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Maria Prieto

Co-Embodied Empathy: An Embodied Inquiry Approach in Transpersonal Somatic Psychology

This workshop lays out an embodied inquiry into the felt dimension of empathy in the relational space of human-to-human transpersonal connection through the lens of integral and transpersonal somatic psychology. Recent research shows that the embodying process of the experience of empathy has received little scholarly consideration regarding the felt dimension, the epistemological integration and the methodological articulation of embodied empathy in the research process. The session will attempt to fill this gap through the guidance of the research question, what is the experience of embodied empathy? The guidance will aim to develop an in-depth co-participatory embodied transdisciplinary inquiry into the gradual unfoldment of the shared event of empathy in the relational space of each two-person group of participants. The qualitative research approach will be embodied narrative inquiry by using one-to-one interviews in couples. This data collection research method will capture the body stories of each participant in real time. By framing the research question as both an individual’s lived-experience study subject and as a method-in-action process, the research will address the gap by analysing and coding empathic findings and identifying patterns of embodied meaning-making or themes in the data. At the end of the workshop, the facilitator will collect both the participants’ impressions and the research themes to open a collective discussion. The aim will be to explore the theoretical and practical implications of the themes in the development of co-embodied empathy as an epistemic category on its own right in the field of transpersonal somatic psychology.


Maria Prieto is currently conducting research at the California Institute of Integral Studies, developing the field of integral and transpersonal somatic psychology. Her work centers on embodied-participatory inquiries into transpersonal ecologies of transformative practice that add new dimensions to the understanding of epistemology as an assemblage of emerging modes of coping with contemporary environmental and social forms of suffering, crisis and injustice.