What Is Somatic Therapy? Somatic therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the relationship between a person’s emotions and body experience. This therapeutic approach seeks to help individuals become aware of the connection between physical sensations, emotions, and behavior and address any issues that may arise from it.

Somatic therapies may include, but are not limited to, exercises for mindfulness, body-oriented psychodynamic psychotherapy, yoga therapy, breathwork, and somatic experiencing. Somatic therapists create a safe and healing space for clients to process their thoughts and feelings, helping them to integrate and make sense of their physical and emotional life.

The Benefits of Somatic Therapy

  1. Reduced Stress – Somatic therapy helps individuals become more aware of the physical manifestations of stress, such as tension and shallow breathing, and helps them to develop strategies to manage and reduce these. Supports the clients to be able to pivot easier to face their fears and eliminate the blockages in their system.

  2. Mindfulness – By deepening awareness of their body, somatic therapists can help individuals explore and gain greater insight into the unconscious thoughts and feelings they experience. This can assist them to adapt to, respond to, and grow in life.

  3. Real, Lasting Change – Unlike other forms of therapy, somatic therapy creates lasting changes through the body rather than changes in thought patterns and behavior. This approach helps to change the underlying patterns of belief and perception, producing more lasting and effective results.

  4. Philosophical and Spiritual Growth – Somatic therapy provides a unique form of healing in which individuals can explore the physical body and its relationship with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It can be a powerful tool for personal growth and transformation.

  5. Immune System Health – By addressing tension in the body, somatic therapy can also assist individuals in improving their overall health. Research has shown that it can help boost the immune system, making it an essential therapy for those struggling with chronic illness.

What to Expect From Somatic Therapy
Somatic therapy is a multi-faceted approach to healing, with each therapy session tailored to the individual. The goal is to help each client move toward a renewed sense of ease and acceptance in their body and in their life.

  1. Assessment – A somatic therapist will begin the process by assessing the physical and emotional well-being of their client. This could include breath observation and other physical assessments, such as palpation and range of motion assessments.

  2. Education and Exploring – During this phase, the client and therapist will discuss the client’s experiences and explore the deeper levels of their emotional life. The therapist will also offer education regarding the body’s physical and emotional response to stress.

  3. Insight and Change – Once the client has a better understanding of their body and the experiences they bring to the therapy, the focus shifts to the client’s goals, helping them develop insight into how stress or emotional issues may be influencing their behavior or attitudes.

  4. Movement – Movement strategies are also part of somatic therapies. This could include simple mindfulness practices, yoga poses, or other yoga-inspired movement sequences aimed at releasing tension from the body and mind.

  5. Integration – In the last stage of therapy, the client and therapist will focus on the client’s complete experience—both physical and psychological—and review any changes but also talk about potential challenges. The client is then equipped with the tools and insight they need to continue the work on their own, once the therapy sessions are over.

Getting the Most Out of Somatic Therapy
Somatic therapy can provide many benefits for those struggling with physical and emotional issues. In order to make the most of therapy sessions, clients should take the initiative to:

  1. Discuss goals – Before beginning therapy, clients should set clear and realistic goals for what they hope to achieve and take an active role in their progress towards these goals.

  2. Be honest – The client-therapist relationship should be based on trust and honesty. Clients should not withhold any thoughts, feelings, or experiences out of fear of judgement; rather, these should be fully explored and discussed with the therapist.

  3. Practice self-care – Somatic therapy is not an overnight fix; rather, it’s an ongoing process of growth and exploration. Clients can supplement their therapy by practicing self-care in the forms of exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness outside of the therapy setting.

  4. Be patient and persistent – As with all forms of therapy, it’s important to be patient and persistent. Clients shouldn’t expect results overnight, and they should stay committed to the process and attend therapy regularly.

  5. Tap into sensations – When participating in somatic therapy, clients should be mindful of the sensations they experience. This can help the client connect to their body and move through the healing process more effectively and efficiently.

Somatic therapy can be a powerful source of healing, allowing individuals to explore their body, access their emotions, and develop self-awareness. In order to get the most out of somatic therapy, clients should pursue it with an open mind and realistic expectations and be sure to take advantage of the tools and strategies their therapist provides them.

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