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WHEN THE BODY SPEAKS: TUMMY RUMBLINGS IN THE THERAPEUTIC ENCOUNTER

Authors


  • ANGELA KING is a Senior Accredited Member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is an Embodied Relational Psychotherapist working mainly in private practice. She also works in an NHS brief therapy setting as well as supervising in both individual and group settings.

Heath House, 156a Sandridge Road, St Albans, AL1 4AP. [angela@insightful.me.uk]

abstract

Historically there has been a struggle to understand the role of the body in a psychotherapeutic context and, although the status of bodily communications is an area of increasing interest and study, it remains one of the least understood aspects of therapy practice. Yet even when therapist and client ignore the body in their interaction, they are still confronted with the body as a metaphor for the whole self; as Freud stated: ‘The ego is first and foremost a bodily ego’ (Freud, 1923, p. 26) so therapy with no body is impossible. Drawing on ideas from practice, theory and research this paper focuses specifically on borborygmi (tummy rumbling), a bodily phenomenon often considered inconsequential and intrusive in the therapeutic encounter. Data from a grounded theory study is presented offering a framework which reflects the processes involved in acknowledging and bringing embodied experiences into an open therapeutic dialogue. A clinical example is then given.

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