Embodied Culture: A Somatic Approach to Diversity Awareness in EMDR


Barb Maiberger and Arielle Schwartz are presenting at the 2014 EMDRIA Conference in Denver CO on Sept. 19, 2014.

The presentation will be on “Embodied Culture:  A Somatic Approach to Diversity Awareness in EMDR”. This presentation applies somatic psychotherapy principles to the practice of EMDR when working with culturally different clients. Fifteen researched multicultural competencies will be introduced deepening into nonverbal communications as a form of Embodied Culture. The integration of these principles will be applied to the 8 Phases of EMDR.

Embodied Culture is the inextricable interactions of physiological, emotional, mental, cultural, social, and behavioral factors. Embodied culture is acquired over time and consists of socialized properties of the self that are both consciously acquired and passively “inherited.”

The presenters examine counselor-client communications and specifically the domains of nonverbal communications as related to diversity. Research suggests that 60 – 70% of communication is nonverbal.  It is, therefore, essential that counselors increase their awareness of nonverbal communication in the therapy room as a means to increase multicultural competency in EMDR therapy. This would include exploring cultural influences on habitual somatic patterns such as posture, thoughts, feelings, use of space, gestures, voice tone and use of eye contact. These habits are the basis of perception and become maladaptive when ethnocentric or rigidly exclusive.

Participants will explore a self-reflective exercise to increase embodied cultural awareness. The practice includes tracking nonverbal communications, beliefs, and emotions in relationship to working with a client who is culturally different.

Visit EMDRIA Conference Website for more details on registration and eligibility.


Dr. Arielle Schwartz is a licensed clinical psychologist who is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and teaches Advanced EMDR workshops in Somatic work. Dr. Schwartz was part of a research team and resulting publication applying multicultural competencies to psychotherapy practice. Results were presented at the Multicultural Roundtable at Columbia University and at the APA annual meeting in 2004.

Barb Maiberger, MA, LPC is the author of “EMDR Essentials: A Guide for Clients and Therapists”. She is an EMDRIA Approved Provider of the EMDR Basic Training and EMDRIA Approved Consultant and teaches Advanced workshops in Somatic work.

Barb and Arielle also teach the EMDR advanced training, “Somatic Interventions and EMDR” at the Maiberger Institute. Click on “Advanced EMDR Workshops” on our website for a list of all of our EMDR advanced trainings.

Image Source: “Diversity Quilt” by oregondot