Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 363–374 | Cite as

Towards living within my body and accepting the past: a case study of embodied narrative identity

  • Randi SvilandEmail author
  • Kari Martinsen
  • Målfrid Råheim
Scientific Contribution


This narrative case study, created from several qualitative sources, portrays a young woman’s life experiences and an eight yearlong therapy process with Norwegian Psychomotor Physiotherapy (NPMP). It is analyzed retrospectively from an analytical angle, where NPMP theory is expanded with Løgstrup’s phenomenology of sensation and Ricoeur’s narrative philosophy. Understanding Rita’s narrative through this window displayed some foundational phenomena in a singular way, illuminating embodied experiences in inter-subjective relationships in movement, sensation and time entwined. It illustrates how traumatic life experiences may cause pain, suffering and ruptured narratives with fragmented physical and sensuous reactions, chaos and loss of temporal coherence with consequences for a person’s sense of identity. Rita’s narrative also illuminates how intersubjective interaction has healing potentials when there is time and space for trust to emerge and to support new bodily-based experiences. Embodied sensuous experiences in present time may help clarify past and present and support chronology in narration and the sense of identity. With this exemplary case study, we argue that Løgstrup’s and Ricoeur’s thinking may add valuable perspectives to understanding suffering and healing processes in the field of embodied therapies like NPMP.


Norwegian Psychomotor Physiotherapy Løgstrup Ricoeur Muscular tension Tuned sensation Memory and reminiscences Embodied narrative identity 



The funding was provided by HVL Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

The Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics was consulted. It was not considered to require their investigation. Participation was based on informed written consent and acceptance from Norwegian Social Science Data Service, project number 44211: Norwegian Psychomotor Physiotherapy—theoretical basis and long term follow up of patient experience was accepted by Norwegian social science data service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Norway University of Applied Sciences HVLBergenNorway
  2. 2.VID Specialized University - Haraldsplass and UIT Campus HarstadBergenNorway
  3. 3.University of BergenBergenNorway

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