In working with young people, a variety of psychophysical (or body-based) practices are increasingly used in both preventive and therapeutic settings. Such interventions accentuate physical and emotional experiences and introspection, followed by reflection, from which an ‘embodied’ insight arouses. Also in China and Taiwan, this approach is gradually gaining popularity. One example is Rock and Water, a psychophysical program to increase self-awareness, self-confidence and improve social functioning (Ykema 2002). The program is developed in the Netherlands, but many of its specific physical exercises such as ‘Chinese boxing’ are rooted in taijiquan, qigong and wushu techniques. Another example is mindfulness, also rooted in Asian (Buddhist) meditation practices. This project will examine the increasing popularity of such practices in China and Taiwan, where not only body-based practices know a long history, but where young people are also reported to be the longer the more subject to emotional and relational problems.
This research is mainly conducted at the Department of Special Needs Education of Ghent University, with generous financial support by the Belgian Huoshen Foundation.