Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Benjamin Harris

Committee Members

Diana Punales

Steven Tuber

Melissa Ilardi

Rebecca Campon

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Dance Movement Therapy | Mental Disorders | Other Psychiatry and Psychology


psychodynamic psychotherapy; body-based psychotherapy; nonverbal attunement; embodiment; dance-movement therapy


The distinction between verbal and nonverbal psychotherapies is clearly visible in theory and clinical practice. Moreover, this duality of approaches promotes a split between the body and the mind, defining them as separate from each other. This dissertation helps bridge the divide between the literature in body-based therapies and verbally-based psychotherapy by (i) exploring the conceptual frame used to understand the body in psychodynamic therapy (ii) identifying the areas of overlap between psychodynamic theory and theories that underlie body-based psychotherapies, and (iii) proposing ways in which psychodynamic and body-based theories can inform one another. A clinical case was used to share possible ways in which nonverbal attunement, somatic countertransference, mirroring and embodied use of language could contribute to bridging the gap between the worded and wordless. In the case and the analysis, it becomes apparent those therapeutic interventions that are coming from the field of body-based therapies, could be used in verbal approaches to contribute to a fuller understanding of the therapeutic process.