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.

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Somatic therapy is body-centered therapy and helps to understand the connection between stress, emotions, mental wellbeing, and physical processes. Physical pain and illness can manifest as a result of chronic stress and trauma and healing needs to encompass the entire system. We can learn to listen to our bodies, to our feelings and sensations and use movement to process energies and regain a connection to ourself.

— Jessica Eden, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Arvada, CO

I could have spent my whole life talking about trauma instead of moving it through. As a student who stumbled into the field, I was its biggest critic. I wanted evidence that the body mattered. In my most profound relationships now as client or healer, we don't talk a lot & the evidence is right there in the ability to process & release pain without analysis paralysis. I lead folx to learn from their own body how stress shapes the way they walk the world & they let it lead them toward freedom

— Sarah Kendrick, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR

I am trained to stay in the body through Somatic IFS, polyvagal theories, regulation techniques that create safety in the body and help heal trauma, and mindfulness based body techniques.

— Caroline Whisman-Blair, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , MT

I find value in bringing the body into the therapy session as I have often found that people tend to overthink and forget to listen to our bodies responses. This may look like something simple as identifying colors or imagery to feelings to begin strengthening this pathway in order to strengthen connections with yourself.

— Kodie Mobbs, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Liberty Lake, WA

Somatic therapy is quite useful when working with trauma that stores in the body. Working with our thoughts and beliefs alone is only one aspect of healing from trauma. I have participated in several trauma first aid trainings from notable trauma experts like Peter A. Levine as well as training courses on the biology of trauma. Somatic approaches allow for the body to release stored trauma through movement like dance, tapping, trauma-sensitive yoga, and more.

— Alaina Ewing, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

Traumatic experiences are not processed like other memories. The brain does not assign a "time stamp" to trauma memories like it does to other past experiences, which causes our bodies to operate as if that trauma is still happening. This causes our nervous systems to go haywire and wreaks havoc on our bodies. Somatic approaches, like polyvagal theory, heal trauma by helping us find safety in our bodies, retraining our nervous systems to realize that we are no longer constantly in danger.

— Caitlin Truitt, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Vancouver, WA

iRest Yoga Nidra Level One Teacher Certification with Richard Miller, Ph.D.‘s Integrative Restoration Institute (2017) Certified in Trauma-informed Yoga with Hala Khouri & Kyra Heglund, (both LCSW, SEP, ERYT) (2017)

— Aly Dearborn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Our bodies hold emotions, thoughts, and stories for us that when we tune in can offer clarity and relief about our life’s journey. By touching base with sensations and noticing them with curiosity, we can learn to to speak our body’s language and provide it the care truly needed to take steps toward meaningful change.

— Rachel Ruiz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Folsom, CA

I have come to deeply appreciate that in order to adjust our thinking, we must acknowledge that our distress and symptoms are often expressed through feelings, and that feelings are held and felt in our bodies. Through my work with Integrative Somatic Parts, I help empower clients to explore where they are holding stress in their nervous system, strengthen their mind-body connection, and increase awareness of patterns, habits, or stories that are both helpful and harmful in their lives.

— Meredith Waller, Clinical Social Worker in Boulder, CO

As humans, we store memories, experience and emotions on a cellular level. Which means, it’s not “all in your head”; rather, our bodies hold information as well. Somatic approaches are used to engage the relationship between mind, body, brain, and behaviors. I'll use strategies and techniques to help calm your nervous system, and create more ease in your healing process. The mind-body techniques aid in the release of pent-up tension that’s weighing on your emotional and physical well-being.

— Cheryl Carr, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Hamburg, NY

Body Psychotherapy is holistic; it takes the entire human being and his/her/their life experiences into account. It offers mindful consideration to the crucial role of the body in the structure and process of the psyche. During a session, I pay close attention to sensation and body states, which allow unconscious material to manifest and possibly be worked with using breath, spatial awareness, consented therapeutic touch, movement, sensation, and imagery.

— Lina Návar, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

For the past two years I have been a participant in the three-year Somatic Experiencing (SE)ⓒ Training Program for resolving trauma and I've completed the Intermediate level of the training. I will be an Advanced student in the Spring. SE has taught me the immense value of the body, as experienced from within, as a resource for healing and transforming physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds, and behavior patterns that have been a source of pain and suffering for years.

— Peter Carpentieri SEP, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

I lead clients through somatic experiencing to process the emotions that are effecting their nervous system.

— Allison Jensen, Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago, IL

Somatic Psychology (body mind psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy, etc.) is a holistic form of therapy that respects and utilizes the powerful connection between body, mind, and spirit. How we are in this world, how we relate to ourselves and others, is not just purely about the mind or our thoughts, but it is also deeply rooted in our bodies and our spirits. Unlike traditional talk therapy or cognitive therapy, Somatic Psychology tends to be more experiential.

— Jerry Moreau, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

I use body-work to guide clients in releasing their trauma histories. When trauma happens before clients have developed the language skills to speak of the complexity of traumatic situations, the trauma automatically becomes stored in their bodies. Symptoms of pain, repeated injuries, and even susceptibility to illness can all be signs of unprocessed childhood trauma. When we work somatically, we release the emotions stored in the body to relieve the physical symptoms and postural habits.

— Rebecca Spear, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

I believe that most mental health issues are the result of our limbic brains working to keep us safe. Limbic brains don't understand logic, but they do understand stories and metaphors. I believe that change, at the limbic level, must include connecting to our bodies in new ways and that the most direct pathway of communication to the limbic brain is through bodily sensations. I use my training in tantric healing and in Somatic Experiencing to help guide you to healing.

— Erika Laurentz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Olympia, WA

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

As a dedicated Vipassana meditator, I try to meditate two hours a day and have participated in more than 100 days of silent retreat. From this personal experience I know firsthand how powerful and healing somatic approaches can be. It can be far from easy to access this type of healing, however, as our bodies also carry our accumulated pain and trauma. A somatic approach can often initially lead to more discomfort, but "moving through" can lead to incredible healing.

— Phillip Coulson, Therapist in Seattle, WA