1st Edition

Body Psychotherapy A Theoretical Foundation for Clinical Practice

By Ulfried Geuter Copyright 2024
    474 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    474 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book introduces body psychotherapy as one of the essential approaches in psychotherapy, reflecting the increasing integration of the body into clinical mental health practice.

    The book offers an entirely new view on body psychotherapy based upon advanced research on embodiment, memory, emotion regulation, developmental psychology and body communication and an experiential and relational understanding of psychotherapy. Accordingly, the author grounds the theory of body psychotherapy on the theoretical approach of enactivism, which regards experience as arising from meaningful living interaction with others and their environment. The book, fortified with clinical examples, shows the distinctiveness of body psychotherapy as compared with a traditional talking therapy approach. It also convincingly demonstrates that each form of psychotherapy should consider body experiences.

    This text will be a comprehensive foundation for psychotherapists of every orientation, scholars of the humanities and students and especially those wishing to integrate embodied experience into their understanding of their patients.

    1. Introduction  2. Towards a definition of body psychotherapy  3. The quest for natural aliveness: On the origins of body psychotherapy  4. The legacy of the schools  5. The living subject  6. Body experience: The basis of self-experience  7. The experienced body and the body of natural science  8. Embodiment research: The sensorimotor basis of thinking and feeling  9. Memory: Embodied remembering  10. Emotions: Models of emotionality and the practice of body psychotherapy  11. Child development: The shaping of experience in early affect motor dialogue  12. Affect motor schemas as body narratives  13. Defence and coping meachnisms: Bodily forms of processing experience  14. Communication with the body: Body behaviour and therapeutic interaction  15. Transference and somatic resonance  16. Moments of understanding  17. Self-regulation and life regulation  18. The contribution of body psychotherapy to integration




    Ulfried Geuter is a body psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who works in his own practice in Berlin. He taught body psychotherapy as a lecturer at the Free University Berlin from 1995–2003 and as an honorary professor at the University of Marburg from 2010–2023 and is a training analyst, supervisor and lecturer in postgraduate psychotherapeutic training programs. He runs the Institute for Advanced Training in Body Psychotherapy in Berlin and is the author of The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany, 1992.

    ‘This is the book somatic psychotherapy and psychotherapy in general has been waiting for! With clear and incisive analysis, Geuter convincingly argues why the subjective body must be included in all psychotherapy modalities. He provides a very clear philosophical and conceptual analysis of the need for all psychotherapy to embrace relational, emotional, embodied and enactive human experience, rather than biology, as the basis of understanding for clinical theory and practice. This professional tour de force, covering an incredibly broad range of the historical and contemporary professional and broader humanistic and philosophical literature, is a ‘must read’ for all in the psychotherapy and related helping professions.’

    Jeff Barlow, BA, BEd, MEd, Somatic Psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer; founding director, Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy

    ‘Dr. Geuter offers us an intensely erudite yet delightfully readable survey of the contemporary field of body psychotherapy. His perspectives are refreshingly thoughtful and provide an interesting ‘take’ on the current state of these vitally important modes of healing practice. This book will help to advance the field significantly.'

    Barnaby B. Barratt, PhD, DHS, Director of doctoral studies in Bodymind Healing at the Parkmore Institute, Parkmore (Johannesburg), South Africa; author of The Emergence of Somatic Psychology and Bodymind Therapy

    ‘This is an excellent book which transcends but values the differences between schools and is a masterly foundation for body psychotherapy as a mainstream of psychotherapy.’

    David Boadella, PhD (Hon), Founder of Biosynthesis; founding president and honorary member of the European Association for Body Psychotherapy (†)

    ‘In this exquisite book, Ulfried Geuter has taken on an epic task - clarifying and integrating the various streams of body psychotherapy - creating common ground for theory and practice both within and beyond embodied forms of psychotherapy. His work combines masterful reviews of the field’s history, development, and current trends, as well as contributions from philosophy, neuroscience, and classic psychological theory and practice, while at the same time deftly weaving in his own integrative perspective. By centering his work around the holistic nature of human experience, he brings the reader to a satisfying sense of structural integrity and clinical clarity. This book will be on my shelf as a go-to reference as well as an engaging read.'

    Christine Caldwell, PhD, LPC, BC-DMT, Professor Emeritus, Naropa University Somatic Counseling Program, Boulder, USA; author of Bodyfulness and Conscious Moving

    ‘Ulfried Geuter, a leading thinker about the theory and practice of body psychotherapy, has produced a highly original book with a sophisticated and thorough theoretical perspective. We here get Geuter at his best.’

    George Downing, PhD, former Clinical Faculty, Salpetriere Hospital and University of Paris VIII, France

    ‘This book gives us nothing less than a radical re-envisioning of the purpose and practice of Body Psychotherapy. Geuter takes the reader well beyond the fraught history of this field and into a new synthesis that places the experiencing human subject in the relational, present moment encounter with the therapist who guides the client into a deeper felt experience of their own embodied self.’

    Alan Fogel, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Utah, USA; author of Body Sense: The Science and Practice of Embodied Self Awareness and Restorative Embodiment and Resilience

    ‘This impressively researched and well-conceived book documents the significance of privileging the body’s inner sensitivities and their expressions in psychotherapy. The author uniquely describes how felt experience forms an implicit understanding of the situation, which then finds verbal signification to become explicitly understood. Skillful therapy vignettes are interspersed within the chapters to illustrate how working with body processes can immediately elucidate psychological dilemmas. This book is necessary for every psychotherapist, beginning or experienced, to support their work with patients, and to support themselves.’

    Ruella Frank, PhD, Founder, Director of the Center for Somatic Studies, New York; co-author of The First Year of the Rest of Your Life and author of The Bodily Roots of Experience in Psychotherapy

    ‘Ulfried Geuter's theory of body psychotherapy takes up the current developments of embodiment research as well as body phenomenology and integrates them into a comprehensive and convincing conception. An indispensable foundational work for all who are theoretically and practically involved in this field.’

    Thomas Fuchs, MD, Karl-Jaspers-Professor for Philosophical Foundations of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy; director of the section "Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy", Psychiatric Clinic, University of Heidelberg, Germany; chair of the German Society for Phenomenological Anthropology, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

    ‘Ulfried Geuter has written a comprehensive book that will be greatly welcomed in the field of body psychotherapy, where rather than distinctions between body and psyche, the interpretive framework centers on whole living-experiencing subjects in relation to their world. It’s an important attempt to theoretically unify a variety of practical approaches, "beyond the schools," while allowing for the legitimacy of a diversity of practices, that, at the same time, does justice to subjective experiences of both therapists and patients. Geuter importantly integrates the new insights of embodied and relational-intersubjective cognitive science with the essential practices of body psychotherapy in ways that are revelatory for both the science and the practice.’

    Shaun Gallagher, PhD, D Phil (Hon), Professor, Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy at the University of Memphis, USA; Professorial Fellow at SOLA, University of Wollongong, Australia; co-editor-in-chief of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition

    ‘Geuter succeeds in tracing the theoretical and methodological diversity of body psychotherapies back to a few general psychological basic principles of perception, body experience, memory, affect, development, defence and communication. Upon reading this book, the fog clears and a clear view of the complex matter is revealed. The easily readable presentation is aided by a good didactic treatment of the material, with many case studies and methodical therapeutical hints. There is currently no other book that brings this valuable and comprehensive psychotherapeutic approach to the reader in such a systematic, clear and understandable way.’

    Dirk Revenstorf, PhD, Professor Emeritus for Clinical Psychology, University of Tuebingen, Germany, and Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico; co-founder of the German-Chinese Society for Psychotherapy; director of the Milton-Erickson-Academy for Clinical Hypnosis, Tuebingen; co-director of the European Academy for Couple Therapy, Mallorca, Spain

    ‘Geuter's remarkable textbook is one of the most significant milestones in the development of the field of body psychotherapy. Laying out clearly the theoretical paradigm of experiential, enacted and relational principles of body-oriented psychological interventions in clinical practice, this book outlines how body psychotherapy distinguishes itself from traditional talking therapies in theory and practice. About 100 years after Wilhem Reich laid the foundation for body psychotherapy, Geuter's book demonstrates how advances in cognitive sciences and psychology have been utilised to develop body psychotherapy into a distinct modality in the wider psychotherapy landscape. A must-read for all scholars of psychotherapy and practitioners from all psychotherapy branches will benefit greatly from numerous practical examples that help illustrating the theoretical concepts.’

    Frank Röhricht, MD, Professor, Medical Director Research & Innovation at East London NHS Foundation Trust; Consultant Psychiatrist and Body Psychotherapist; Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London

    ‘At last, a book that is capable of bringing together the various traditions and schools of body psychotherapy, recognizing it not only as a branch of psychoanalysis, but appreciating body psychotherapy as something created in its own right, a complex synthesis of scientific and philosophical discourses, at once familiar and innovative. This book introduces a coherent theory without losing the richness of complexity and gives body psychotherapists a solid foundation.’

    Maurizio Stupiggia, PhD, Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milan, Italy; co-founder of the International School of Biosystemic and of the Bio-Integral Institute of Body Psychotherapy in Tokyo

    ‘This book offers a clear and comprehensive account of body psychotherapy theory. It explores the significance of embodiment from a "lived body" context, which makes it a rich resource for the development of embodied research. The English translation is a rich addition to existing embodiment literature, and is an invaluable tool for students, faculty and clinicians in all psychological coursework.’

    Jennifer Frank Tantia, PhD, BC-DMT, Somatic Psychotherapist, private practice, New York; co-editor of The Routledge International Handbook on Embodied Perspectives in Psychotherapy and editor of The Art and Science of Embodied Research Design: Concepts, Methods and Cases