Therapeutic Potential of Embodied Cognition for Clinical Psychotherapies: From Theory to Practice

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Publication Title

Cognitive Therapy and Research



This paper examines cognitive and body-based therapies through the lens of embodiment, framing treatments as constructed experiences shaped by individuals' subjective and intersubjective lived experiences. Embodiment is considered to have restorative qualities that have the potential to improve psychotherapy’s success. We address some of the limitations associated with traditional brain-based reductionist approaches and treatments in clinical psychotherapy. An argument is made for the integration of an embodied approach, empowering clinicians and researchers to evaluate and integrate embodied therapeutic processes leading to successful treatment outcomes.


This integrative review provides evidence-based practice initiatives and findings from a range of embodied research as it applies to body-based techniques in psychotherapy. It gathers and synthesizes both empirical and theoretical evidence relevant to impact the overall success of psychotherapeutic interventions. Data collection involved keyword searches of electronic databases, including PsycINFO, NCBI, PubMED, Frontiers, MEDLINE, EBM Reviews, and Google Scholar.


We present an array of cognitive and body-based methodologies that can be employed to enhance embodied and enactive therapeutic practices, offering a fresh and promising perspective on psychotherapy. Analyses provide insights into current body-based therapeutic applications, highlighting how a deeper understanding of recent advances in neuroscience can enrich both therapists’ and clients’ meta-awareness of mind–body-environment connections on mental health.


We conclude that psychotherapy can benefit from the transformative process that occurs when individuals gain insights, skills, and self-awareness through embodied therapeutic experiences. In the context of embodied psychotherapy, learning to self-heal extends beyond the acquisition of information; it involves a deeper understanding of the connection between one’s body, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and the interconnectedness of these elements within the environment/context. Through this process, along with the therapist, clients acquire valuable insights into the root causes of challenges, develop coping strategies, and enhance emotional regulation. The learning extends to practical skills for managing stress, improving communication, and fostering healthier relationships. Embodiment in psychotherapy encourages a form of experiential learning, where individuals actively engage with and reflect upon their internal and external world.



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Body-based therapies, Embodied cognition, Reductionism, Embodied psychotherapy