Reflections on The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology

This book was composed by Gustl Marlock and myself to give a face to body psychotherapy as a whole. It is supposed to help mentally organize the scattered field and inform psychotherapists of all schools about its width and length, as well of its long history and its many methodologies. The idea is that this cannot be done by one author alone because nobody can correctly and fairly cover the contributions of so many diverse approaches. It is for this reason that the book contains the voices of 82 competent representatives of the field from many different countries, among them some of its most highly esteemed originators and teachers. They are meant to form the legs and arms, the trunk and the tail, the belly and the eyes of the now fully grown elephant named Body Psychotherapy.

The idea for the first version came in 2001 when Gustl and I sat together, very frustrated, because once again we had become aware of both a psychoanalytic conference, and a CBT conference on the role of the body in psychotherapy where none of us body psychotherapists were invited. Instead they often presented the most out-dated, primitive, and often misunderstood concepts of working with the body, often without naming were it came from, and with the claim it was a totally new and sensational approach.

Of course we were also aware that our field is so diverse, so cut-up by schools and concepts, that there IS no-one who can speak for the whole field. We saw the field as not able to present itself as a unified approach to psychotherapy. And we complained that nobody had tried to write the book on the whole of it. That is when we also became aware the WE had also not done so, and we made the decision to put together a simple little book with some articles within a year. Well, it lasted five years and was a hell of an effort!

Our hope is that body psychotherapy will be seen as a valid contributor to modern psychotherapy, and accepted as a partner in discourse who has a number of exciting offers, innovations, and controversial ideas to throw in the mix. In the long run we believe that the body can NOT rightfully, ethically, and intellectually excluded from the psychotherapy of the future. The mental/cognitive only approach will not survive. But will our voice be heard?

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