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The dream body in somatic psychology: The kinaesthetics of gesture

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Gestures have been investigated primarily as pictorial representations intended to communicate information to their perceivers visually. This paper argues that affiliative gestures, the gestures affiliated with words, are neither visual nor communicative. They are kinaesthetic apprehensions directed by gesturers to themselves. Perceivers do glean information from the gestures but this is not their primary intent. Gestural practices in a somatic therapeutic session provide a unique opportunity to examine the way gestures can be used to influence the gesturer. Specifically, gestures invest the gesturer in the narrative realm she conjures up on the therapeutic occasion, in this instance, a dream world. The somaticist then uses embodiments from the virtual space of the dream narrative to effect change on the therapeutic occasion. This practice illuminates the philosophical problem of free will: how we are able to influence our own embodied processes volitionally.

Keywords: and the body; dialogism; emotion; narrative; phenomenology; thought; time; volition

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Berkeley

Publication date: January 1, 2002


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