Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mind and body, Focused expressive psychotherapy, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Meditation-Therapeutic use, Yoga-Therapeutic use, Somatic intervention, Body-based intervention, Somatic experiencing therapy, Body psychotherapy, Sensorimotor, Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Expressive therapies


This study examined the extent to which and the ways in which somatic interventions are integrated into clinical mental health practice, and the thoughts, feelings and beliefs behind clinicians' decisions to integrate the body into mental health treatment. The study included twelve clinicians prepared at the master's level or higher who self-identified as having utilized at least one somatic intervention in thirty days prior to screening. Participants engaged in a 45-60 minute qualitative, semi-structured interview designed to elicit a greater understanding of how individuals conceptualize their use of the body in treatment based on their individual theoretical orientation, what somatic techniques look like in practice, what specific somatic training they have received, and what thoughts, feelings and beliefs surround their use of somatic interventions.. Participants who identified professionally as social workers endorsed a stronger connection between the values of their field and the use of the body in treatment than did mental health counselors or marriage and family therapists. While all participants identified a connection to research and theoretical literature supporting the use of somatic interventions, personal connection to the idea of mind-body holism and personal witnessing of the effectiveness of somatic interventions were identified as most influential in many participants' articulation of how they came to integrate somatic interventions into their own practice. Participants offered a generally unified definition of somatic interventions, and offered a wide variety of treatment modalities falling into the category of somatic work across interviews.




iii, 103 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 85-92)

Limited Access until August 2019