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Body-Oriented Psychotherapy

Body-oriented psychotherapy has a long history and is informed by a comprehensive body of knowledge concerning the complexity of mind-body functioning. Body- oriented therapists work from a common premise that mind and body, psyche and soma, are not separate but inextricably linked aspects of a person’s whole being.

Each person ‘embodies’ their life experience. Emotions, sensations, impulses, movement and thought are interconnected parts of the bodily experience that influences a person’s internal life as well as their external behaviours, actions and ways of relating. Body-oriented therapists work both directly and indirectly with clients’ ‘embodied’ experiences of their emotional, social and spiritual life.

Therapist and client together work to restore and develop the client’s well-being. This may be through empathic verbal exploration of issues, where themes are identified and connections made and, where appropriate, through working more directly at a bodily level. The therapist may help with patterns of breathing, posture, energy, sensation and movement, as well as working with body image, metaphor and through touch when this is appropriate.

This form of psychotherapy provides a safe, non-judgemental opportunity to address all kinds of issues including difficulties in relationships, in work and in achieving one’s goals. It helps in understanding and transforming states such as depression, anxiety, confusion, negative feelings and low self-esteem as well as body symptoms and the effects of trauma. Body-oriented psychotherapists draw on a range of theories, including those concerning personality and character, attachment, emotion, human development, movement, neurobiology and trauma.

Associations belonging to this section require practitioners to have completed training that includes body-oriented principles, psychodynamic theories and ethical practices. The training must have been at least 500 hours in duration over a 3-4 year period, and include experiential and theoretical aspects as well as considerable supervised practice. Practitioners must also have undergone their own psychotherapy process.

Member Associations within this Section:
Australian Somatic Psychotherapy Association
Australian Radix Body Centered Psychotherapy Association