What is it?

Body psychotherapy links the way we think and feel with the physical self: the relationship between mind and body.

Body psychotherapy recognises that many psychological problems ­ – anxiety and panic attacks, addictions, sexual difficulties, eating disorders and depression – often have correlations in the body. It deals with the connections between thinking and feeling, physical sensations, images, impulses and the way we relate to others, going back to early childhood. Therapists draw on many different techniques such as breath, physical touch and movement as well as some of the talking therapies.

Its origins date back to the 1920s when Wilhelm Reich, a student and colleague of Freud, noticing that repressed feelings corresponded with an inhibited body, developed the concept of ‘body armour’ whereby we develop rigid postures and patterns of relating to protect against emotional pain.

If can help if…

Body psychotherapy can be useful in personal development as well as treating many emotional and physical issues, for example anxiety and mild depression, inhibitions, low-self esteem, relationship issues, sexual problems and physical pain (such as back pain). It has also been used to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

What happens?

A session with a body psychotherapist may involve techniques working in direct contact with the body, including touch, massage, psychodrama, imagery and art, movement, physical exercise as well as transactional analysis, gestalt,  role play and psychosynthesis (psychospirituality) and many other forms of therapy ­– in any combination.

For more information, see the Chiron Association for Body Psychotherapy.