1st Edition

Being with the Body in Depth Psychology Development, Trauma, and Transformation in the Unspoken Realm

By Barbara Holifield Copyright 2025
    236 Pages 8 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 8 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Featuring a foreword by Donald Kalsched, this important book examines the integration of the subjectively experienced body in the practice of depth psychology.

    Barbara Holifield draws from philosophical perspectives, neuroscientific and infant research, developmental theory, and trauma studies to offer a comprehensive overview of embodiment within a relationally-based psychoanalytic approach. Clinical vignettes demonstrate the critical value of working with the bodily felt dimension of implicit relational memory and emphasize how bodily felt sense facilitates access to feelings. The mythopoetic reality revealed in depth psychotherapeutic process weaves all of this into a tapestry of personal meaning. Here the body serves as a portal to the numinous––healing that goes far beyond the relief of symptoms to a renewed sense of aliveness.

    This book offers guiding principles for psychotherapists and clinicians of all levels to engage the bodily basis of experience in their clinical practice. It will appeal to general readers interested in integrating mind and body, including those in the healing arts, fine arts, dance, athletics, meditation, yoga, and martial arts.

    Foreword by Donald Kalsched  Introduction  1. The Way In  2. Sensing the Self, Sensing the World  3. Body-Based Inquiries  4. Attaining Embodiment: A Developmental Perspective  5. Forms of Vitality  6. Languaging the Body  7. The Significance of the Body in Transforming Trauma from a Depth Psychotherapeutic Perspective  8. The Body as Experienced by the Therapist  9. The Poetics of Embodiment  Conclusion



    Barbara Holifield is a training analyst member of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. With her background in Somatic Experiencing, teaching Authentic Movement, and as a professor of Somatic Psychology, a deep feeling for the body pulses throughout her work.

    ‘Being with the Body in Depth Psychology: Development, Trauma, and Transformation in the Unspoken Realm, offers us exceptional wisdom for healing trauma. Barbara Holifield’s gift of this book broadens and deepens our conceptualization and understanding of healing from psychological and physical trauma—intergenerational and contemporary.  Holifield’s book is rich, profoundly intimate, and deserves to become a classic of Jungian Psychology literature.’

    Fanny BrewsterPh.D., M.F.A., LP Author of The Racial Complex

    ‘It is a blessing to see Jungian wisdom include the sacredness of the body.’

    Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart

    ‘In giving the body its due, this book serves as an important, and relevant dialogue between Depth Psychology and those working in the fields of Body Psychotherapy. It is a rich tapestry, an artistically woven fabric, of these two vital strands of comprehending the human condition. This volume will enrich each of these contributions for clinicians in both of these previously disparate fields, particularly with regard to healing the wounds of trauma and abuse.’

    Peter A LevinePhD Author of In an Unspoken Voice; How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

    ‘A powerful, experience-based, highly integrative guide to healing from trauma by a pioneer in the field of Somatic Psychology. The poetics of embodiment finds its mature voice in this remarkable exploration of pathways to recovery drawing on the combined wisdoms of depth psychology, infant research, neuroscience, and a host of approaches to cultivating somatic consciousness. Weaving in the skillful use of the interactive field of the therapeutic encounter, Holifield reveals a multidimensional sensibility that will help orient and guide clinicians working with trauma survivors.’

    Joseph CambrayPh.D., IAAP, past president/CEO, Pacifica Graduate Institute

    ‘Holifield guides us through a profound exploration of the intricate interplay between the psyche and the body—an introspective journey that delves into the nuanced cultivation of embodiment and the sanctity inherent in inner experiences. Her prose emanates from a non-dualistic perspective, seamlessly weaving together interdisciplinary insights from affective neuroscience, infant development, and trauma research. Through the lens of compassionate vignettes and case studies, she illuminates her mythopoetic approach to navigating the bodily foundations of the psyche's unfolding process, a transformative odyssey toward the healing of that which was once fragmented and broken. This exquisitely crafted and meticulously researched work stands as a luminous testament, making a profound and insightful contribution to the field.’

    Ursula Wirtz, Ph.D., author of Trauma and Beyond