This resource was compiled in August 2008 by Gill Westland. It is an ongoing project and will be updated at intervals. It is not comprehensive, but attempts to provoke interest and resources for further study.



The term Body Psychotherapy has been adopted by the European Association for Body Psychotherapy and the U.S.A Association for Body Psychotherapy as the umbrella term for a number of different body psychotherapies. It is also sometimes hyphenated i.e. body-psychotherapy. Body Psychotherapy is not the same as Body therapy and “bodywork”. However, there is overlap in theory and clinical application between Body Psychotherapies and Body therapies. In researching body psychotherapy terms such as body-centred psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy remain in use. Somatic psychotherapy and somatic psychology are also worth looking at.

Yoga, massage and meditation also overlap with body psychotherapy. The newer Mindfulness based therapies such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy also draw on common methods used is Body Psychotherapy, e.g. experiencing through the body, breath awareness, body awareness, sensation awareness.

Search Suggestions

Searches may also be undertaken by body psychotherapy orientation e.g. Biodynamic Psychology, Biosynthesis, Hakomi, Chiron Body psychotherapy, Bioenergetics, Core Energetics, Sensori-motor psychotherapy etc.

Key pioneers in Body Psychotherapy e.g. Ron Kurtz, David Boadella, Alexander Lowen, Gerda Boyesen may also be considered. Others writing on body psychotherapy include Michael Coster Heller, Halko Weiss, Roz Carroll, Nick Totton etc.

Current work in neuroscience, child development and attachment, and trauma is of major significance for body psychotherapy. The work of Allan Schore, Stephen Porges, Jaak Panksepp, Bessel van der Kolk etc. is recommended.


The major change in Britain in this field over the past 30 years is the movement from a more technique/skills focus to one of putting the therapeutic relationship in its many manifestations to the forefront. For example, the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy has engaged in a dialogue with Relational Psychoanalysis. Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre has specialised in holding the therapeutic relationship within a psycho-spiritual perspective.

An article in the U.S.A. Association for Body Psychotherapy Journal documents well some of the major trainings, but no list is totally comprehensive in a changing field:

Body Psychotherapy Modalities, Journal Articles and Online Sources, (2005), Barshop, C. C., U.S.A. Journal for Body Psychotherapy, Vol 4, No 2, pp. 121 – 150.

Somatic Therapy Research Guide

The Laurence S. Rockefeller Library has a very useful “Somatic Therapy Research Guide” – available at


The European Association for Body Psychotherapy has research articles, book references and links to many of the trainings in body psychotherapy

The U.S.A. Body Psychotherapy Association was founded in the 1990s. It has a website


The USA Body Psychotherapy Association has a peer-reviewed journal. Copies are available from the website. Of particular interest is:

Research issue, Volume 4, Number 2, 2005.

The articles in it are listed below under 2005.

There is also the Journal of Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy

Energy and Character, the Journal of Biosynthesis has been published regularly over many years. Founded in 1970 by David Boadella.

The Association of Holistic Biodynamic Massage has a journal and many articles are available online




Leitch, M. Laurie, (2007) Somatic Experiencing Treatment with Tsunami survivors in Thailand: Broadening the Scope of Early Intervention, Traumatology, Vol 13, No 3, pp. 11-20

Foundation for Human Enrichment, Niwot, Colorado,

This exploratory study examines the treatment effects of brief (1-2 sessions) Somatic Experiencing with 53 adult and child survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Somatic Experiencing’s early-intervention model, now called Trauma first Aide, was provided 1 month after the tsunami. Survivor assessments were done pre-treatment, immediately post-treatment, 3 to 5 days, and at the 1 year follow-up. Results indicate that immediately following treatment, 675 of participants had partial to complete improvement in reported symptoms and 955 had complete or partial improvement in observed symptoms. At the 1-year follow-up, 905 of participants had complete or partial improvement in reported symptoms, and 965 had complete or partial improvement in initially observed symptoms. Given the small sample size and lack of an equivalent comparison group, results must be interpreted with caution. Nonetheless, the results suggest that integrative mind-body interventions have promise in disaster treatment.

Staunton, Tree (2007), Explorations in Body Consciousness.

Post qualifying MA in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy validated by Middlesex University, UK, 2007 (unpublished).

Correspondence: Tree Staunton


RÖHRICHT, FRANK and PRIEBE, STEFAN (2006) Effect of body-oriented psychological therapy on negative symptoms in schizophrenia: a randomized controlled trial, Psychological Medicine, Volume 36, Issue 05, May, pp. 669-678

In order to improve the treatment of medication-resistant negative symptoms in schizophrenia, new interventions are needed. Neuropsychological considerations and older reports in the literature point towards a potential benefit of body-oriented psychological therapy (BPT). This is the first randomized controlled trial specifically designed to test the effectiveness of manualized BPT on negative symptoms in chronic schizophrenia.


Out-patients with DSM-IV continuous schizophrenia were randomly allocated to either BPT (n=24) or supportive counseling (SC, n=21). Both therapies were administered in small groups in addition to treatment as usual (20 sessions over 10 weeks). Changes in negative symptoms scores on the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS) between baseline, post-treatment and 4-month follow-up were taken as primary outcome criteria in an intention-to-treat analysis.


Patients receiving BPT attended more sessions and had significantly lower negative symptom scores after treatment (PANSS negative, blunted affect, motor retardation). The differences held true at 4-month follow-up. Other aspects of psychopathology and subjective quality of life did not change significantly in either group. Treatment satisfaction and ratings of the therapeutic relationship were similar in both groups.


BPT may be an effective treatment for negative symptoms in patients with chronic schizophrenia. The findings should merit further trials with larger sample sizes and detailed studies to explore the therapeutic mechanisms involved.


Koemeda-Lutz, M., Kascheke, M., Revenstorf, D., Scherrmann, T., Weiss, H., Soeder, U., (2005) Preliminary Results concerning the Effectiveness of Body Psychotherapies in Outpatient settings: a Multi-Center Study in Germany and Switzerland, USA Body Psychotherapy Journal, Vol 4, No 2, pp. 13 – 32.

This article was first published in German in: Psychotherapie Forum (2003) 1, pp. 70-79.

It is also available on the EABP website. See organisations section.

Preliminary results of an outcome study on routine applications of body psychotherapy in outpatient settings are reported. Out of 38 member institutions of the European Association for Body Psychotherapy (EABP) 8 are participating in this study. At 3 points of measurement (at the beginning, after 6 months and at the end of the psychotherapy) questionnaires were completed by patients – the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, Symptom Check List-90-R, Inventory of Interpersonal Problems-D. Patients in body-psychotherapeutic treatment (N = 157) are compared to other outpatient psychotherapeutic patients with regard to socio-demographic data, level of impairment and psychopathology.

After 6 months of body psychotherapy patients (N=78) have significantly improved with small to moderate intraclass sizes. After two years of treatment, large effect sizes are attained in all scales (N=21). The data base presently available for this latter result is still relatively small. The results are an encouragement for more specific research in the field and the authors interpret the results so far as body psychotherapy having a contribution to the psychotherapy field.


This study is of particular interest in the U. K. because the results are over a longer period of time than many studies. Clinicians trained by the main U.K. body psychotherapy training institutes, namely Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy, and the London School of Biodynamic Psychotherapy are all trained to conduct mostly long term psychotherapy i.e. 80 – 200 hours over 2 – 5 years.

Kaplan, A., Schwartz, L.F., (2005) Listening to the Body: Pragmatic Case Studies of Body-Centered Psychotherapy, USA Body Psychotherapy Journal. Vol 4, No 5, pp. 33 – 67.

Body-centered Psychotherapy (BcP) is a developing field of academic investigation. The present research employed the Pragmatic Case Study Method (“PCS Method”) for systematically studying how verbal and somatic interventions are combined in a single therapy in two 12-session cases seen by an experienced BcP therapist. Following the PCS Method, the cases begin with a presentation of the therapist’s theoretical approach, or “guiding conception”, and a description of how it is applied to each client. The data analyzed in each case include videotapes and transcripts of selected therapy sessions; pre- and post-therapy scores on standardized, quantitative measures; a pre- and post-treatment goal-setting interview; and a semi-structured, post-therapy, outcome interview. The results revealed substantial progress and statistically significant quantitative changes in both clients. Additionally, distinctly different patterns of progress occurred, as the therapist tailored therapy in accordance with the needs of each client.

In the sessions subjects were asked to focus, for example on internal physical sensations for cues to mental states. Touch was also included.

Kaplan, A., and Schwartz, L., (2005) Issues of Attachment and Sexuality: Case Studies from a Clinical Research Study, in Conference Proceedings US Association for Body Psychotherapy 4th National Conference, The Body of Life: Body Psychotherapy in the Real World, June 8-11, Tucson, AZ. pp. 57- 95


Amelia Kaplan

Laurie Schwartz

The presentation gives a brief overview of a collaboration by Amelia Kaplan examining the clinical work of Laurie Schwartz with an African-American man named “Ray” and a woman called “Terry” to articulate themes in Body-centered psychotherapy and the adaptation of the psychotherapy for individual clients. They draw from the clinical research to examine how attachment and sexuality are dealt with in a trauma-oriented psychotherapy using clinical transcripts and commentary.

The study uses the case-based Pragmatic Case Study Method developed by Fishman. The article has transcripts of sessions and descriptions of how Laurie Schwartz introduced “experiments” into the session and what her thinking was. She successfully adapts “her therapeutic style to address the needs of each client.”

Ladas, A.K., Ladas, H. S., (2005) Women and Bioenergetic Analysis, USA Assoc. for Body Psychotherapy Journal, Vol. 4, No 2, pp. 68 – 97.

A questionnaire was mailed to 198 women, the total female membership in 1977 of The Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis, a neo-Freudian body-oriented psychotherapy training organisation. Sixty-eight percent (134) returned valid replies. The areas covered by the questionnaire included the effects on themselves and patients of the therapy, an assessment of their views of Bioenergetic theory, and their sexual beliefs, experiences, and practices. This paper focuses primarily on heterosexual experiences and beliefs.

As predicted, 81 percent of the respondents reported improvement in their sexual life following therapy. Unexpectedly, up to 87 percent of the respondents disagreed with one or more theories of Alexander Lowen, M.D., founder of Bioenergetic Analysis, as they apply to female sexuality. Although 73 percent of the respondents reported experiencing vaginal orgasm, 87 percent felt, nonetheless, that the clitoris is important and should not be ignored.

Rauch, Stephanie L., (2005) A descriptive study on the differences between body psychotherapists and traditional counsellors, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (120 pages).

This was a PhD thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


This was the first empirical study to compare traditional counselors, members of the American Counseling Association, body psychotherapists and members of body psychotherapy organizations. In an online survey with 287 respondents significant differences were found with self care, resistances to touch and therapeutic use of touch (p<.01). Findings indicated that body psychotherapists take better care of themselves through body work received and movement for awareness than traditional counselors. Implications of the research are: (1) traditional counselor education programs might consider introducing students to body psychotherapy theories and direct them to valid to body psychotherapy training both to extend their education and to help students around self care, (2) bringing the ethical code of body psychotherapy to traditional counseling programs could provide ethical support to counselors in dealing with fears of sexual misconduct, (3) results from the data indicate that there was not a clean distinction to support the assumption that a counselor belonged to either traditional counseling or body psychotherapy. Thus the category types could be misleading, (4) given that some traditional counselors have interest in body psychotherapy training, counselors in ACA might benefit by organizing a special interest group within ACA, (5) because there is a group of traditional counselors who have been trained in body psychotherapy body psychotherapy organizations may need to market more effectively to keep the counselors they train involved in their organizations.


May, John., (2005) A review of the Objective Literature on Body Psychotherapy (2nd edition), Update/continuation of 1998 Review, in Conference Proceedings, US Association for Body Psychotherapy 4th National Conference, The Body of Life: Body Psychotherapy in the Real World, June 8-11, Tucson, AZ. pp. 380-398.

16 of the 62 studies were covered in the previous review in 1998. 46 additional studies are covered. They covered a range of body psychotherapies. John May excluded EMDR, Dance/Movement Therapy, Focussing, Massage and Yoga from his survey. Studies included were Retrospective surveys, Studies of Efficacy, Studies of Characterology, Studies Developing Measures of Body Psychotherapy, Studies of Professional Issues, Studies of Process in Psychotherapy. These covered Bioenergetics, Radix, Psychomotor, Holotropic and Primal, Gestalt and Rubenfeld Multi-modal and systems releasing action therapy, and unknown or unspecified modality. Most of the studies are drawn from Bioenergetics. The studies reviewed in the presentation are all listed and there are comments on the clusters of studies.

Of particular interest are the surveys of Studies of Efficacy and Studies of Effectiveness. Nine studies were included in the Studies of Efficacy. Six of these studies were positive in outcome for the body psychotherapy clients compared with controls, but more work is needed. In the Studies of Effectiveness only 7 of the 19 studies found positive effects for body psychotherapy.

May also includes a useful table of questions for future studies of process in body psychotherapy. It includes consideration of: charge/discharge, therapeutic relationship, relationship between verbal and physical expression, touch, styles of breathing, verbal processing and experiential correlates, levels of psychotherapeutic attention, interventions at one level and the impact on other levels etc.


Shaw, R., (2004) The embodied psychotherapist: an exploration of the therapist’s somatic phenomena within the therapeutic encounter, Psychotherapy Research, volume 14, Number 3, September (18), pp. 271-288.

This study explores psychotherapists’ somatic experiences during the therapeutic encounter, linking these to ideas from the phenomenological school of philosophy, in particular the notion of the lived-body paradigm in relation to therapist’s physical reactions to clients. The methodology for this research evolved from 3 discussion groups, which led to a series of 14 in-depth interviews and 2 professional scrutiny groups. All the participants were experienced psychotherapists. A grounded-theory analysis generated a set of first- order themes that were clustered into the second-order themes of body empathy, body as receiver, and body management. The final grounded theory of psychotherapist embodiment emerged after an analysis of the permeative themes of professional and personal discourse and researcher’s bodily responses. The grounded theory of psychotherapist embodiment has revealed the importance of the therapist’s body within the therapeutic encounter.

Heller, M., (2004) Behind the stage of interacting faces: commentary on a Case Study by Beatrice Beebe, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14, 1, pp. 53-63.
Seidler, Klaus-Peter, Schreiber-Willnow, Karin, (2004) Concentrative movement therapy as body-oriented psychotherapy for inpatients with different body experience, Psychotherapy Research, Volume 14, Number 3, September, pp. 378-387.

The authors investigated whether the quality of body experience influences the therapeutic process in Concentrative Movement Therapy and treatment outcome. Sixty-two inpatients were assigned to 3 different types of body experience based on cluster analysis of their answers in the Assessment of the Own Body Questionnaire. The results show that different qualities of body experience do exist but do not have predictive value for a) treatment outcome, b) patient differentiation during the course of treatment, and c) the connection between group experience and treatment outcome. The results do not confirm the clinical opinion that patients show different course and results in body-oriented inpatient psychotherapy because of different quality of body experience.


This work would benefit from further study. Beliefs about body experience and awareness pervade body psychotherapy.

Lemmens, G.M.D., Vervaeke, M., Enzlin, P., Bakelants, E., Vanderschueren, D., D’Hooghe, T. and Demyttenaere K., (2004) Coping with infertility; a mind-body group intervention programme for infertile couples, Human Reproduction Vol 19, No 8, pp. 1917-1923.

Section of Family Therapy, Department of Psychiatry and Leuven University Fertility Centre, B-3000, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven and Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:


The recognition of the distressing character of infertility diagnosis and treatment has led to the development of several psychosocial interventions for infertile couples. At the Leuven University Fertility Centre, a body-mind marital group intervention was developed to help infertile couples cope with the distress related to infertility.

Methods and Results

This treatment programme was originally adapted from a mind-body approach, but integrated concepts and techniques from body-oriented therapy, art therapy and multi-family group therapy. In this paper, the therapeutic foundations, treatment goals and practical implications of the mind-body marital group intervention are outlined. Further, the treatment procedure is explained in detail and illustrated by clinical vignettes.


Although the first clinical impressions about the usefulness of the body-mind group programme in fertility clinics seem promising, further research is needed to assess its effectiveness.


Nickel, M., Cangoez, B., Bachler, E., Muehlbacher, M., Lojewski, N., Mueler-Rabe N., Mitterlehner, F., Lieberich, P., Rother, N., Buschmann, W., (2003) Bioenergetic exercises in inpatient treatment of Turkish immigrants with chronic somatoform disorders: a randomized controlled study, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 61, Issue 4, pp. 507-513.


Bernet, M., (2002) The Effectiveness of Body Psychotherapies as a Function of Effortless Awareness of Body Sensations, in Conference Proceedings, the Third National Conference of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, Emergence and Convergence, The Body in Psychotherapy, Integrative Approaches and Emerging Applications, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, June 5-10.

What does “Being in Touch with One’s Body” have to do with mental health?

Between 1982 and 1995, I conducted a study involving altogether 2000 subjects (with 1000+ in the final stage), to explore the relevance of integrated awareness of body sensations as factors in mental health, contentment, social warmth, and creativity. In the process, I developed a 93-item pencil-and-paper measure that showed three styles in the utilization of awareness of body sensations. The BB style (“Based on Body”) correlated highly with mental health, contentment, interpersonal warmth, and creativity; the EE style (“Emphasis on Evaluation”) correlated highly with emotional stress and discontent: and the LL style (“Looking to Logic”) correlated highly with an emphasis on logic and intellect at the expense of feelings and emotions.

I also found that high BB scores are associated with personal experience in therapeutic modalities – whether as a stand-alone modality, as part of a psychotherapeutic intervention, or as an adjunct to one- to the degree that these modalities promote integrated awareness of body sensations. Based on this study I have been able, guardedly to rank the effectiveness of various therapies of mind, body and spirit, and to offer suggestions as to which of many components (within each therapeutic modality) are likely to be effective in inducing personality changes toward the BB style.

See and

Bridges, M., (2002) Emotion Expression and Experience in Body-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Single Case Design Utilizing Empirically Validated Methods, in Conference Proceedings, the Third National Conference of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, Emergence and Convergence, The Body in Psychotherapy, Integrative Approaches and Emerging Applications, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, June 5-10.

While there has been an increasing interest in the body psychotherapy community in empirical research related to developmental psychology and the neurobiology of trauma and affect regulation, much less attention has been paid to the empirical literature that has documented the importance of emotional expression in psychotherapy or the recent developments in psycho-dynamic theory that have replaced drive theory with contemporary affect theory. Additionally, much of the body psychotherapy literature has used the case study approach with little emphasis placed on the use of scientific methodology or statistical comparisons. This paper attempts to remedy some of these shortcomings by 1) introducing an empirically validated model of psycho-dynamic therapy (i.e., McCullough-Vaillant, 1997) that, because of the emphasis placed on identifying defenses against affect and enhancing adaptive emotional expression, is particularly compatible with many body oriented approaches, 2) presenting a case that employs elements of single-case-design and includes statistical and process analysis of two sessions of psycho-dynamically oriented body-focused psychotherapy that reveals clinically and statistically significant improvements in the experience and expression of adaptive anger and grief after the introduction of expressive exercises and bodywork and 3) providing a brief overview of methodology and measures utilized in psychotherapy process and outcome research that could be utilized by other body-oriented psychotherapists to collect data laying the initial groundwork for empirical validation of some of basic postulates of body psychotherapy.

Correspondence: Michael R. Bridges, Temple Center for the Study of Somatic and Emotional Processes in Psychotherapy, 415 Weiss Hall, 1701 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Email:


Caldwell, C., (1999), Addiction as Somatic Dissociation, in ed. Heller, M., The Flesh of the Soul, The Body we work with, Selected Papers of the 7th Congress of the European Association of Body Psychotherapy, Peter Lang: Oxford.

The paper examines research evidence for a body-centered perspective with addictions. It postulates a developmental explanation of addiction as seen through the lens of movement development. It looks at movement processes in addiction with the intention of forming a coherent diagnostic strategy for body psychotherapies. Finally it discusses treatment in a movement-centred framework.

Heller, M., Haynal-Reymond, V., Haynal, A., and Archinard, M., (1999), Can Faces Reveal Suicide Attempts Risks, in ed Heller, M., The Flesh of the Soul, The Body we work with, Selected Papers of the 7th Congress of the European Association of Body Psychotherapy, Peter Lang: Oxford.

A psychiatrist was filmed, interviewing 59 patients who had just made a suicide attempt. Within two years, 11 of these patients made one more suicide attempt. This group was matched with a similar group of 12 patients who did not reattempt within the two years. Film samples of the facial behaviour of the two groups of patients and of the doctor were coded, using Ekman and Friesen’s Facial Action coding System (FACS), with the aim of identifying body signs that could be associated with reattempt risk. We found a number of such signs, in both the doctor and the patients, which discriminated more than 80% (18) of the 23 interviews in function of the patient’s suicide reattempt risk.


May, J., (1998), A Review of the Empirical Status of Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, John May, in Proceedings of the First National Conference of the U.S. Association for Body Psychotherapy, Creating Our Community”, Boulder June 25-28.

The author located twenty-six sources reporting 23 studies. There was support in the literature for body-oriented psychotherapy when used as a stand-alone intervention in both clinical and non-clinical populations. More study is needed to determine the effectiveness body-oriented psychotherapy as an adjunct added to other interventions. Research on continuation parallels that in psychotherapy in general: many clients use body-oriented psychotherapy as a relatively brief intervention. There is no indication of increased deterioration effects, although there is some evidence that clients for whom a body-oriented psychotherapy is their first psychotherapy experience increased levels of dissatisfaction with it. The empirical literature on body-oriented psychotherapy is sparse, and more study is needed. There is a need for body oriented training institutes and professional associations to take a more active role in promoting and coordinating these research efforts.

Correspondence: Gateways: A Growing Place, 222 W. Argonne Dr., St Louis, MO 63122


Maurer-Groeli, Y., (1997), Body-centered psychotherapy IKP: holistic psychotherapy of anxiety disorders, Ther Umsch., Oct, 54 (10), pp. 585-90.

Article in German.

Institut für Körperzentrierte Psychotherapie IKP, Zürich.


After describing the difference between body therapies and body-centered psychotherapies, the methods of body-centered psychotherapy IKP are treated in this article. In order to explain the reduction of panic by motor activity, neurophysiological hypothesis are also discussed. Assuming that symptoms of panic are no “psycho”-pathological symptoms but multidimensional pathological phenomenon, the therapeutic approach has to be holistic and multirelational. Activating resources of the six different life dimensions also belongs to the holistic IKP approach. This way of holistic-multirelational thinking is demonstrated along two case studies.


West, W., (1994) Clients’ experience of bodywork psychotherapy, Research Report, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 287-303

The author is now at the University of Manchester, U.K.


One-hundred and fifty ex-clients of 17 Energy Stream Psychotherapists were sent a questionnaire about their experiences of their therapy. Sixty-eight clients completed the questionnaire. Of these 77% were highly or satisfied with their therapy. The frequency of use of some key Reichian psychotherapy techniques was explored. They were found to be used relatively frequently with at least 75% of the clients and rated as helpful by most clients. Also investigated were Rogers@ core conditions, which were found not to be present as often as expected. The possible impact of transference on this is discussed. Some non-specific factors such as feeling listened to, or being given feedback, were generally found to be present and valued. Respondents also answered various qualitative questions about their experience of the therapy, including being asked to provide a metaphor for it. What emerges is a picture of an articulate, informed group of therapy consumers often with previous and subsequent experience of therapy. The questionnaire, which combines a mixture of quantitative and qualitative items, can be used with suitable modification to explore other clients’ experience of bodywork psychotherapy.

Elements of Body Psychotherapy

Body Awareness Questionnaires

Body awareness is a key aspect of body psychotherapy and an aspect of mindfulness.


Price, Cynthia J., Thompson, Elaine Adams (2007) Measuring Dimensions of Bodily Connection: Body Awareness and Bodily Dissociation, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. November 1, 13 (9) pp. 945-953.

School of Nursing, University of Washington, Box 357263, Seattle, WA 98195 (reprints – Cynthia Price)

The study aimed to test the preliminary psychometric properties of the Scale of body connection (SBC), a 20 item self-report measure, designed to assess body awareness and bodily dissociation in mind-body research.

The SBC items were based on common expressions of awareness in body therapy. Content validity was established by a panel of experts. The validity and reliability of the scale was examined with an undergraduate sample. To assess the scale’s discriminant validity, the respondents were asked to indicate exposure to specific traumas.

Confirmatory factor analysis, used to examine the scale’s construct validity, indicated acceptable goodness-of-fit indices, and revealed uncorrelated subscales, reflecting independent dimensions. Cronbach’s alpha revealed equal internal consistency reliability for each subscale for both men and women. Body awareness scores did not differ between individuals with and without past experience with physical trauma, suggesting the applicability of this subscale for use with populations with trauma histories.


The results provide preliminary evidence of the construct validity and internal consistency reliability of the SBC.


Shields, S., Mallory, A., Simon, M. E.,(1989) The body awareness questionnaire: reliability and validity, Journal of Personality Assessment (J. pers. assess.), vol 53, no 4, pp. 802-815.

University of California, Dept. Psychology, Davis, CA 9616.

Norms and reliability and validity data are presented for an objectively scored Body Awareness Questionnaire (BAQ), which is suitable for use with college students and no student adults. The BAQ is an 18-item scale designed to assess self-reported attentiveness to normal none motive body processes, specifically, sensitivity to body cycles and rhythms, ability to detect small changes in normal functioning, and ability to anticipate bodily reactions. Research applications, including investigation of sex-related differences in body awareness and its correlates, are discussed.

Presence, Intention, Mindfulness

Mindfulness Based CBT for Depression (MBCBT) shares and overlaps with elements of Body Psychotherapy. Specifically the Body Scan, Experiencing through the body, Heightening awareness e.g. via the raisin exercise. There are also differences.


McDonough-Means, S. I., Bell, I. R., (2004) Fostering a healing presence and investigating its mediators. , J. Altern. Complement Med: 10 Suppl. 1 pp. 25-41.

College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0203, USA.

Source Medline

The purpose of this paper is the exploration and explication of the complex phenomena of healing presence” and of appropriately supportive theoretical approaches to integrate emerging models for research design. Healing presence is described as an interpersonal, intrapersonal, and transpersonal to transcendent phenomenon that leads to a beneficial, therapeutic, and/or positive spiritual change within another individual (healee) and also within the healer. An integrated framework merging knowledge from diverse fields of research develops the multiple elements of healing presence, the healer, the healee’s capacity for response and the healing effect as an entangled phenomenon. A conceptual systemic model is presented, and questions and dilemmas that emerge are delineated. An integrated qualitative-quantitative research design is proposed. A systemic relationship model, which includes the healer, the healee, and person’s within the healee’s environment is presented. The challenges are substantial, but the research questions are meaningful and worthwhile. The goal is to foster healing at bio-social-spiritual levels of the human being.

Schmidt, S., (2004) Mindfulness and healing intention: concepts, practice, and research evaluation, J. Altern. Complement Med.; 10 Suppl 1: S7-14

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

This paper deals with the role of the health care professional in creating an optimal healing environment (OHE), with a special focus on which inner state and way of being in the world can create a healing intention. A core thesis is that every healing effort and every healing intention starts within the health care professional. An accepting, mindful, and warm-hearted relationship with self is primary to any healing intention. Important concepts to develop such an attitude are mindfulness, love, compassion, and awareness. The concept of a healing attitude toward the self is described, as is the mirror principle that states there is symmetry between someone’s relationship with the outer world and his or her innerworld. The mindfulness concept is outlined through a set mental and heart qualities. Mindfulness is strongly related to compassion, and it is compassion that serves as a source for all healing intentionality. Compassion connects the suffering of the patient with the healer’s own suffering, and this emotional connection instantiates a healing relationship. The power and importance of mindfulness and compassion for healing are explored along the Frank model of non-specific therapeutic components. This is the approach whereby a healthcare professional can elicit self-healing powers in patients through his or her inner attitudes. Finally, a research program and some hypotheses on how to implement and research this specific approach toward the creation of an OHE are outlined.

Emphasis on Emotion and Emotional Processes in Psychotherapy

Whelton, W. J., (2004) Emotional processes in psychotherapy: evidence across therapeutic modalities, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp. 58-71.

Published online 29 Jan 2004 (Wiley)

William J. Whelton

William J. Whelton, 6-123 Education North Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G5

This article briefly reviews recent process research on emotion in humanistic, cognitive, behavioural and psychodynamic psychotherapies. Cognitive therapy has traditionally shown less interest in emotional processes than the other therapies, but the interest of the others has not always borne fruit in empirical research. At the present time there is an interest in emotion research in therapy that cuts across all therapeutic modalities. Emotional processing and depth of experiencing, two heavily-researched emotion process categories of the behaviourists and humanists respectively, have been shown to have a robust association with outcome. There is accumulating evidence that both the in-session activation of specific, relevant emotions and the cognitive exploration and elaboration of the significance and meaning of these emotions are important for therapeutic change. Further research on emotional processes in psychotherapy is required.

Research Methods Relevant to a Psycho-Spiritual Perspective for Body Psychotherapy


Chuaprapaisilp, Arphorn, (1997) Thai Buddhist philosophy and the action research process, (Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand). Educational Action Research, Volume 5, Number 2/June, pp. 331-336..

Certain aspects of Thai Buddhism offer interesting support for some key concepts in action research. In particular, Buddhist notions of “insight” and “mindfulness” are helpful in clarifying the “reflection” phase in the well-known action research “spiral“, and the concept of “Dependent Origination” can be seen as embodying the whole action research cycle.

Thinking About the Body

Rowan, J., (2000) The three bodies in psychotherapy, European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, Volume 3, Issue 2, August, pp. 193-207.

One of the sources of the diversity within psychotherapy is the conceptualization of the body. There are three main ways in which the body is seen. These correspond to three levels within the Wilber (1996) structural model. At level 1 the body is seen as something quite separate from the mind. We can treat the mind independently and leave the body to other specialists, such as medical doctors. If we do deal with the body, it is only in an external and behavioural way. At level 2 the body is seen as integrated with the mind, and the client is encouraged to see it this way too. One of the aims is bodymind unity. The body is continually referred to, and may be touched or asked to go through certain motions as part of the therapy. At level 3 the body is seen as the site for symbolic representations of divine archetypes, and reference is made to the subtle body. Both mind and body are seen as part of something greater, the soul. All three of these approaches are to be found within psychotherapy. It is argued that, unless these divisions are taken seriously, psychotherapy will remain confused. It is already confusing to others. By removing this particular form of confusion, it will be easier for psychotherapists to know what they are doing, and the scope and limits of their own particular orientation. Of these three versions of the body, the third is probably the least well known, but is growing the fastest. More lengthy attention is therefore paid to that.

Relevant Research from Disciplines Allied to Body Psychotherapy

Body Therapy


Price, C. J., McBride, B., Hyerie, L., Kivlahan, D. R (2007) Mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy for female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder taking prescription analgesics for chronic pain: a feasibility study, Altern Ther Health Med, Nov-Dec, 13(6) pp. 32-40.

Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Preliminary studies of body therapy for women in trauma recovery suggest positive results but are not specific to women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain.


To examine the feasibility and acceptability of body-oriented therapy for female veterans with PTSD and chronic pain taking prescription analgesics.


A 2-group, randomized, repeated-measures design was employed. Female veterans (N=14) were recruited from a Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system in the Northwest United States (VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington). Participants were assigned to either treatment as usual (TAU) or treatment as usual and 8 weekly individual body-oriented therapy sessions (mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy group).


Written questionnaires and interviews were used to assess intervention acceptability; reliable and valid measures were administered at 3 time points to evaluate measurement acceptability and performance; and within-treatment process measures and a participant post-intervention questionnaire assessed treatment fidelity.


A body-oriented therapy protocol, “Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy” (MABT) was used. This is a mind-body approach that incorporates massage, mindfulness, and the emotional processing of psychotherapy. RESULTS: Over 10 weeks of recruitment, 31 women expressed interest in study participation. The primary reason for exclusion was the lack of prescription analgesic use for chronic pain. Study participants adhered to study procedures, and 100% attended at least 7 of 8 sessions; all completed in-person post-treatment assessment. Written questionnaires about intervention experience suggest increased tools for pain relief/relaxation, increased body/mind connection, and increased trust/safety. Ten of 14 responded to mailed 3-month follow-up. The response-to-process measures indicated the feasibility of implementing the manualized protocol and point to the need for longer sessions and a longer intervention period with this population.


Price, C., (2006) Body-oriented therapy in sexual abuse recovery: a pilot-test comparison, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 10, Issue 1, January, pp. 58-64.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of body-oriented therapy, as an adjunct to psychotherapy, for women in recovery from childhood sexual abuse. A two-group randomised design was employed. Eight women were recruited from a community sample and randomly assigned to an experimental group or wait-list control group. The experimental condition involved eight 1-h weekly sessions of body-oriented therapy, a combination of bodywork and the emotional processing of psychotherapy. The study examined changes in somatic and psychological symptoms, and the subjective experience of the intervention using a mixed method approach. Methods included interview, written questionnaire, and self-report outcome measures of psychological symptoms, dissociation, post-traumatic stress, and physical symptoms. Pre-post comparison of the two groups revealed remarkable decreases on SCL-90 global score, PTSD, number and severity of physical symptoms, and a trend toward decreased dissociation for the experimental compared to the control group. Qualitative results revealed the positive impact of body-oriented therapy on sense of inner security and psychotherapeutic progress.


Price, C., (2005) Body-oriented therapy in recovery from child sexual abuse: an efficacy study, , Althern Ther Health Med. Sep – Oct, 11 (5) pp. 46-57.

School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


There has been little research on body therapy for women in sexual abuse recovery. This study examines body-oriented therapy–an approach focused on body awareness and involving the combination of bodywork and the emotional processing of psychotherapy.


To examine the efficacy and the perceived influence on abuse recovery of body-oriented therapy. Massage therapy served as a relative control condition to address the lack of touch-based comparisons in bodywork research.


A 2-group, repeated measures design was employed, involving randomization to either body-oriented therapy or massage group, conducted in 8, hour-long sessions by 1 of 4 research clinicians. Statistical and qualitative analysis was employed to provide both empirical and experiential perspectives on the study process.


Participants were seen in treatment rooms of a university in the northwestern United States and in clinician’s private offices.


Twenty-four adult females in psychotherapy for child sexual abuse.


Body-oriented therapy protocol was delivered in three stages, involving massage, body awareness exercises, and inner-body focusing process. Massage therapy protocol was standardized. Both protocols were delivered over clothes.


The outcomes reflected 3 key constructs–psychological well being, physical well-being, and body connection. Repeated measures included: Brief Symptom Inventory, Dissociative Experiences Scale, Crime-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale, Medical Symptoms Checklist, Scale of Body Connection and Scale of Body Investment. Results were gathered at 6 time points: baseline, 2 times during intervention, post-intervention, and at 1 month and 3 months follow-up, To examine the experiential perspective of the study process, written questionnaires were administered before and after intervention and at 1 month and 3 months follow-up.


Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated significant improvement on all outcome measures for both intervention groups, providing support for the efficacy of body therapy in recovery from childhood sexual abuse. There were no statistically significant differences between groups; however, qualitative analysis of open-ended questions about participant intervention experience revealed that the groups differed on perceived experience of the intervention and its influence on therapeutic recovery.


Baumann, J., (1994) Body-oriented group psychotherapy in the 2nd half of life, Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. Sep-Oct;44(9-10) pp. 337-45.

Article in German

Psychosomatische Klinik Bad Neustadt.

The main clinical experience and the theoretical objectives of body-related group psychotherapy are described in the context of a multidimensional concept for inpatient psychosomatic therapy of patients in the second half of life. Six hundred patient questionnaires which were filled in after treatment lasting several weeks were analysed in an investigation of the influence factors motivation for psychotherapy and the patient-doctor relationship. Twelve psychophysical parameters are collated with the response to different therapy forms into significance ranking sequences in a statistical study on. Even so they show sex divergence, the results indicate the importance of the priority objectives of our body-oriented psychotherapy: promotion of the recognition of psychosomatic interrelationships and comprehension of illness, correction of the age image and a proportionate stabilization of self-regulation in contrast in particular to body-training measures which experience shows have other priorities.

Dance Movement Therapy


Berrol, Cynthia F., (2006) Neuroscience meets dance/movement therapy: Mirror neurons, the therapeutic process and empathy, The Arts in Psychotherapy, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp. 302-315.

California State University, East Bay, 492 Staten Avenue 1001, Oakland, CA 94610.

The recent discovery by neuroscientists of mirror neurons has launched a spate of scientific investigations. A keystone of the therapeutic process of dance/movement therapy (DMT), the concept of mirroring is now the subject of neuroscience. An interactive phenomenon, studies are revealing that the identical sets of neurons can be activated in an individual who is simply witnessing another person performing a movement as the one actually engaged in the action or the expression of some emotion or behavior. The domains of behaviour currently under investigation span motoric, psychosocial and cognitive functions, including specific psychosocial issues related to attunement, attachment theory and empathy. Although DMT embodies empathic forms, until recently their neurological underpinnings have not been studied. The paper addresses the theoretical constructs of the mirror matching mechanism and empathy, and the implications for DMT. Beginning with the basic mapping of important central nervous system structures and their behavioural functions, the focus shifts to the mirror neurons with respect to the formative years vis-à-vis the developmental issues of empathy-attachment, atttunement, social cognition and morality. The final sections offers two exemplars of mirror neurons and empathy as mediated through dance and DMT.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy research may have relevance particularly to Biodynamic (Body) Psychotherapy as this form of body psychotherapy includes Biodynamic Massage, where it is relevant to clients in Biodynamic Psychotherapy.

A major source of research on massage applied to a range of medical and psychological conditions is the Touch Institute, directed by Professor Tiffany Field.


Moyer, A. C., Rounds, J., and Hanuum, J. W., (2004) A Meta-Analysis of Massage Therapy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 1. pp. 3-18.

A meta-analysis was conducted of studies that used random assignment to test the effectiveness of MT. Mean effect sizes were calculated from 37 studies for 9 dependent variables. Single applications of MT reduced state anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate but not negative mood, immediate assessment of pain, and cortisol level. Multiple applications reduced delayed assessment of pain. Reductions of trait anxiety and depression were MT’s largest effects, with a course of treatment providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy. No moderators were statistically significant, though continued testing is needed. The limitations of a medical model of MT are discussed, and it is proposed that new MT theories and research use a psychotherapy perspective.