Soma refers to “body” so somatic therapy is an approach that incorporates your whole person and experience, not just your thoughts and feelings. Somatic therapy recognizes that our thoughts and feelings are not actually separate from our physical experience and in fact, our physical experience and sensations tell us A LOT about what is happening emotionally and cognitively. And many deeply held issues, such as attachment wounding, developmental traumas and acute traumas are held in our bodies – it is not possible to just talk through these injuries – it is imperative that we uncover and incorporate the way your body has stored those experiences or else healing will not happen.
Working somatically can look like mindful awareness of physical sensations, or it can be movement practices or it can incorporate gentle touch that helps bring attention to various places of holding and release – all of these ways of exploring and processing experience are somatic. Whenever it seems that movement or touch is indicated, I will always check in with you about that first and you always have the right to decline. Most often, the somatic approach guides us in helping you deepen into the active moment – the felt sense in your body is how you discover when current experiences are connected to past experiences and how we discover particular feelings that are activated in the moment but might not be readily apparent – to access this information we have to slow down and learn how to feel sensations and the movement of emotion in the body. By learning to truly feel ourselves, we find out more about who we are and how we relate in the world and then we start having more choice about those things.
Some potential benefits of somatic work:
- increased awareness of feelings, thoughts and experiences
- greater emotional capacity
- stronger self-regulation
- reduction of symptoms related to past traumas
- greater self-acceptance
- increased presence