A Brief Introduction to Body-Mind Psychology


Everything is connected to everything else. How we are in this world, how we relate to ourselves and others, is not simply about the mind, our thoughts, or the words we hear in our head. How we are, and who were are is rooted as well in our bodies and our spirits. Unlike traditional talk therapy, body-mind (somatic) psychology and psychotherapy are more directly experiential.

Somatic psychology has a long history and much of it evolved from the work of Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst and student of Freud. Since it’s inception, body-mind psychology and therapy have also integrated insights and practices from modern psychoanalysis, existential traditions, humanistic and gestalt psychology, dance and movement disciplines and therapy, systems theory, neurobiology, the psychobiology of emotions and attachment, as well as eastern approaches to the body-mind and spirituality.

People pursue somatic (body-mind) approaches to therapy to address stress, anxiety, trauma, depression, relationship and sexuality issues, grief, addictions, abuse recovery, as well as many psychophysical complaints, such as pain, fatigue, and headaches. These are also reasons why people seek other forms of psychotherapy.

Somatic psychotherapy has much more to offer than pure talk therapy in working with these and other concerns – methods that acknowledge the reality of the interrelationship between body, mind, feeling and relationship.  Body-mind therapy includes such interventions as mindful and awareness of one’s physical state, breathing techniques to increase awareness and learn more about building and containing vitality, learning to be present with with what one is actually experiencing in one’s body and feelings, learning to relax and meditate, the use of breathing and movement to promote physical awareness and to expand one’s resources and capacity to feel and express emotions, and getting in touch with outdated ways of moving, thinking, feeling that hinder one’s authenticity and capacity to live and be fully and resourcefully present in relationship with others.