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Embodied Cognition and the Direct Induction of Affect as a Compliment to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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posted on 2023-05-31, 03:57 authored by Tania PietrzakTania Pietrzak, Christina Lohr, Beverly Jahn, Gernot Hauke
We make the case for the possible integration of affect experience induced via embodiment techniques with CBT for the treatment of emotional disorders in clinical settings. Theoretically we propose a possible integration of cognitive behavioural theory, neuroscience, embodied cognition and important processes of client change outcomes such as the therapeutic alliance to enhance client outcomes. We draw from evidence of bidirectional effects between embodiment modes of bottom-up (sensory-motor simulations giving rise to important basis of knowledge) and top-down (abstract mental representations of knowledge) processes such as CBT in psychotherapy. The paper first describes the dominance and success of CBT for the treatment of a wide range of clinical disorders. Some limitations of CBT, particularly for depression are also outlined. There is a growing body of evidence for the added value of experiential affect-focused interventions combined with CBT. Evidence for the embodied model of cognition and emotion is reviewed. Advantages of embodiment is highlighted as a complimentary process model to deepen the intensity and valence of affective experience. It is suggested that an integrated embodiment approach with CBT enhances outcomes across a wide range of emotional disorders. A description of our embodiment method integrated with CBT for inducing affective experience, emotional regulation, acceptance of unwanted emotions and emotional mastery is given. Finally, the paper highlights the importance of the therapeutic alliance as a critical component of the change process. The paper ends with a case study highlighting some clinical strategies that may aid the therapist to integrate embodiment techniques in CBT that can further explore in future research on affective experience in CBT for a wider range of clinical disorders.


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Behavioral Sciences





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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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