Physical Touch in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

To be Published by Routledge 2022

The book presents a model of embodied therapy designed to help survivors of abuse reclaim their stolen bodies. The model and detailed case chapters demonstrate the transformative effect of informed physical connections between patient and therapist. The integration of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and embodied therapy offers therapists opportunities to personalize this model of trauma treatment to each individual patient.

The model is anchored in multiple theories including trauma theory, psychoanalysis, transactional analysis, and in Novak’s thirty years of experience in body psychotherapy. The book emphasizes both specific methods of using embodied therapy and the need for radical change in the professional mindset around touch in the therapeutic encounter. Novak squarely grapples with the issues of the risks and ethics of touch and working directly with patient's bodies. He outlines theoretical and clinical elements of his model that help create a safe therapeutic structure for the patient to explore, process and eventually transform their embodied traumas. In addition, Novak’s model offers a continuum of touch from physical interactions such as handshakes or hugs to more complex and complete ways of working with the body that promote an integration of mind and body and result in patients experiencing their bodies in fundamentally new ways.

This book will be of interest to therapists of all levels of experience in the fields of counselling, social work, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis as well as massage therapists and medical professionals. Survivors of abuse can also make use of the model and cases presented in their own journeys toward embodied healing.


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