Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy – Ancient Pathways to Modern Health


What is Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy? In order to help a patient face the challenges of everyday life, a therapist must be able to weave together psychological theories and healing methods that fit the unique person and moment. Practicing the art of psychotherapy also requires transcending methodologies in order to meet a person in that place of raw humanness where contact is made with the deep source of one’s being. In this spirit, Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy draws from traditional forms of psychotherapy, Dr. Eugene Gendlin’s “focusing” method, Jungian /archetypal symbolic process approaches to healing, hypnosis, psycho- neuroimmunolgical research, energy psychology, acupressure self touch, Qigong, transpersonal psychology, and ancient traditions of postural initiation.


Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy (Mayer, 2007) is “an integral/transpersonal psychotherapy” (Cortright, 1997; Friedman & Hartelius, 2013; Walsh & Shapiro, 2006; Wilber, 2000;) which synthesizes Western, Eastern, and indigenous approaches to healing. In the just released book (September, 2020), Holistic Treatment in Mental Health: A Handbook of Practitioner’s Perspectives (ED: Fracasso, C., & Friedman, H., & Krippner, S.), Dr. Michael Mayer’s chapter shows how the ten dimensions of BMHP integrate traditional forms of therapy with energy psychology methods, symbolic process approaches to healing, and Qigong. As part of this integral psychotherapeutic approach, psychotherapists are introduced to how to integrate Qigong into psychotherapy without ever mentioning a word about Qigong or needing to do a Qigong movement by using: state-specific breathing methods, self-touch of acu-points, and bringing patient awareness to body postures at the moment of “felt shift (Gendlin, 1978)” in psychotherapy. Case examples show how the healing purposes of these naturally arising postures are enhanced by a knowledge of Qigong/Tai Chi postures and how this understanding can help to anchor these new life stances (even if you’re not a Tai Chi Practitioner). In his chapter, theory, methods, experiential exercises, and case examples illustrate how BMHP can be applied to various psychological conditions such as anxiety, hypertension, and trauma.

You’ve heard psychotherapists called “shrinks.” Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy takes the “shrink-rap” off to unveil an expansive view of psychotherapy and mind-body healthcare that includes ancient sacred wisdom traditions and energetic approaches to healing. This “era of energy,” begun by Einstein, is marked by an outer energy crisis and a search for sustainable solutions. At the same time, an equally insidious “inner energy crisis” is taking place where stressed-out, battle-fatigued soldiers of the information age reach for pills or extra cups of coffee on a quest to restore depleted internal reserves. In this book you’ll discover natural ways to harness the energy of life for bodymind healing, and how to sustain energy, replenish vitality, and cultivate inner peace.

Drawing from 30 years of training in Tai Chi and Qigong with some of the most respected masters of these traditions, Dr. Mayer shows how to integrate the essence of these practices into psychotherapy and into our healthcare without ever doing a Tai Chi/Qigong movement, and without mentioning a word about Qigong. From this co-founder of an integrated medical clinic and award-winning author in the field of mind-body healthcare, you’ll see how this integrative approach contributes to alleviate the current healthcare crisis. Ancient and modern, East and West, psychotherapy and mind-body medicine are amalgamated to make a stronger integrative medicine.

Theory, research, and case illustrations are blended as you are introduced to integrative treatment protocols and you learn bodymind healing methods (that join East and West) for anxiety, chronic pain, hypertension, insomnia, trauma, and other common issues plaguing the modern world.

You’ll learn how to use a variety of ancient pathways to help heal the mind and body such as:

  • Chinese medicine approaches including Qigong and acupressure self-touch
  • Innovative symbolic process methods stemming from age-old mythic storytelling, guided imagery, and breathing techniques
  • Methods drawn from ancient traditions of meditation and postural initiation

This book is oriented to mental health workers, health professionals, and members of the lay public who are interested in self-healing methods for physical and mental health. Take the online on-demand Workshop, Bodymind Healing in Psychotherapy, now with or without 3 approved CEUs.

Video (12 Minutes) of Dr Mayer summarizing Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy.

Core Practices of Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy-Patient Handout

Shrink Rap Radio, Episode 61, June 15, 2007, Dr. Mayer’s audio interview by Dr David Van Nuys on Dr Mayer’s book, Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy.

Click for the Table of Contents (PDF)

13 reviews for Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy – Ancient Pathways to Modern Health

  1. Reviewer David Lukoff, Ph.D.

    The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol 44, No. 1, 2012, Review of Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy and Energy Psychology –
    ” …BMHP provides embodied insight that talk therapy alone cannot…He situates the presentation within a paradigmatic shift that is transforming healthcare, but which he considers to still be in a pre-paradigmatic phase. I expect that when the history of this shift is written, Mayer will figure prominently.” And, “I field tested parts of BMHP in my year-long psychotherapy class at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology…His books serve as resources that I reference when teaching and supervising students on how to integrate mind-body practices into their clinical work.”

  2. Michael Gilewski

    PsychCritiques, (January, 2008). A Cartesian-Taoist Scientific Revolution: Old Replacing New Medicine A review of Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient pathways to Modern Health –
    “The journal PsycCritiques., produced by PsychInfo, a division of the American Psychological Association, is “the most comprehensive and authoritative publisher of bibliographic reference sources that cover scholarly and peer-reviewed publications in psychology and related disciplines. ” “Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health offers valuable and practical demonstrations of the principles behind psychological contributions to healing and medicine… A refreshing alternative to necessary treatment manuals, psychological handbooks, and journal articles. Rather than only expanding one’s knowledge or skill, one embarks on a journey with this book to expand one’s larger sense of self, one’s experience, one’s appreciation for the world and people, and one’s knowledge and skill as well… There are numerous persons with illnesses who can benefit from such approaches. The key for a scientific revolution to be successful is that the new must explain the old. In this instance, it is the “old” methods of healing that come to explain the ‘modern medicine.’ ”

  3. Review of Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health

    Keeping in Touch, Journal of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, Fall 2007. –
    “Drawing on his 30 years of experience with Tai Chi/Qigong and with psychotherapy, the author provides an in-depth integration of both theory and techniques, illustrated with numerous case vignettes. An intriguing example of such integration is a section entitled ‘Enhance Your Stance: Melanie Klein’s ‘Depressive Position’ and Qigong.’ “

  4. Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF and University of Arizona School of Medicine Author of The Best Alternative Medicine: What Works? What Does Not?

    Drawing upon over 30 years of his psychotherapy practice and personal training, Dr. Mayer has provided a seminal contribution to the field of mind-body interventions for a wide range of common disorders. His book is profound in its scope, evidence based, bridges Eastern and Western traditions, and provides practical insights and skills that can be of enormous value to both individuals and organizations seeking to attain optimal health.

  5. Larry Dossey, MD Author of Reinventing Medicine

    “A realization is dawning for millions of Americans: If we are to be our healthiest, we must rely on our own inner resources. BODYMIND HEALING PSYCHOTHERAPY will help anyone discover and manifest his or her healing potential. This book is a dazzling accomplishment…a thrilling blueprint for the integration of body, mind, and spirit.”

  6. Bessel van der Kolk, MD Medical Director, The Trauma Center, Boston University School of Medicine Past Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard University Currently Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine Past President

    “This scholarly and eminently readable book integrates eastern and western forms of self-healing techniques and examines the capacity of various approaches that put human beings at the center of their own self-care. I applaud Dr Michael Mayer for his monumental work, which hopefully foreshadows the shape of body-mind approaches for years to come.”

  7. Stanley Krippner, PhD Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School

    “BODYMIND HEALING PSYCHOTHERAPY is a unique addition to the literature on psychological therapy and healing. The procedures described in Michael Mayer’s splendid book are truly integrative. Not only to they embrace mind and body, East and West, and “physical” and “mental” sicknesses, they coordinate external therapy with internal healing. The result is a process that goes deeply into the human psyche, one that seeks for lasting change rather than a superficial removal of symptoms. The latter approach may be a “quick fix,” but a temporary one, something that will not satisfy Dr. Mayer or the readers who work their way through his book.”

  8. John Beebe, M.D. Jungian analyst, author of Integrity in Depth. Past President of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

    “The most characteristic and self-renewing quality of any organism is its energy, and any true healing of the human organism requires both patient and practitioner to attend to the implications of that fact. Michael Mayer’s conviction that energy is what joins body to mind informs his determination as a psychotherapist to redeem that junction, and he offers tools that really work to enhance and enliven it. There is wise caring in this search for contemporary ways to achieve the sublime goal of both Eastern and Western traditions of therapeutic practice: a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

  9. Jane Goldberg, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst, Author of The Dark Side of Love

    “The most comprehensive study of the therapy scene and more that exists. Dr Mayer has done a brilliant job integrating all aspects of all schools of thought as well as techniques of mind/body healing.”

  10. David Feinstein, Ph.D. Author of The Mythic Path and Energy Psychology Interactive

    “The past decade has seen a creative explosion in the integration of ancient healing practices with modern psychotherapy. Michael Mayer provides an ambitious and welcome map for psychotherapists and other healers wishing to embark upon the life-changing journey of adapting these traditions into their own practices.”

  11. Larry Stoler, MSSA, Ph.D. President, The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology

    “Around 1970, we in the West began our encounter with Eastern thought and traditions. The profound significance of this expansion of our worldview is now becoming evident thanks in part to people like Dr. Mayer, a psychologist who has deeply and critically explored the Eastern path to mastery and healing. Now, drawing on his 30 years of Tai Chi and Qigong practice, his explorations of ancient healing in China and Greece, his familiarity with Jung and Gendlin, and his grasp of new integrative therapies like energy psychology, Dr. Mayer provides us with a contemporary and practical integration of these paths. Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy should be read and studied by everyone who is interested in activating our untapped human potential for healing.”

  12. Rick Cannon, Esalen Institute, Coordinator, Movement Arts Program

    “Michael Mayer’s practical synthesis and deep knowledge of Qigong and Tai Chi movement forms has greatly impressed me during my years administering the Esalen Institute Movement Arts Program. Michael traces the roots of these practices back to their origins and presents a very usable as well as spiritual approach to these ancient and very valuable systems. He stands out among the many teachers I’ve met and practiced with and has provided me with insights available from no other teacher.”

  13. Fong Ha, Internationally-Renowned Master of Tai Chi Chuan and Yi Chuan Qigong

    “In the nineteen seventies Dr. Michael Mayer began his study of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong with me in Berkeley, California. With continuous diligence, devotion and skill he grows and ages with me as faithful student and friend. It delights my eyes and warms my heart to witness the masterful way Dr. Mayer integrates the ancient wisdom of East with the psychotherapy of the West.”

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