Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mind and body therapies, Touch-Psychological aspects, Social workers-Attitudes, Psychotherapists-Attitudes, Body oriented interventions in psychotherapy, Mind and body therapies-Moral and ethical aspects


This study was undertaken to explore clinical social workers' knowledge and perceptions of body-oriented interventions, including how useful and appropriate they believe them to be for various client populations and what factors affect these attitudes. Sixty-two licensed clinical social workers in the United States completed an anonymous, online survey comprised of 17 quantitative and qualitative questions regarding their views and use of the body in clinical practice and their own self-care practices; 8 additional questions gathered demographic information. Results found that among the sample surveyed, the body is widely seen as an important source of clinical information and a potential avenue for a variety of interventions. Certain body-based self-care practices – yoga, dance and meditation – showed weak positive correlation with respondents' views of the importance of the body in clinical work. Respondents also demonstrated significant knowledge of mind-body processes and awareness of various body-based interventions. Passive, non-touch interventions were used more often and were more likely to be viewed as appropriate than active or touch-based interventions, and barriers to working with the body included concerns about ethics, legal liability issues, and the need for greater evidence-based research on how and when to use touch-based interventions. Respondents had a high degree of professional training related to work with the body, but training most often came from outside the field of social work, and graduate school was the least sited source of knowledge. Further research is needed to determine if these findings are representative of the broader population of clinical social workers.




ii, 66 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 49-54)