World Council for Body Psychotherapy

What is Body Psychotherapy?

Body-Psychotherapy (EABP) is a distinct branch of Psychotherapy, well within the main body 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 mind and body. The body does not merely mean the "soma" and that this is separate from the mind, the "psyche". Many other approaches in Psychotherapy touch on this area. Body-Psychotherapy considers this fundamental.

It 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 in the other branches of Psychotherapy, as indeed there are in the other main branches of Psychotherapy.

Body-Psychotherapy is also a 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.

It exists as a specific therapeutic approach with a rich scientific basis on an explicit theory. 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, they are very distinct from Body-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.