and ideas and describing how it supports the a holistic understanding of somatic or body/mind work. John is meticulous in crediting those who have influenced his thinking and the way he works. He references leading thinkers in the field, adding footnotes that make further research easy without being cumbersome. He cites Emerson, Verny, Chamberlain, Lipton, van der Wal, Siegel, Porges, Levine, Tatkin, Jealous, Satir, Brennan, his wife Anna Chitty, Kurtz, Rosenberg, Wilson, Korzybski, Sills, myself and others. And that is in the first chapter! He fully acknowledges his wife, Anna Chitty who formulated a good part of the conceptual material and exercises he presents.

John’s explanation of the Autonomic Nervous System with the Sympathetic, Parasympathetic, and Social Nervous Systems, with charts and examples are exemplary in their clarity and application to trauma prevention and resolution, including its application to birthing practices.

Doctor Randolph Stone, in over a 60 year career as health care practitioner pulled together ideas and techniques from both east and west, from multiple healing systems into what he called Polarity Therapy, based on an understanding of energy flow (or restriction) between opposite poles. Polarity Therapy includes theory, touch, nutrition, exercise and counseling

Like Stone, John has the capacity to synthesize, integrate and be fully eclectic in his approach. He pulls together the work of myriad contributors, sees their particular gift to the field and helps us all integrate their ideas.

As a clinician, with decades of experience, he provides examples of using the theory in situations as diverse as the sitting with a new father feeling ‘left out’ of the mother/child bond, an adult who had experienced abuse as a child, a baby  who couldn’t settle.

He gives clinical examples of supporting people through what he calls the Yin and Yang Relationship Stages of /creating and sustaining a life partner relationship: dating, courtship, engagement, marriage, sex, parenting including conception, pregnancy, birthing, career, elder care and care for the dying.

He discusses lifestyle choices from a polarity perspective in terms of optimizing health.

John uses the concept of yang (or yin) dysfunction, whether hypo- or hyper- and how this affects relationships and our nervous systems. He shows how the three Gunas (+ yang, Neutral, — yin) and five element theory (earth, water, fire, air, ether) applies to all aspects of life from nutrition, to emotions to relationships. He fully utilizes Dr Stone’s theories and makes them accessible to those new to energy awareness.

I personally have spent 40 years trying to disprove Dr. Stone, without success. My efforts to disprove Dr. Stone’s energy concept has lead me through these past four decades of experience with repeated affirmative knowing, literally proving itself before my very eyes, and in my experience. The energetic perspective from Dr Randolph Stone’s Polarity Therapy, so eloquently described by John, is central to my work as a practitioner and teacher in the PPN field. I draw on it in every session with clients of all ages, from prenates and their parents, to children/families and adults in both individual and group settings. Dr. Stone’s energy concept, tracking energy in family relationships and his Polarity Therapy form the very core my understanding of individual, family and group dynamics. Dr. Stone’s Polarity Therapy grounds and thoroughly informs my teaching. This book is a significant addition to the same knowledge base, with the potential to enrich any therapy practice.

I am grateful to John that he has written such a clear explanation of the basic principles of Polarity Therapy as they apply to the work we are all doing. Dancing With Yin & Yang is a must read for all of my students, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all members of the APPPAH community.

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