Portland Therapy Blog

Portland Therapy Blog

Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.

Somatic Psychotherapy: The Complementary Nature of Qigong and Counseling

Posted: November 01, 2014 by Peter Gold

Supplementing the work you do in counseling offers many benefits that talk therapy alone cannot. This article is about those benefits and the complementary nature of counseling and qigong.

A comparison study by the National Institute of Health (Jahnke, R., Larkey, L., Rogers, C., Etnier, J. & Fang Lin, 2010) found that anxiety and depression improved significantly as a result of practicing qigong. In my experience—both personally and professionally—practicing qigong in collaboration with counseling enhances and amplifies positive results. In a shorter period of time, life becomes more meaningful and enjoyable while unnecessary suffering diminishes.

While complementing talk therapy and psychopharmacological treatment, qigong improves many of the symptoms associated with anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. It also clarifies various types of conflict and promotes authenticity and relational sensitivity. Qigong gives you an easily accessible and always available tool for self-soothing and self-efficacy. You become better able to take care of yourself in healthy ways. People suffering from a wide range of adverse symptoms can use qigong as an effective, low-cost tool that supports psychological health and healing.

The highly eminent qigong master, China scholar, and health expert Kenneth Cohen writes, “I firmly believe that qigong and psychotherapy are congruent and comparable healing modalities. Sometimes either technique is enough to solve a problem; often both are required”.

When qigong and counseling are used in tandem, challenges are addressed more completely and change occurs more readily. Psychologist, qigong teacher and author Michael Mayer writes that, “A fundamental part of the suffering of civilized men and women comes from being out of touch with nature, our nature…[when we use qigong] we “re-member” our connection with the elements of our wider nature”. Qigong connects mind to body and body to nature.

Echoing Mayer’s sentiments, author, therapist and qigong teacher Patrick Dougherty writes that, “Integrating qigong into therapy offers immediate, effective tools to not only help people mitigate the effects of their stress-filled world, but to help them maintain the changes they have [already] made in therapy.”

My experience squares with Dougherty’s writing: when qigong and therapy are used concurrently changes occur more easily and last much longer. Please contact me today for a free consultation on how qigong can complement your psychotherapeutic work.


Cohen, K. (1997). The way of qigong: The art and science of Chinese energy healing. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Dougherty, P. (2007). Qigong in psychotherapy: You can do so much by doing so little. Minneapolis, M: Spring Forest.

Jahnke, R., Larkey, L., Rogers, C., Etnier, J. & Lin, F. (2010) A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. American Journal of Health Promotion: July/August 2010, Vol. 24, No. 6, pp. e1-e25.

Mayer, M. (2007). Bodymind healing psychotherapy: Ancient pathways to modern health. Orinda, CA: Bodymind Healing.

Tags: mood and feelings, anxiety, news, treatment orientation

Peter Gold

Professional Counselor

Simply put, people come to me for one of two reasons: (1) less pain & suffering (2) more pleasure & satisfaction. Causes range widely but symptoms are usually similar: anxiety, depression, anger, worry, fear and/or grief and loss. I use Jungian and Archetypal psychology, psychodynamic, & gestalt.

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