Breathing and relating: exploring a therapist’s heuristic experience

In 2019 I wrote my Master’s dissertation on my experience of being aware of my breathing while in sessions with clients. Below is the abstract from my research. You can find the published article here, or my unpublished dissertation here.

ABSTRACT

What is my experience of consciously breathing while in sessions with clients? As a beginning psychodynamic psychotherapist with a passion for body psychotherapy, this research question sparked a year of exploration into breathing and relating. Following a heuristic self-search methodology, I closely examined my subjective experience of breathing while in sessions with clients, and in the process my relationship with my own breath was illuminated. I discovered that I recruit my breath as a protective defence against feeling. With my clients, I discovered that my experience of breathing shifts from unconscious to conscious, and that shifting breath consciousness is influenced by intersecting client and therapist histories. My research demonstrates the potential for practising conscious breathing in psychotherapy. I explore the importance of breath in investigating the therapist’s somatic countertransference and establishing breathing space between therapist and client.

Huxtable, C. & Solomon, M. (2020). Breathing and relating: exploring a therapist’s heuristic experience. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 15(4). https://doi.org/10.1080/17432979.2020.1813808

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