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

Jodi's education in Contemplative Psychotherapy as well as her further training in body-centered Play Therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy combines with her personal study of movement practices and expressive arts to create a perfect atmosphere for experiential therapy...beyond just talk.

— Jodi Alieksaites, Licensed Professional Counselor in Boulder, CO

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 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 Berkeley, 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

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

I have completed the three year training to become a Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapist, and belong to a consultation group which meets to continue our training.

— Nancy Gardner, Therapist in Chicago, IL

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 awareness is central to helping the whole person to heal. It is a fact that the body and mind together form a complete person. My work is influenced by several schools of psychotherapy, therapeutic massage and somatic practices (bodywork), all of which help people to understand their bodies, injuries, emotional lives, relationships, illnesses and personal dynamics as part of their healing process. I will often integrate somatic practices into psychotherapy.

— Paul C. Briggs, Clinical Social Worker in Hollywood, FL

The theory behind somatic therapy is that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are all related and connected to each other. As a result, the stress of past emotional and traumatic events affects the central nervous system and can cause changes in the body and even in body language, often resulting in altered facial expressions and posture as well as physical pain. Somatic therapy helps you to release... the emotions that remain in your body from these past negative experiences. -Psychology Today

— Jules Allison, 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

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

The body has infinite wisdom- stored in our nervous system and in our muscles and bones is the capacity to be in connection to ourselves in mindful and integrated ways. In our session I may draw attention to your body and as you emote, think and experience healing and change. This, often leads to greater mind-body connection.

— Silvia Gozzini, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in PORTLAND, OR

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

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

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

Somatic simply means “body-based.” Somatic Counseling considers the interrelationship between the mind and body in addition to talk therapy.

— Kendall Hagensen, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA

If you live in Asheville, I don’t need to tell you about the immense beneficial effects that yoga can have on your mental, spiritual, & physical wellbeing. And if you’re on this site, you’re also aware of the potential that psychotherapy has to improve your mental & emotional health, and your life in general. Imagine the effects of combining these two practices. I did! TALKyoga© is a unique & powerful integration of talk therapy (aka psychotherapy, counseling, therapy) with yoga & mindfulness.

— Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Clinical Psychologist in Asheville, NC

Somatic Psychotherapy is an advancement in the practice of psychotherapy, and is an umbrella term for a variety of therapy models that share in common ancient wisdom and current science. Rather than attending mostly, or exclusively, to our verbal narratives and ‘thinking’ abilities, or what came to be called ‘Talk Therapy’, Somatic Psychotherapy places attention on our fuller reality: the interwoven connections between our brain/body/mind as a whole, within the environment and relationships.

— Daniel Factor, Counselor in Los Angeles, 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 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

I hold a bachelors degree in Africana studies with a psychology minor and a masters degree in counseling psychology with a concentration in somatic psychology.

— Stephanie Francis-Ecoffey, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA