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Towards a relational understanding of embodied therapeutic relationships: A qualitative study of body-focused practitioners' experiences

Mayer, Sharon Jill

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Authors

Sharon Jill Mayer



Abstract

This study aimed to further our understanding of embodied therapeutic relationships within counselling psychology.

Theoretical challenges to the influence of Cartesian dualism on Western medicine and therapeutic practices that led to a largely disembodied view of the mind are reviewed with regard to the embodied nature of subjectivity, and the importance counselling psychologists place on relating to clients within the therapeutic relationship. The need for a reauthorisation of the body as an essential part of the therapeutic relationship is proposed.

A series of four case studies of the lived experience of practitioners of body-focused therapies working in complementary healthcare was conducted, using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach. This aimed to explore potential aspects of embodied relating not widely considered by talking therapists.
Three core areas were identified that constituted the three superordinate themes of: ‘Embodied awareness and sense of personhood’, ‘Intersubjectivity and authentic use of self’ and ‘Mind-body connection, disconnection and reconnection’.

These analyses are discussed in relation to relatively recent research findings in neuroscience, developmental psychology and the application of attachment theory and current developments in relational approaches to psychotherapy that champion embodied therapeutic relationships. Implications for counselling psychology training and practice are identified.

Citation

Mayer, S. J. Towards a relational understanding of embodied therapeutic relationships: A qualitative study of body-focused practitioners' experiences. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/834282

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Keywords embodied therapeutic relationships, body-focused therapies complementary healthcare, interpretive phenomenological analysis, neuroscience, attachment theory, relational approaches to psychotherapy
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/834282
Award Date May 20, 2015

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