Embodied Presence and Reflexivity as a Therapist | Just Being Center

Research Paper

Embodied Presence and Reflexivity as a Therapist

By Avantika Malhautra

March 2020

Presence Oriented Psychotherapy: Integrating Mindfulness, Compassion & Wisdom – A Non Dual Approach (2017-19) @ Just Being


This qualitative report captured as a heuristic inquiry was a process of articulating and investigating presence in therapy through a subjective lens. The model by Geller, 2001; Geller & Greenberg, 2002 of therapeutic presence consists of threeoverarching categories, reflecting the preparation, the process, and theexperience involved in being fully in the moment with a client in a therapy session.This research analyses the preparation towards a presence-orientation throughlifestyle changes and mindfulness practices, the process and tools that enabledpresence and present-centered experiences in therapy supported by the PresenceOriented Psychotherapy approach, expressive arts processes and mindfulnesspractices. And the experience of presence that emerged for the therapist and clientin psychotherapy. It throws light on the experience as a therapist and the changesthat occurred as understanding and practice of the presence process deepened withtraining, supervision and personal therapy. The Presence Oriented Psychotherapyapproach looks at three vital points - the therapist’s presence, relational presenceand the client coming into presence. Within this model there is 1) the experiencingself - thoughts, feelings and sensations of the client and therapist and 2) the with-nessing Self or Self as presence of the therapist and client and 3) the relationalspace as the shared context of the therapeutic relationship and the holding spacethat creates spaciousness to include the whole experience. Client case studies arepresented in the form of 3 phases of therapy, highlighting the overarching patternsthat were shifting as therapy proceeded including feedback from clients about theirperception of the therapist’s presence in therapy.

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