Body Psychotherapy

Body-Psychotherapy is a distinct “mainstream” branch of psychotherapy within the field of psychotherapy, which has a long history and a large body of literature and knowledge based upon a sound theoretical position. It involves a different and explicit theory of mind-body functioning which takes into account the complexity of the intersections and interactions between the body and the mind. The common underlying assumption is that the body is the whole person and there is a functional unity between the mind and the body. The body does not merely mean the “soma” and that this is, in some way, separate from the mind, the “psyche”. Many other approaches in psychotherapy touch on this area (e.g psycho-somatics). Body-Psychotherapy is different in that it considers this unity as paramount and fundamental. Any approach to the mind therefore involves the body as well, de facto; and every aspect of the body, affects and is affected by the mind, and not just the brain.

Body-Psychotherapy involves a developmental model; a theory of personality; hypotheses as to the origins of disturbances and alterations; as well as a rich variety of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques used within the framework of the therapeutic relationship. There are many different and sometimes quite separate approaches within Body-Psychotherapy, as indeed there are within the other mainstreams of psychotherapy.

Body-Psychotherapy is also a natural science, having developed over the last seventy years from the results of research in biology, anthropology, proxemics, ethology, neuro-physiology, developmental psychology, neonathology, perinatal studies and many more disciplines. There are many research projects within Body-Psychotherapy, and many more which also inform it.

It also exists as a specific therapeutic approach with a rich scientific basis on an explicit theory. Body-Psychotherapy is also an approach which demands a high level of knowledge, skill and awareness of non-verbal communication, subtle body signals, diagnostics & processes, emotional ergonomics, psychosomatics, and so forth.

There are also a wide variety of techniques used within Body-Psychotherapy and some of these are techniques used on the body involving touch, movement and breathing. There is therefore a link with some body therapies, somatic techniques, and some complementary medical disciplines, but whilst these may also involve touch and movement, and may well be very psychotherapeutic, they are also very distinct from Body-Psychotherapy, as they do not fit within the scope, depth and training requirements of the field of psychotherapy.

Body-Psychotherapy recognises the continuity and the deep connections in which all psycho-corporal processes contribute, in equal fashion, to the organisation of the person. There is not a hierarchical relationship between mind and body, between psyche and soma. They are both functioning and interactive aspects of the whole.

Historically Body-Psychotherapy has been somewhat marginalised by some of the more traditionally accepted branches of psychotherapy; possibly because of historical and societal anathemas about touch. However this position is now itself more marginalised and Body-Psychotherapy, its long and rich history, its body of knowledge and its particular perspectives are increasingly being accepted, validated, and sought after by other branches of psychotherapy. Body-Psychotherapy has been scientifically validated by the E.A.P. as have a number of the various modalities within this mainstream branch of psychotherapy.


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.