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What is Somatic Psychotherapy?

Somatic psychotherapy is a short term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of life’s sufferings, losses and trauma, whether large or small. We all experience inevitable losses throughout our life span. Whether it be the death of a loved one, ending of a relationship, career change, illness, or interpersonal conflicts. All of which may result in symptoms of depression, anxiety, addictive behavioral patterns, and the ensuing stress this can create in one’s life.

Just as the field of medicine has coined the term “body-mind”, and begun to suggest that the state of one’s mind is fundamental to bodily healing, the field of psychology is quickly accepting that the body plays an integral part in psychological health. Somatic psychotherapy supports and guides one in finding ways to incorporate the wisdom of the body as an ally in the psychotherapeutic process. Part of the power in using the body comes from learning more clearly what one is feeling and how to resolve and respond to those feelings. Through somatic psychotherapy one learns how one’s body can be a resource and support in any situation.

It is common to go into conventional psychotherapy to work with emotions. The problem with using talk therapy exclusively to explore emotional issues is that emotions are about feelings and feelings are communicated to the mind through sensations in the body. Communication via the body is a tool that is incorporated in somatic psychotherapy as an ally to the therapeutic process. If we have an emotion we would rather not feel, even if it is pleasant, our minds have the capacity to change course or shut down, sometimes moving so fast we don’t even recognize what happened. Bodies hold the sensations of emotions longer and have a more difficult time dispensing with experience. Our bodies offer new information through the sensations they hold. If these sensations continue to be held in the nervous system a negative feedback loop between body and mind ensues, confusing ones internal wiring. When incorporating work with body and mind, processes that are seeking resolution can be addressed more directly and completely.

The rhythm of the body is where the precise truth and healing takes place. Exploring and expressing one’s bodily experience along with talking has the added benefit of stimulating both sides of the brain. This process is able to access both sides of the brain thus healing the entire organism, not just finding insight and emoting to effect change which we now know is incomplete and can actually prolong symptoms.

Somatic psychotherapy employs the awareness of body sensations to help people resolve their difficulties life stressors and emotional blocks rather than reliving them. With appropriate therapeutic guidance into the body’s instinctive “felt sense”, individuals are able to access their own innate ability to heal.

For more information on Somatic Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing® please click link on home page.



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