What is Somatic Psychotherapy?
Somatic psychotherapy, a holistic therapeutic approach, incorporates a person’s mind, body, spirit, and emotions in the healing process. While traditional talk therapies are often able to effectively address many mental and emotional health challenges, somatic psychotherapists believe some people may be able to quickly address deep emotional issues not revealed through talk therapy, simply by paying attention to the communication of the body. Because past trauma or other psychological concerns may potentially have a negative effect on a person’s autonomic nervous system, people experiencing emotional and psychological issues may also be affected by physical concerns such as sexual dysfunction, hormonal issues, digestive issues, or tension in specific parts of the body such as the head, neck, shoulders, or stomach. Practitioners of somatic psychotherapy can help individuals both become more aware of these bodily sensations and learn to use therapeutic techniques to release any tension the body is holding. Techniques often used in therapy include breathing exercise and sensation awareness, physical exercise such as dance or other movement, voice work, massage, and grounding exercises. During the session, the person in treatment may be encouraged to reflect on patterns of behavior and identify any impact these patterns may have on any new emotions, experiences, or concerns that come up in therapy.