Becoming more human: a phenomenological exploration of embodied emotional awareness in psychotherapy

Lah, Alja (2021) Becoming more human: a phenomenological exploration of embodied emotional awareness in psychotherapy. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC). [Thesis]

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This heuristic phenomenological research explores the lived experience of embodied emotional awareness in psychotherapy and counselling psychology. The research springs from an embodied perspective of considering all human experiences holistically. It is an embodied research designed and conducted so it gathers data in an embodied way, and attends to the relationship between knowledge and experience, to share a more embodied way of being where understanding and feeling, self and other, inner and outer, head and heart, are intrinsically intertwined. Heuristic research (Moustakas, 1990) along with the researcher’s self-inquiry are guiding the study. Additionally, the experience of seven participants is explored with in-depth semi-structured interviews and a research process of reflexive embodied empathy (Finlay, 2005). The analysis using Moustakas’s (1990) seven stages of heuristic research reveals five major themes: embodiment is a process, being is feeling, disembodied being, multidimensional being, and relational connection points. The findings show the important and multidimensional connection between the body, emotions and awareness within psychotherapy: the therapist can feel themselves and the client, connect with the client, be aware of the two, discern between the two, choose what to bracket or what to focus on, and choose attitude and action. This research identifies embodied emotional awareness as a way of being where we simultaneously allow ourselves to feel everything in the present moment while staying aware of feeling. It also reveals that embodied emotional awareness is merely one aspect of embodiment, which is a process of integrating the multidimensionality of our whole being and bringing awareness into it. Embodied emotional awareness seems to be contagious; when we become more embodied it has a rippling effect on others. The implication for psychotherapy and counselling psychology is that they need to reintegrate the body into its core practice and training, and as psychotherapists become more embodied, this gets transmitted and supports the clients to become more embodied. Heuristic research is experienced as a multidimensional interactive and synchronistic process of embodiment, intimately intertwined with the researcher’s life.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Keywords (uncontrolled): Embodiment, Disembodiment, Emotion, Awareness, Psychotherapy, Intersubjectivity, Presence, Heuristic, Phenomenology
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 35843
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 13:59
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:48

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