What is Embodied-Relational Therapy?

Embodied-Relational Therapy (ERT) is a school of body psychotherapy originally developed by Nick Totton and Em Edmondson in the late 1980s. The fundamental assumption of Embodied-Relational Therapy is that we all do the best we possibly can - the best that we know so far. Each individual has come up with the best solution to the environment in which they have found themselves.

At the same time, each person is seeking, consciously or unconsciously, to change their behavioural style to match current conditions. Whatever appears in a person's life as a problem, a symptom, a conflict, can also be understood as an incomplete attempt to change and grow.

As with all body psychotherapy Embodied Relational Therapy maintains a constant awareness of the fact that we are ‘embodied’ – we exist on this earth as a body. The sensations, feelings and experiences of our body as are important as important as the experiences in the top part of our body – our mind.

Nick Totton

ERT uses a four stage model of the treatment:

  • Contact. Having contact means avoiding three dangers: invasion, separation, and merging.
  • Information gathering. What is our attention being drawn to (or away from), what is going on in our own and other bodies.
  • Amplification. Especially through body experience, for example breath work, postures or gestures
  • Integration. integration is the process by which the whole body-mind assimilates it’s experiences and grows or develops as a result.

ERT Training consists of 3 years long courses which must be completed in sequence but not necessary in consecutive years.

Year One Foundation Training:

Training in ERT skills, perspectives and Metaskills. Four five-day residential's. The first year training should equip you to use ERT in your existing practice.

Year Two Advanced training:

Year Two gives you the chance to explore your own embodiment more deeply and systematically, and to become comfortable with hands-on relational bodywork.

Year Three Wild Therapy:

An exploration and celebration of therapy’s wildness, its capacity to transcend the limitations we place on our own creativity and connectedness.


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