Somatic Psychotherapy

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Somatic Psychotherapy

Somatic psychotherapy is an approach to psychotherapy that involves understanding how emotional and psychological experiences are manifested and expressed in the body. Somatic psychotherapy supports listening to the body in order to achieve greater insight into one’s experience. This practice recognizes the intricate connection between psychological and physiological aspects of an individual's experience and seeks to address and integrate an understanding of both in order to promote greater healing and personal growth.

The somatic psychotherapy process engages clients in learning nervous system regulation so that they are more comfortable and adept in connecting to their emotional world and in confronting and moving through big or challenging life experiences. By bringing the body into the therapeutic process, somatic psychotherapy aims to address the physical manifestations of stress, trauma, and other psychological challenges that may have become habitual in a client’s experience. Clients are encouraged to pay attention to their body's "language," noting sensations, movements, and posture as a way of gaining insight into their emotional and psychological states.

How does integrating somatic therapy (based in Somatic Experiencing) with psychotherapy support an individual in therapy?

Bringing an understanding of the body and nervous system to psychotherapy through somatic principles allows for the therapist and client to closely tailor a therapy session to the client’s needs. When we are more aware of our nervous system and body’s capacity, we are less likely to push past our body’s signals or overwhelm our system while processing our experiences in therapy.

An awareness of the body/soma helps us to gather more information on how an event, a memory, or a thought pattern affects us physically and emotionally. We can build an understanding of the protective mechanisms we have developed in order to keep our psyches and bodies safe during challenging moments and events.

Our threat responses are highly protective and adaptive. They are the responses that kept us sane through experiences that were too overwhelming or intense in the past, experiences our nervous systems did not have “capacity” for. We can find ourselves in habitual fight, flight, or freeze because these threat responses were “thwarted:” we were not able to fight something off (fight response), leave a situation (flight response), or safely move out of a dissociated state (freeze). These patterns not only show up physically but in our thought patterns and belief systems as well.

In the somatic perspective, the presence of another nervous system (our therapist), who has capacity for the client’s experience widens the therapeutic container so that collectively, the therapeutic dynamic can hold the experiences, emotions, and trauma surfacing in the individual. Using somatic principles, we learn to “complete” old threat responses that were thwarted. As we complete threat responses, we increase our nervous system’s capacity to experience our emotions and reactions. We slowly “wake up” to the emotions and experiences living inside of us that we did not have the space or relational safety to connect to before. As we grow our capacity to experience ourselves and our inner landscape, we grow our capacity to experience a greater spectrum of life and experience.

Incorporating psychotherapeutic concepts like attachment or Jungian principles into somatic work allows for us to bring understanding and meaning to our emotional and physical experience. We can start to integrate our felt experience with our cognitive and psychological experience for a wider understanding of our lived experience.

Somatic Psychotherapy

can help with the following:

Somatic Psychotherapy is supportive for:

•PTSD and complex PTSD
•Trauma and Stress related disorders
•Early Childhood Attachment Disturbances
•Anxiety disorders
•Birth Trauma
•Pre / perinatal and developmental trauma
•Chronic pain and illness
•High impact falls and accidents
•Medical procedure trauma
•Intergenerational trauma
•Sexual Trauma
•Women’s issues
•Psychedelic integration and psychedelic trauma
•Grief and Loss



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