Embodying the mind and reminding the body ...

Garry COCKBURN © Bioenergetic Analyst, CBT, Wellington, New Zealand
Published in: NZAP Journal, ATA. Special Issue. December 2014. Pp. 103-112.

Ata cover smallEmbodying the mind and reminding the body:
including the body in psychotherapy

The place and role of the body within psychodynamic psychotherapy has a long and complex history. Psychoanalysis has traditionally seen the body as being the location for negative psychosomatic enactments rather than as a dynamic part of the therapeutic process.
This paper shows that the dialectical yet unitary relationship between mind and body has been recognised by some key psychoanalytic writers, such as Bion and Ogden. It describes how four trends in modern psychotherapy, e.g. the study of transference phenomena, trauma recovery, infant studies, and affective neuroscience are bringing the body back into focus for all practitioners. The paper then attempts to provide a conceptualisation of how the whole body can be brought back into psychotherapy through an understanding of what has been excluded and included. It highlights the importance of a dialogical approach among psychotherapies and provides a philosophical understanding of why the whole person, mind and body, needs to be “known” in the therapeutic relationship.

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