Body-Focused Interviewing: Corporeal Experience in Phenomenological Inquiry


The following is an original interview method that was designed for my PhD dissertation in clinical psychology. This study inquired into psychotherapists' embodied experiences of clinical intuition while working with patients. In the course of the study, I found that an unconventional form of interviewing was needed in order to capture the subtle nuances of nonverbal communication that often accompanied participants' descriptions of a complex phenomenon. Previous studies of embodied experiences often relied on metaphor to describe the gestalt of embodied experience. By evoking embodied awareness from my participants and illuminating the nonverbal movements that accompanied their words, my interview method provided data that were more closely aligned with experience than metaphor. I also discovered additional, vital information about the ways in which gestures both augment narrative and reveal unconscious information about a phenomenon, especially when the gestures appear to be discordant with the participant's words. This style of interview may assist in phenomenological explorations across disciplines and can be useful for inquiries of complex phenomena such as trauma, sexuality, oppression, and to understand more deeply the experiences of specific populations such as disabled individuals, at-risk youth, or elder populations.

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