Embodied Relating: The Ground of Psychotherapy

Author(s) : Nick Totton

Embodied Relating: The Ground of Psychotherapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : October 2015
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 272
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 36958
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782202936
  • ISBN 10 : 1782202935
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Embodied Relating is addressed both to body psychotherapists and to verbal therapists, and argues that embodied relating is the soil from which all therapy grows, and that conscious understanding of this makes our work more powerful and accurate.

Embodied relating is embedded in our everyday life: we can all ‘do’ embodied relating, though some do it better than others. Like many other important aspects of life, it generally happens of its own accord, but sometimes benefits from the sort of close examination which tends to happen in therapy. However, psychotherapy has a history of keeping embodiment out of its field of awareness, and of preferring language-based relating to all other kinds - indeed, until quite recently, of downplaying here-and-now relationship altogether. All these things are now changing; and this book is intended to be part of the change.

Embodiment and relationship are inseparable, both in human existence and in psychotherapy. If we explore embodiment, we encounter relationship; if we explore relationship, we encounter embodiment. Therapy is more powerful when the practitioner is able to recognise the constant interplay between these two aspects of being human, and to follow and support the shifts of change from one to the other.

The book explores the nature of embodiment, and of embodied relating, drawing on many sources, including Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Bourdieu, enaction theory, extended cognition, and neuroscience. It places this in the context of psychotherapy, and of the wider social and political field. It then explores other related issues like play, language, trauma, and complexity, and offers a model for those trained in verbal therapy to consult their embodiment when working with clients. It ends with some wider speculations about embodiment, connectedness, human history and ecosystemic thinking.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Nick Totton’s capacity to move fluidly and daringly between theoretical paradigms and therapeutic modalities, the psychological and the social/political, the spoken and the implicit, is a beautiful illustration of the art and practice of Embodied Relating. This is a seminal book relevant not only to body psychotherapists but also to psychotherapists from all modalities who are interested in an updated, inclusive yet differentiated dialogue with other contemporary thinking and research within and beyond the field of psychotherapy. A generous and thought-provoking offering.’
–– Shoshi Asheri, Psychotherapist, Supervisor and a Teacher of Embodied Intersubjectivity

‘With this book the tradition of body psychotherapy is finally coming of age, in terms of its philosophical underpinnings and the formulation of a non-dualistic paradigm, in a way that is relevant for all psychotherapy. It represents the culmination of Totton’s prolific writing over the decades as well as his therapeutic practice and teaching. If Freud was alive today, instead of the “talking cure”, I believe he would be championing the “relating cure”. This book deserves to be read by every therapy student and practitioner.’
–– Michael Soth, Integral-relational Body Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer

About the Author(s)

Nick Totton is a therapist and trainer with nearly thirty years experience. Originally a Reichian body therapist, his approach has become broad based and open to the spontaneous and unexpected. Nick has an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies, and has worked with Process-Oriented Psychology and trained as a craniosacral therapist. He has authored or edited seventeen books, mostly on psychotherapy-related topics, including Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction; Psychotherapy and Politics; Press When Illuminated: New and Selected Poems; and Wild Therapy.

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