Embodiment in psychotherapy – A necessary complement to the canon of common factors?

Tschacher, Wolfgang; Pfammatter, Mario (2016). Embodiment in psychotherapy – A necessary complement to the canon of common factors? European Psychotherapy, 2016/2017, pp. 5-21. CIP-Medien

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An ongoing debate in psychotherapy research is addressing whether nonspecific "com- mon" factors or specific factors (techniques) should be considered as the essential ingre- dients of therapeutic change. This controversy is currently unresolved; the debates inad- vertently showed that so far a third aspect of almost all psychotherapies was neglected in academic psychotherapy research – the role of the body and of nonverbal behavior in the session. The current taxonomy of core constructs of psychotherapy thus appears biased by not covering the embodiment of psychotherapy. In recent decades, embodiment has become an influential concept in psychology and cognitive sciences. It denotes an increas- ing awareness of the reciprocity of mind and body ("bi-directionality"), with the mind not only affecting the body but also vice versa. Embodied cognition comes to the fore in Theory of Mind, sensorimotor coupling, and nonverbal behavior. In addition, the embodi- ment of the mind constitutes a basis of social interaction and communication, as became evident in research on nonverbal synchrony, social contagion and mimicry. Thus, embodi- ment has a wide range of implications for psychotherapy. Psychomotor dysfunctions are often closely associated with affective and psychotic symptoms, leading to altered timing in the processing of stimuli and to disordered appraisals of the environment e.g. in psy- chosis. Problems of social exchange and social cognition may be viewed as disordered embodied communication, which opens up novel treatment strategies for psychotherapy and body-oriented interventions. But also in cognitive and psychodynamic psychotherapy, which are targeted not on the body but on mental and emotional processes, the nonver- bal level tacitly plays an important role in establishing the therapeutic alliance and thereby promoting therapeutic outcome. In this article we therefore wish to discuss the importance of embodiment for psychotherapeutic interaction.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Tschacher, Wolfgang and Pfammatter, Mario

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1435-9464

Publisher:

CIP-Medien

Language:

English

Submitter:

Mario Pfammatter

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2017 09:50

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2017 00:31

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bidirectionality; embodied cognition; embodied communication; nonverbal synchrony; change mechanisms of psychotherapy

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.93002

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/93002

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