Somatic Therapy (Body Centered)

Somatic therapy, also sometimes known as body-centered therapy, refers to approaches that integrate a client’s physical body into the therapeutic process. Somatic therapy focuses on the mind-body connection and is founded on the belief that viewing the mind and body as one entity is essential to the therapeutic process. Somatic therapy practitioners will typically integrate elements of talk therapy with therapeutic body techniques to provide holistic healing. Somatic therapy is particularly helpful for those trying to cope with abuse or trauma, but it is also used to treat issues including anxiety, depression, stress, relationship problems, grief, or addiction, among others. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s somatic therapy experts today.

Meet the specialists

We all experience emotions through our bodies. Body-centered allows a deeper level of clarity about your feelings, and a more direct way of engaging with them.

— Abigail Thompson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Somatic therapy is oriented in the body and felt experience. Somatic work helps us understand how emotions and experiences are translated in the body. Somatically-oriented techniques can help strengthen the mind-body connection and bring awareness to our body’s reactions to emotion.

— Sage Grazer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

I help clients to reconnect with their bodies in order to recognize, understand and tolerate emotions and find their unique triggers. We will work on what feels right for you, at the pace that is comfortable for you and occasionally include animal-assisted therapy.

— Tara Farley, Licensed Professional Counselor in Gladstone, OR
 

I'm a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). Unlike traditional psychotherapy, which focuses on words and dialog, Somatic Experiencing (SE) focuses on felt sensation as an entry point to therapy. By working with physical sensation, difficult experiences can be safely managed and resolved.

— Loretta Staples, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Haven, CT

My favorite way of working includes the body. When the body mind connection are recognized, you access your wisest self. You also experience an improvement in mood, a decrease in anxiety, and experience more fulfilling connections with yourself and with others.

— Sara Rotger, Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

Somatic Psychotherapy is the foundation of my work. It is an integrative approach that brings awareness to the entirety of an individual and includes the experience of the physical body along with one's thoughts, emotions, and essence or soul. The brain does not only reside in the head, neural net processors around the heart and the gut are part of the larger concept of brain. Somatic Psychotherapists work with the body while working with emotions and thoughts because optimal health emerges from an integration of body and mind. The experience of trauma is not about the past, it’s about a body that continues to behave and organize itself as if the experience is happening in the moment. For this reason working in the present, somatically, is key to healing from trauma and restoring a sense of safety, creative expression and vitality. As a Somatic Therapist I support the safe release and integration of overwhelm and trauma, along with self agency and playful discovery.

— Erika Shershun, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

I utilize TRM and SE work to help heal the body-mind-spirit from dysregulation and trauma responses.

— SC (Stacy-Colleen) Nameth, Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

I incorporate somatic therapy into my work where it feels appropriate. My background in yoga and the subtle body help bring a unique lens to the way I practice somatic therapy. I incorporate breathwork, visualization, meditation, and asana into how I work.

— Allison Zamani, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in San Francisco, CA
 

I graduated from the California Institute of Integral Studies with a MA in Somatic (mind-body) psychology. I draw from over 4 years of training in Formative Psychology, which helps us to sense and shift how we are forming our embodied experience, well as generative somatics, which allows us to put into practice new ways of engaging in interpersonal dynamics.

— Jacquelyn Richards, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Body-Centered Psychotherapy addresses the experience of the whole person, investigating the body and mind as a unified system. Thoughts, emotions, sensations, movements, impulses, and beliefs can be symptoms of suffering or solutions to it. Bringing awareness to all areas of your experience can help you lead a fuller, more integrated life.

— Katherine Friedman, Counselor in Portland, OR
 

I am currently completing my second year of intensive Somatic Experiencing training. Somatic Experiencing offers a way of working with the nervous system to create more space for ease and authenticity in your life. Different life events can cause disruptions (e.g., people who cross our boundaries, abuse, car accidents, surgery), and our systems can get stuck in automatic responses that no longer serve us. These automatic responses may be experienced as fear, shame, guilt, or anger, among other difficult emotions. Alternatively, we may experience numbness or an absence of feeling. Somatic Experiencing is considered "body centered" because attention is directed toward one's felt sense. Whether we are aware of it or not, or brains get so much information from our bodies. Instead of trying to override what our bodies are telling us, Somatic Experiencing aims for greater integration of body and mind.

— Sarah McIntyre, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

Somatic Psychotherapy is the foundation of my work. It is an integrative approach that brings awareness to the entirety of an individual and includes the experience of the physical body along with one's thoughts, emotions, and essence or soul. The brain does not only reside in the head, neural net processors around the heart and the gut are part of the larger concept of brain. Somatic Psychotherapists work with the body while working with emotions and thoughts because optimal health emerges from an integration of body and mind. The experience of trauma is not about the past, it’s about a body that continues to behave and organize itself as if the experience is happening in the moment. For this reason working in the present, somatically, is key to healing from trauma and restoring a sense of safety, creative expression and vitality. As a Somatic Therapist I support the safe release and integration of overwhelm and trauma, along with self agency and playful discovery.

— Erika Shershun, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

My entire graduate studies were focused on Somatic Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies. This orientation provides an added dimension by taking the therapy out of the arena of second-hand reports (from your verbal mind) and into first-hand, felt experience. Our bodies often reveal first what our verbal, self conscious mind attempts to disguise and hide. I utilize Somatic interventions to potentially open you up to information that can be overlooked in most analytic psychotherapy. Traditional therapy practices pay attention almost exclusively to thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. In Somatics, the added awareness of sensations and felt experiences within the body are used to deepen the work. This can provide a channel of cooperation between the unconscious and conscious. In turn, Somatics helps to facilitate communication among parts of yourself that may be lost, hidden, or isolated.

— Vanessa Tate, Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

Through art, breath and energy work we work with the body to help clients feel more grounded, present and calm.

— Celine Redfield, Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR
 

I have received training and supervision in body centered therapies like somatic, sensorimotor, trauma-sensitive yoga, and mindfulness-based therapy. I can provide clients with a gentle look inward to develop greater awareness and understanding to the experience they have in their bodies.

— Erin Sanchez, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Kirkland, WA

I am a Somatic Therapist, and that means that I work with the felt sense in the room with my clients. Areas of focus are often related to pre-verbal trauma, or trauma that gets stuck and stored in the body. Because I work to help my clients to release trauma stored in the body, Somatic Therapy is often brief compared to traditional talk therapy. My modalities Somatic modalities of choice are: Brainspotting, Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, Mindfulness, and a variety of Somatic modalities.

— Nancy Georges, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Sacramento, CA

Somatic refers to the lived experience of the body. Not just having a body, but living in a body. As all our patterns are grounded in our body, we won't just talk about what's going on. Instead, we'll attend to how your body has uniquely adapted to your life. We'll focus on sensations, feelings, and movements in helping you find your greater wholeness.

— Marc Otto, Creative Art Therapist in Portland, OR
 

My somatic training supports me in facilitating connection between your thoughts, feelings, and internal emotional experience. Science shows us that your mind goes beyond the confines of your brain - it is your entire nervous system. Every emotion that you feel begins with a signal somewhere inside of your body. Connecting with these signals can open new pathways in your mind that lead to freedom, healing, and peace.

— Sarah Bower Ho, MA, Counselor in Portland, OR

I am a certified Yoga Therapist, and have been integrating yoga and mindfulness into my clinical work since 2002. I am also a Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) practitioner. This model uses attachment-based interventions, somatic awareness, and mindfulness to safely and effectively address many issues, including somatic complains, trauma, and anxiety.

— Anita Stoll, Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX
 

I am training in the Somatic Experiencing® (SE) method of resolving trauma and other stress conditions. This method understands that trauma resides in the nervous system, rather than the event, and results from an inability to complete self-protective survival responses at the time they were needed. While time goes on after these events, our nervous systems tend to get "stuck," in the activation associated with the event. SE supports the completion of these survival responses in the present from a position of strength and stability, with the goal of supporting us in thriving rather than merely surviving, and living in present time! I find this work to be exciting, hopeful, and very effective.

— Sarah Ross, Clinical Psychologist in Berkekeley, CA

I am currently completing my second year of training on my way toward becoming a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). Somatic Experiencing (SE) has been tremendously helpful for many of my clients and for me personally. SE is a method of working with your body's automatic responses (think sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of your autonomic nervous system; or fight, flight, and freeze), to help you experience greater embodiment, presence, and ease in your life.

— Sarah McIntyre, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX