Body and movement in dynamic psychotherapy: reflections on talking and movement therapies

E. Shuper Engelhard

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

4 Scopus citations


In recent decades, somatic experiencing has taken a major place in psychoanalytic thinking. Different theories relate to the meaning of the mother’s attunement towards her baby’s body and to the importance of the therapist’s attentiveness to his own somatic sensations, awakened in the encounter with the patient. With the patient in the armchair, psychodynamic therapists think, imagine, feel and wonder about what the patient’s body may wish to express. This article concerns the patient leaving the armchair in order to actively express himself in the space of the room. It includes examples from the work of Winnicott, Balint and Ogden, and describes the use of analytic work in conjunction with the body and movement. It suggests that the patient’s need to ‘dance the soul stories’ during treatment may bring about actual changes in treatment technique, even prior to systematic theoretical conceptualisation that addresses intervention methods incorporating somatic movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Body attentiveness
  • analytic couch
  • dance movement therapy
  • dynamic psychotherapy
  • talk therapy
  • treatment technic


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