About Dr. Michael Mayer

About Dr. Michael Mayer

Why the need for Bodymind Healing?

Psycho-Energia: The Lost Soul of Psychology

When I was in my master’s degree program in the early 1970s, as part of my training to become a psychotherapist I learned that psychology began in the laboratory of Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. I got the answer to that question right on my final exam along with the “fact” that “psychology” meant “the study of the mind.”  However, like so many other psychology students, I sensed that my interest in psychology — this deep-seated territory in the depths of humanity — must have much earlier roots. I wondered where and when? In my doctoral psychology program I learned from reading James Hillman’s (1975) Revisioning Psychology that the word “psyche” derived from the Greek, meaning “soul.” And from my doctoral research into the pre-modern roots of psychology I discovered  that the phenomenology of the soul consisted of its being comprised of elements such as fire, earth, air, and water. Psychology, according to this viewpoint, is not just about the study of mind. It is also about other elements of Being, such as: fire (the energy of our Selves), earth, (grounding our Selves through somatic methods), air (yes, of course mental/cognitive methods are important, and so is the breath), and water (feelings are a key, as is developing the ability to modulate appropriately the watery, affective dimension of life). This definition gave me and many other budding psychotherapists room to expand the narrow range of modern psychology and connect the substance of “the Self” with ancient sacred wisdom traditions. My life’s work became to help to create a new “origin myth” for  psychotherapy. I’ve written a few books on this (Mayer, 2007, 2009), and have gratefully spent many decades applying this perspective to psychological healing with my patients and students.

It is now being increasingly recognized that the body has an essential role in the treatment of many psychological issues. For example, to learn more about the role of the body in the treatment of trauma please click this link to the article, The Body Keeps the Score, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.

The Bodymind Healing Center has locations in Contra Costa County and San Francisco while the main office is in Berkeley at 2029 Durant Ave.

Dr Michael Mayer:

Contributions* of Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy to various Fields: 

* I must say that it is uncomfortable for me to list my contributions, since I wouldn’t want the emphasis to be on “my” contributions, but rather on how “the” contributions can help further the healing traditions of our world. What anyone contributes to life stems from the wider whole of which we are a part. They are rooted in the teachings which I have been grateful to receive from many people and sources (listed in my Reluctant Metaphysician...book). It’s not important, and we don”t know, who first invented steel. We know that it is created from combining many elements that come from life itself— iron, carbon, manganese, and other minerals. Likewise bodymind healing psychotherapy and bodymind healing tai chi/qigong contain an integration of the elements of many ancient and modern bodymind healing traditions. What is important is how the amalgam is used…

Michael Mayer, Ph.D. is the Director of the Body-Mind Healing Center. His background in healing includes over 30 years of training, teaching, and practice in ancient sacred wisdom traditions and modern psychological transformative methods.


Dr. Mayer is a licensed psychologist, practicing in the San Francisco Bay area. He was a S.F Bay Area training coordinator for Dr. Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing Method for 10 years, and he co-founded and was a staff psychologist for The Health Medicine Institute , a multidisciplinary team of Western doctors and complimentary health practitioners. He has 20 publications on psychotherapy and mind-body approaches to healing.

Over the past 30 years he has practiced and taught various oriental healing arts including: Tai Chi Chuan, medical Qigong, standing and walking meditation, and acupressure. Dr Mayer pioneered the integration of Qigong and psychotherapy, and was the first person to teach doctoral psychology students how to use these methods. Though Dr. Mayer uses medical Qigong methods with this patients to help heal hypertension, anxiety, chronic pain, trauma, etc, his integral approach most often does not use Qigong movements or even mention Qigong. This is done by using Qigong breathing methods to enhance relaxation, teaching acu-point self touch to patients, using energizing story telling methods (such as his Mythic Journey process), and helping patients to anchor the naturally arising body movements that occur at a moment of felt shift in therapy to create a new life stance.

He has presented his integrative approach to body/mind healing to professionals at some of the following locations:

• Many hospitals including: UC Medical Center, UC Davis, Mt. Diablo Hospital, John Muir Hospital , Alta Bates Hospital

• The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

• Esalen Institute

• Doctoral Psychology Program at The California Institute of Integral Studies, and other universities including San Francisco State University, Bryn Mawr College, John F. Kennedy University.

• Energy Psychology Conferences: Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Clara, California; Chantilly, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Orlando, Florida; and Reston, Virginia

• Many World Qigong Congresses

• Conference Sponsored by The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

* To see a more complete list of Dr. Mayer’s past Workshops and Presentations please click here.

adminmmAbout Dr. Michael Mayer