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Bodywork in Counselling

Bodywork is part of Specialist Wellness Counselling and in today’s post, we’ll consider the use of bodywork.


Specialist Wellness Counselling

Specialist Wellness Counselling is a professional designation of the professional body named the Association of Supportive Counsellors and Holistic Practitioners (ASCHP) as registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) on Level 8+, referring to a specialist in para-professional, non-psychological counselling with a postgraduate qualification.


Christo A. Scheepers is registered as a Specialist Wellness Counsellor with the ASCHP, specialising in trauma counselling from a Christian-Holistic perspective.


Bodywork as part of Specialist Wellness Counselling

Specialist Wellness Counsellors work from a systems approach and therefore uses talk therapies, as well as body therapies.  Bodywork thus forms part of Specialist Wellness Counselling.


Bodywork involves the use of physical touch within a specialist wellness counselling session in order to enhance overall wellbeing.  The type of bodywork used by the specialist wellness counsellor may vary as it is dependent on the specific training and skills of the specialist wellness counsellor, but may involve breathing techniques, stretching techniques, healing touch, non-regulated applied massage techniques, and other physical touch techniques.


The use of Bodywork

Bodywork may be used in conjunction with counselling, but always within the boundaries of the client.


Christo A. Scheepers prefers the use of footwork in the form of Therapeutic Reflexology for sexual trauma counselling as it is non-invasive, does not require the client to remove any clothes, and involves non-invasive touch on the feet only.  As a Registered Therapeutic Reflexologist, he practices this profession separately from specialist wellness counselling and to comply with all legal requirements, it is done in separate entrance offices, sometimes in successive sessions.


If the client experienced other forms of trauma (excluding sexual related trauma), other forms of bodywork may be used based on the broad skill set and experience of Christo A. Scheepers, but footwork is always his first choice of bodywork.


Bodywork should not only be within the boundaries of the client but should serve a specific purpose in the treatment.  Usually, bodywork is used to enhance the effectiveness of talk therapies or it may be used to release stored up emotions from the physical body.


Yes, that happens.  Just think about the times when you experience high stress; you usually end up with very sore and stiff shoulder and neck muscles.  That is just one way the body physically stores emotions.


I have worked with many clients that experienced trauma in their past but did not want to talk about it.  By making use of bodywork, the stored-up emotions were released, leading a feeling of relief and release.  In some instances, that was the only therapy needed for the person to effectively move on with life, but in other instances, the bodywork opened up the ability for the client to talk about the emotions and trauma they were suppressing for all the time.


Bodywork as Stand-Alone Therapy

Bodywork may also be used as a stand-alone therapy, meaning that there is not necessarily counselling needed with every bodywork session.  Bodywork is often used as stand-alone therapy to reduce stress levels and as part of a client’s stress management.


When dealing with certain traumas, it is sometimes helpful to use bodywork in certain sessions while counselling is used in other sessions; sometimes a combination of counselling and bodywork may be needed.


The unique circumstances of each client will determine the way forward, the use of bodywork and the type of bodywork to use.


Bodywork in dealing with Trauma

Trauma affects the body constantly as the increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol may place the body in a heightened sympathetic state of “fight or flight” which increases stress levels and if not dealt with timeously, may, in the long run, cause other health problems.


Bodywork is an effective way to counteract this heightened state to help the body to relax and return to a relaxed parasympathetic state of “rest and digestion”.



The Specialist Wellness Counsellor is trained to use various techniques, both talk therapy and bodywork therapy, to holistically help a client deal with trauma that was experienced recently or previously.


If you are interested to experience bodywork or to deal with specific trauma that was experienced, give Christo A. Scheepers a call and make an appointment at Innerfeet Counselling.

Christo A. Scheepers: Specialist Wellness Counsellor | Freelance Academic

Dip.ICBC (USA), Dip.Psych.(INTEC), Dip.R.(Cum Laude)(AC), Dip.T.R.(Cum Laude)(IARAMT), B.Min.(Cum Laude)(THEOLOGOS), B.Th.(SATS), M.Min.(Cum Laude)(CLT), M.B.A.(MANCOSA), Ph.D.(COU), D.R.T.P.(USB), Ph.D. Candidate (DA VINCI), D.Nat.Med.(SACNM)

ASCHP: SWC19/413 | APS: 19372 | ETDP SETA: SOR189239 | SAIMS: SCHC02

Tel. 072-800 7243