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

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
 

Trauma stores in the body or what I also call the subconscious mind. Developing an intentional relationship with the body can enrich all levels of life and enhance wellbeing. TRE® is the main framework I use and add biodynamic breathwork, vocal toning, and movement as appropriate grounding, centering and integration.

— Andrea Rábago, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

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 Briggs, Clinical Social Worker in Hollywood, FL

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

Body-Oriented or Somatic Psychotherapy utilizes the experience of your physical body to help you access memories, emotions, and beliefs that you cannot access through thoughts or talk therapy alone. Somatic therapy can help you become more aware of your unconscious material, core beliefs, insights and needs. This approach also helps people suffering from trauma to regain a sense of inner safety so that they can re-enter and re-inhabit their bodies more fully.

— Jessica Youseffi, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

I am a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a biological, body-based approach to resolving trauma and stress. Imprints of overwhelming experiences are often held in the body. Using SE, I can help you release these imprints gently and process traumatic experiences that are often not accessible to conventional talk therapy alone. This allows you a wider range of responses to the life around you and frees a sense of choice, freedom and joy.

— Claudia Hartke, Psychologist in Boulder, CO

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 of your physical body and emotional states so you understand

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

Learn more at https://www.drschierholz.com/orgonomic-reichian-therapy.php

— Neil Schierholz, Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA

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
 

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

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

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

I have have attended trainings in Hakomi and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and enjoy using sensations in the body, grounding techniques, and mindfulness to gain insights. I have worked with many clients experiencing anxiety and depression using somatic therapy to improve symptoms.

— Chauney Peck, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

Using a combination of somatic psychology, movement therapy, sensorimotor therapy, developmental movement and experiential mindfulness, I gently invite the body into therapy through a trauma-sensitive framework. Paying attention the body’s messages, patterns and sensations through a process-based approach offers insight into not only the felt sense but also the unconscious which can provide a more nuanced, experiential pathway to living more fulfilled and healthily embodied.

— Caroline Gebhardt, Associate Professional Counselor in Decatur, GA

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

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

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 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

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
 

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 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
 

Trauma is more that what we think, it is stored in the very tissues of our bodies. My use of Somatic Experiencing and CranioSacral therapy assist your body in finally unthwarting the stress that, in many cases, has been stuck there for years.

— Inga Larson, Counselor in Denver, CO
 

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
 

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 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

Trauma and stress and unresolved emotions store in the body so it's important for everyone to have a practical understanding and powerful tools to condition themselves to feel vibrationally safe experiences and allow that life force we call energy to flow. The framework I share is TRE® (trauma and tension releasing exercise and incorporate vocal toning, breathwork, and movement as appropriate.

— Andrea Rábago, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

I have extensive training in body-centered approaches including five years of practical hands on training in Hakomi and Mindfulness Experiential Therapeutic Approaches (M.E.T.A.). The body is a great intelligence and holds so much wisdom. When we slow down and finally face ourselves, amazing things happen. Hidden energy surges forth, life becomes alive again, and we find that solving problems isn’t as important as feeling empowered to be who we truly are.

— Kerry Ogden, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, 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
 

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 therapy is of great use when issues are pre-verbal or non-verbal. It also gives a place to work when clients have a general feeling of being "stuck" but not knowing why. Sometimes the issue isn't non-verbal, it's just unconscious for a variety of reasons. Body-centered therapy is a great jumping off point and it leads easily into Mindfulness Integrated CBT.

— SHANE HENNESEY, Counselor in Richmond, TX
 

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

Do you ever feel that your thoughts and feelings aren't aligned? Our "mental" well-being isn't just about our brain; emotions don't just reside in our brain; it is also stored in our body. It is why when we feel stressed, our shoulder and neck might feel tense, when we feel sad, our chest might hurt, and we are worried, we feel butterflies in our stomach. Psychotherapy is most effective when we address the feelings and thoughts that are stored together in our brain and our body.

— Wendy Yeh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Palo Alto, CA
 

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

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