Bodymind Healing in Psychotherapy Workshop

Whole Day Workshop

In this workshop therapists will learn how to expand their healing repertoires by being introduced to self-healing methods that can aid patients’ physical and mental health. Participants will be introduced to an integration of Qigong and psychotherapy that Dr. Mayer developed after 30 years of training with some of the most respected TaiChi/Qigong masters. Qigong (of which Tai Chi is the best known system) is a many thousand-year-old method of cultivating the energy of life through synchronizing movement, breath and imagery. Dr Mayer shows how to integrate the essences of these practices into psychotherapy without using a Qigong movement, and without mentioning a word about Qigong. By combining Eastern and Western relaxation, breathing, self-touch, and hypnotherapeutic methods and the transcending and transmuting dimensions of the imagery/somatic dialectic, an integral paradigm for bodymind healing is accessible for clinicians and their patients to integrate into brief or depth psychotherapy. Theory, case illustrations, and practices will be combined to show how this bodymind healing approach can help alleviate anxiety, hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia, etc. The content of this course is oriented to mental health professionals, however members of the intelligent lay public will benefit from learning the self-healing tools introduced in this workshop.

Course Outline:


  • General Introduction-.
  • Presenter’s background integrating Qigong, psychotherapy and behavioral medicine and his co-founding and being a psychologist at an integrative medical clinic.
  • Brief case example of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.


  • Psychotherapy and Behavioral Healthcare: Eastern and Western tools
  • Psychotherapy and Qigong – Theoretical framework and case example of anxiety treatment.


  • Introduction to Qigong movements as a complementary treatment for: relaxation, energizing, limbering joints, hypertension, balance and prevention of falls in the elderly (Province, 1995), somatic complaints, chronic diseases, etc. (Johnson, 2000). (Research including peer-reviewed research is summarized in Pelletier, 2000; Mayer, 2004, 2007).

11:30 – 12:00 PM

  • Broadening and deepening the scope of bodymind healing interventions in brief and depth psychotherapy using static Qigong practices- relaxation and breathing methods, self-touch using acu-points to aid self-soothing, the imaginal/somatic dialectic.

12:00- 12:30 PM What psychotherapy and Qigong give each other?



  • Powerpoint presentation regarding the cross-cultural pre-modern roots (Eliade M., 1964; Tomio N., 1994; Mayer M., 2004) and modern (Jung CG., 1936; Shore A. 2003; Wolf E. 1988; Reich 1942) psychological roots of self- healing methods for mind-body health problems.


  • Integrating psychotherapy, behavioral healthcare with Qigong: Applications for other Psychological and Psycho-physiological disorders Case examples: Chronic pain (Hilgard 1983, Mayer 1996. Wu 1999), hypertension (Johnson 2000, Pellitier 2000, Mayer 1999, 2003, peer reviewed), insomnia; trauma (van der Kolk 1995), {Practices from Dr. Mayer’s Bodymind Healing Qigong DVD are used in trauma trainings by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Medical Director, the Trauma Center, Boston University School of Medicine.}


  • Psychotherapy as Changing your Life Stance
  • Transmuting internalizations (Stolorow, 1987) with body-based psychotherapy.
  • Case Examples: Social phobia, sexual trauma.
  • Knowledge of Qigong/ Tai Chi stances enhances awareness of somatic changes at moments of “felt shift” (Gendlin,1978) in psychotherapy, and enhances anchoring (Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1979) of these new life stances.


  • Research and Ethics . Research and Ethics (Andrade & Feinstein 2003; Nerem, R. 1980; Becker, 1985; Kuang 1991;Wu 1999, Mayer M. 2004; Pellitier 2004): APA Ethics Code; Zur O., 2005).

4:45-5:00PM- Questions remaining.

Relevance of this workshop to psychotherapists:

Since somatic approaches to psychotherapy are now an established part of leading-edge psychotherapy (van der Kolk, 1994,1996;), this course will expand participant knowledge regarding how cross-cultural body oriented healing methods including Qigong can add to modern psychotherapy.

Short Bio: Michael Mayer, Ph.D. licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, Qigong/Tai Chi teacher, specializes in self-healing methods for health problems, and presents his approach to bodymind healing at professional conferences, national/international workshops, universities, and hospitals. He was co-founder of, and a practitioner at, a multi-disciplinary medical clinic practicing integrative medicine. Dr. Mayer pioneered the integration of Qigong and psychotherapy, and was the first person in the United States to train doctoral psychology students in these methods. He is an award-winning author of twenty publications on bodymind healing including peer-reviewed articles, and his book Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health.

Longer Bio: Michael Mayer, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and Qigong/Tai Chi teacher who specializes in giving his patients self-healing methods for health problems. Dr. Mayer presents his approach to bodymind healing at professional conferences, national/international workshops, universities, and hospitals. He was a co-founder of, and a practitioner at, The Health Medicine Institute, a multi-disciplinary medical clinic practicing integrative health-care. He served as a Focusing Training coordinator for Dr Eugene Gendlin for ten years. Dr. Mayer pioneered the integration of Qigong and psychotherapy, and was the first person in the United States to train doctoral psychology students in these methods at an accredited university. The World Institute for Self-Healing gave him an award for outstanding research and contribution to the advancement of mind-body medicine. He is the author of twenty publications on bodymind healing including four books, audiotapes on cancer and chronic disease, and articles on chronic pain and anxiety. His peer reviewed article on Qigong and hypertension appeared in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, and is updated in the book Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine, by Dr Wayne Jonas, past director of the National Institute of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine. Dr. Mayer has served as a peer reviewer for The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. His Bodymind Healing Qigong DVD is currently being used in training of trauma therapists by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Medical Director, The Trauma Center, Boston University School of Medicine. His last book Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health(2007) received endorsements from top leaders in mind-body healthcare. His latest book is, Energy Psychology: Self Healing Practices for Bodymind Health,(North Atlantic/Random House, 2009).

What are leaders in the field saying about the book Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy?

For a complete list of reviews/endorsements(including from PyscCritiques) please click here:

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.

-Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Medical Director, the Trauma Center,
Boston University School of Medicine,
former professor of psychiatry, Harvard University”

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.

– 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?


Post-Test Questions
Goals and Objectives ( with focused behavioral objectives) :

1. Participants will be able to identify five of the cross cultural pre-modern traditions that form part of the historical root system from which bodymind healing traditions in psychotherapy may draw: A) Shamanism B) Chinese Medicine including Qigong and Acupuncture/Acupressure ( Hammer L., 1990; Johnson J., 2004; Gach M., 2004) C.) Buddhist ( Tomio N., 1994; ) D.) Greek (Kingsley P., 1999); Mayer M., 2004) ) E). Symbolic process traditions. (Jung C. 1936; Hillman J., 1976; Mayer, M. 2004)). Identify modern sources from which bodymind psychotherapists may draw (e.g.., Jung CG., 1936; Shore A. 2003; Wolf E. 1988; Reich W., 1942).

2. Participants will be able to name five treatment methods that help form part of an integrative approach to applying bodymind healing methods into psychotherapy A) Cognitive Restructuring using SUDS levels B) Gendlin’s “Focusing” ( 1978). C) Clinical Hypnosis (e.g., Rossi E. 1986, 1988) D.) Symbolic process traditions (Jung C. 1936; Hillman J., 1976; Mayer, M. 2004)). E.) “Qigong,” in the inclusive sense of the word including methods using breath, static and moving postures to create hypnotherapeutic trance states (Hilgard 1985, Rossi, 1986,1988, Mayer 2004) and activate bio-fields (ISSEEM Journal), practices from Qigong (e.g. Mayer 2004, 2007), and acupressure self-touch (Gach, 1990).

3. Participants will be able to apply one type of breathing from Qigong that helps with anxiety disorders: A) Microcosmic Orbit Breathing, (Wilhelm, R., 1962; Mayer M., 1997 presented at NCCBM CEU’s for psychologists 1997.) And participants will be able to apply one movement from Qigong for hypertension: (Johnson J., 2004; Pellitier K., 2000; Kuang A. 1991)

4. Participants will be able to name three ethical issues related to incorporating Qigong into Psychotherapy?
A) Transmuting versus transcending B) Informed consent regarding its experimental nature C) Caution regarding patient not getting appropriate traditional medical treatment)

* Note: This workshop has received continuing education units (MCEP) for psychologists from The Psychotherapy Institute of Berkeley, The Contra Costa Psychological Association, Esalen Institute, etc

Suggested Reading/Viewing:

Mayer, M. H. (2007). Bodymind healing psychotherapy: Ancient pathways to modern health Mayer, M. H. (2000). Bodymind healing Qigong (DVD). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Center. Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.

Presenter’s Selected Publications:

Mayer, M. (1993). Trials of the heart: Healing the wounds of intimacy. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.
Mayer, M. (1996). Qigong and behavioral medicine: An integrated approach to chronic pain. Qi: The Journal of Eastern Health and Fitness, 6(4), 20-31.
Mayer, M. (1997a). Psychotherapy and Qigong: Partners in healing anxiety. Berkeley, CA: The Berkeley Psychotherapy & Healing Center.
Mayer, M.(1997b). Combining behavioral healthcare and Qigong with one chronic hypertensive adult. Mt. Diablo Hospital-Health Medicine Forum. Unpublished study. (Video available from Health Medicine Forum, Walnut Creek, CA)
Mayer, M.(1999). Qigong and hypertension: A critique of research. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 5(4), 371-382. (Peer-reviewed)
Mayer, M. (2000). Bodymind healing Qigong (DVD). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Center.
Mayer, M. (2001a). Find your hidden reservoir of healing energy: A guided meditation on cancer (Audio cassette). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
Mayer, M.(2001b). Find your hidden reservoir of healing energy: A guided meditation on chronic disease (Audio cassette). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
Mayer, M. (2003). Qigong clinical studies. In W. B. Jonas (Ed.), Healing, intention, and energy medicine (pp. 121-137). England: Churchill Livingston. (Peer-reviewed)
Mayer, M.(2004a). Qigong: Ancient path to modern health (DVD of keynote address to National Qigong Association). Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
Mayer, M. (2004b). Secrets to living younger longer: The self-healing path of Qigong, standing meditation and Tai Chi. Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing Publications.
Mayer, M. (2007). Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health, Bodymind Healing Publications.
Mayer, M. (2008). Mind-Body treatment for anxiety and panic disorders. California State Journal of Oriental Medicine, Summer.
Mayer, M. (2009).Energy Psychology: Self-Healing Practices for Bodymind Health, North Atlantic/Random House

Mayer, M. (2009b,Winter) Bodymind Healing in Psychotherapy: Towards an integral, comprehensive energy psychology, The Energy Field: The International; Energy Psychology

References to Other Authors:

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Benson, H. (1983b, July). The relaxation response: Its subjective and objective historical precedents and physiology. Trends in Neuroscience, 281-284.
Chen, G. S. (1990). The effect of acupuncture treatment on carpal tunnel syndrome.
American Journal of Acupuncture, 18, 5-9.
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 Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. 45(2), 199-213.
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