Working (it) Out: An Heuristic Enquiry Into Psychotherapy and Physical Exercise

Daniel Harrison, MPsychotherapy


Psychotherapy is predominantly a sedentary practice that, with rare exceptions, does not involve much physical activity on the part of either the client or the therapist. In response to this situation, the article examines three concerns: the impact of sedentarism on psychotherapists; the disconnection between the evidence of the benefit of physical exercise on psychological wellbeing and the predominant focus in psychotherapy on the sedentary mind; and the implications of the disconnection between psychotherapists’ own minds and bodies. of the method employed was an heuristic enquiry conducted by the first author (reflected in the “I” and the “my” voice in the article), under the supervision of the second author. Drawing on and interweaving relevant literature throughout, the enquiry explores the first author’s own relationship with exercise and, specifically, boxing, as both a practice (i.e., physical exercise) and as a metaphor for the heuristic research process (a psychological and intellectual exercise). (Adv Mind Body Med. 2020;34(2):14-23).


Daniel Harrison, MPsychotherapy, is a psychotherapist at Greenhill Clinic located in Pakuranga, Auckland, New Zealand Keith Tudor, PhD, is a Professor at Auckland University of Technology located in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand.




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