Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Felicia Sy


Social Work


The field of body-oriented psychotherapy, of engaging the body and affect in the psychotherapeutic process, has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and has shown to improve the treatment of both cognitive and somatic focuses of treatment. This paper uses existing research and interviews with practicing body-oriented psychotherapists to identify core concepts among various body-oriented modalities. Grounded theory was used to bring out the major themes from the interviews, which included: the importance of preparation and support, body awareness, memory stored in the body, touch, empowerment of client’s innate healing capacity, the clinician’s own practice, and a greater demand for the work. The concepts identified from research and interviews were then used to create a model for integrating this work into a clinical social work setting. Where there was once an emphasis on only treating individuals through talk, these findings support that a deep awareness to one’s body provides an opportunity for clients to connect with their own inner capacity for healing, and to live in a more embodied, integrated way.

Included in

Social Work Commons