1st Edition

The Embodied Psychotherapist The Therapist's Body Story

By Robert Shaw Copyright 2003
    ISBN 9781583912690
    184 Pages
    Published October 14, 2003 by Routledge

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    The therapist's body is a vital part of the therapeutic encounter, yet there is an inherent inadequacy in current psychotherapeutic discourse to describe the bodily phenomena. Until recently, for instance, the whole area of touch in psychotherapy has been given very little attention. The Embodied Psychotherapist uses accounts of therapists' own experiences to address this inadequacy in discourse, and provides strategies for incorporating these feelings into therapeutic work with clients. Drawing on these personal accounts, it also discusses the experiences that can be communicated to the therapist during the encounter.

    This description and exploration of how practitioners use their bodily feelings within the therapeutic encounter book will be valuable for all psychotherapists and counsellors.

    Part 1: The Body in Psychotherapy. The Psychotherapeutic Body. Psychotherapeutic Techniques of the Body. Embodiment and the Lived-Body Paradigm. The Narrative Turn in Psychotherapy. Part 2: Psychotherapists' Body Narratives. Psychotherapists' Physical Reactions to Clients. Body as Receiver. Embodied Styles of Working. Part 3: The Embodied Psychotherapist. Body Empathy. Psychotherapist Embodiment and Narrative.


    Robert Shaw has written numerous articles for journals including: Psychodynamic Counselling and The Journal of Contemporary Health.

    "This thoughtful, well-researched phenomenological study of the therapist’s body in the psychotherapy session is an attempt to “reclaim the body for psychotherapy…and the mind for osteopathy.” Trained in both disciplines, the author sets out to reconcile his two professional lives, integrate his own work more, and demonstrate the relevance of research to clinical practice. His research focuses on 14 in-depth interviews with psychotherapists, whom he quotes extensively. His theoretical discussions as well as the many examples of how therapists can and do use their bodies within the therapeutic encounter are a rich source of intellectual stimulation and practical information."

    - Jacqueline A. Carleton, PhD, Editor, USABP Journal, Summer 2008, Issue No. 34

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