Somatic Psychotherapy

Somatic Psychotherapy

The body always leads us home . . . if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling. –  Pat Ogden

Talking is the foundation of most psychotherapies. It’s important to have a place to say how you feel, to sort things out, to put words to feelings, and to truly be listened to, without judgment. What gets left out much of the time, however, is our bodily experience. Our bodies are engaged constantly in how we think, what we believe about ourselves and the world, how we feel, and how we act. It’s natural in our culture to try and “figure things out” by thinking things through. Sometimes this is valuable, and we find solutions to our problems this way. But sometimes, there are things we can’t think our way out of. Or, we can understand why we feel or act in certain ways, but still nothing seems to change. Somatic psychotherapy can help you to access the more hidden parts of yourself; when you befriend these parts, you have the ability to become more of the “driver”  in the choices you make, influencing what you draw towards you in your life.

Neuroscience is now catching up with what many traditional cultures have known for thousands of years: that our minds and bodies are interconnected and constantly influencing each other. Often, our suffering comes from dwelling in the past or the future: what could have been, what we should have said or done, worrying about what will or will not be. Working bodily is powerful because it brings us directly to what is true for us in the present time, taking us out of stories and limiting beliefs. I incorporate somatic work from various approaches that utilize present moment experience, meaning, what is happening in the moment as we are working together. These include:

Hakomi therapy, a therapeutic approach that draws from Buddhist philosophies and uses body tensions and sensations to access information about our limiting beliefs, patterns, and habits, and shines light on how to make change in these areas, illuminating and supporting our “organic self” that naturally wants to unfold.

Formative Psychology, whose central principle is that the body is the basis for knowing ourselves. Using bodily-based exercises and inquiries, you can learn to use formative principles for making and managing change.

At times, stances and breathwork from yoga and martial arts may also be brought in to the work.

Touch may be used sparingly as a powerful, deepening tool, but only with your full permission every time. Some clients’ work never includes touch and is no less powerful because of it.