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

My training in somatic therapies began with Bessel Van Dear Kolk’s training on the physiological consequences of trauma, including attachment trauma. I have studied the work of Peter Levine, and spent six months learning Somatic Experiencing. My work is also informed by yoga and Rolfing.

— Julie Levin, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA

I use Somatic Experiencing (SE). Somatic experiencing is a form of alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client's perceived body sensations. It works.

— John Kuykendall, Counselor in Kansas City, MO

Within somatics, I have specialized training in Neo-Reichian (Orgonomic) Therapy. This approach utilized breath work and simple movement to process through underlying emotions and experiences.

— Roza Skenderova, Counselor in Portland, OR

All our experiences in life are held in our bodies, even when we don't remember (or when we do remember). Somatic work is related to body and becoming in touch and aware of our body is how we can release some of the held memories. I am trained in Somatic Experiencing® as a practitioner. SE is a gentle, non-invasive way of accessing and releasing body memories and therefore finding liberation from past traumas.

— Ginger Bahardar, Marriage & Family Therapist in Bonsall, 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 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

SE is body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It offers a framework to assess where you are “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states by focusing on body sensations and releasing stuck energy while building upon and strengthening your resiliency.

— Leanne Lemire, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Phoenix, AZ

The body is an active participant in the experience of life. Through the body, we feel, store & process emotions. Oftentimes in trauma and food/body struggles, the relationship to the body is torn and requires repair to live more at ease. I have felt this healing in my own life & my clients. I am a 500-hour trained yoga teacher with an emphasis on therapeutic yoga, including trauma- sensitive & body positive approaches. I've been teaching yoga and incorporating it into psychotherapy since 2009.

— Melanie Taylor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Philadelphia, PA

There’s only so much we can figure out in our heads. It’s my belief that our bodies are constantly speaking to us - whether that’s of anxiety, unprocessed trauma, anger - or even joy! Often, we repress, deny and push down these important communications. Through a variety of somatic interventions, I support clients to reacquaint themselves with the wisdom of their body’s intelligence.

— Monroe Spivey, Therapist in Asheville, NC

Somatic therapy (somatic experiencing) has helped my clients to see the psychobiological aspect of therapy and how it affects both the body and mind.

— Kelley Goodwin, Licensed Professional Counselor in Roswell, GA

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

Somatic Therapy is focuses on body sensations and gentle movement to increase the flow of energy in your body. This is important because we store our emotions, memories and experiences in the tissues in our body so without addressing our trauma and pain from a somatic place it's easy to feel "stuck". Somatic Therapy brings self-awareness to your physical body and emotional states for a deeper understanding of what you're feeling and then what you need to care for yourself in the moment.

— Elizabeth Sumpf, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fort Lauderdale, FL

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

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

My foundation is centered around Somatic Psychotherapy. This psychotherapy incorporates traditional talk therapy in addition to physical therapies provided by my training in yoga and eastern philosophy. By incorporating physical movement and breath to counseling with a trained professional, the autonomic nervous systems of the body are able to regulate and process a wide range of experiences.

— Emily Snodgrass, Counselor in Eugene, OR