Embodiment Research – Building Bridges to Evidence-Based Clinical Practice

  • Felicitas WeineckEmail author
  • Matthias Messner


“I was swept off my feet. It hit me hard. I was tongue-tied. I got cold feet. I was heart-broken. I did not have the guts . I got it off my chest. I moved on.” The list of metaphors highlights how closely the expression of emotional experience is linked to the description of bodily sensation. Embodied cognition, refers to the concept that our thinking and feeling is deeply embedded in the body. Embodiment interventions are based on this concept and make use of bottom-up processing to generate or enhance emotional experiences and to activate related cognitions. Bottom-up effects occur on the sensory, emotional or cognitive level, as a result of changes in bodily movements or postures. For example, if you adopt an upright, expanded bodily posture, you are more likely to feel powerful, than when you sit in a slumped posture. Thus, embodiment interventions are specific methods that use the body itself, or sensations arising from it, as a valuable resource for self-awareness and therapeutic change. The following chapter aims to review current research on embodiment interventions in terms of their scope and effectiveness. It further outlines several exercises that can be derived from empirical studies and implemented in the therapeutic context. Finally, we will highlight several critical concerns relating to research on embodiment and how this field of study can be clarified and enriched in the future.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Health PsychologyUlm UniversityUlmGermany

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