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Reading the ‘Body’

This theory operates beyond a body – soul separation. Indispensable from a system theory point of view, it sees body and soul as two different systems which are strictly coupled. For the purpose of understanding change processes this is essential: the body must respond to psychological processes and vice versa. Therefore, physical expressions are signals that offer information about the psychological experience. The soul informs by means of language and body language. Thus, the respective state of the body is an expression of the dynamics of the psyche.

This is the theoretical basis for the fact that, in counselling, it is frequently necessary to bring into the dialogue information which has been derived from the physical state of the client. It is hard to imagine that someone is psychologically characterised by self-acceptance and yet physically neglected, or that someone is physically stiff and rigid, but psychologically free and resolved. Even if it is not exactly that trivial and simple, the principle is right, and it is important for all forms of counselling.

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