Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Embodying Cognition in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Version 1 : Received: 15 September 2017 / Approved: 15 September 2017 / Online: 15 September 2017 (11:37:32 CEST)

How to cite: Pietrzak, T.; Lohr, C.; Jahn, B.; Hauke, G. Embodying Cognition in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Preprints 2017, 2017090065. Pietrzak, T.; Lohr, C.; Jahn, B.; Hauke, G. Embodying Cognition in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Preprints 2017, 2017090065.


The Embodied Cognitive Behavior Therapy (ECBT) approach for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings is presented. The model integrates cognitive behavioral theory, neuroscience and embodied cognition. ECBT draws from evidence of bidirectional effects between modes of bottom up (sensori-motor simulations giving rise to important basis of knowledge) and top down (abstract mental representations of knowledge) processes in psychotherapy. The paper first describes the dominance of the traditional mentalistic view of cognition and its limitations. Evidence for the embodied model of cognition and emotion is reviewed whilst highlighting its advantages as a complimentary process model to deepen and broaden talking therapies. An overview is given of the switch (e.g., the technique of balancing) between top-down and bottom-up orientation in the ECBT model as well as a clear description of the method for emotional regulation, acceptance of unwanted emotions and emotional mastery. ECBT builds on and extends the unconscious processes of the ‘Interpersonal Synchrony’ (IS) model identified by Koole and Tschacher [1], to enhance the therapeutic alliance for emotional co-regulation. A new idea is proposed that both embraces and extends the IS model: embodiment techniques of imitation and movement synchronization in the Emotional Field of our method be used in a conscious way to speed up the calming effects of co-regulation and the client’s self-regulatory capacity. The paper ends with an outline of the criteria needed to become an embodied therapist. A case study is given highlighting these aspects.


embodiment; CBT; interpersonal synchrony; therapeutic alliance; emotional regulation; emotional field; emotional mastery


Social Sciences, Psychology

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