What is Somatic Therapy?
Many people who are not familiar with the word “Somatic” start by Googling this term. If this is you – you are not alone! Happily, this word has an uncomplicated definition:
“Somatic” just means body-based.
So, a body-based therapy is one that uses the present-moment experience of the body (sensation, impulse, image, memory, emotion) as an access route to healing, new possibilities and wholeness. Many people come to somatic work after having tried talk therapy and realizing that cognitively understanding why they act and feel a particular way is only part of what it takes to change their habits, feelings, and behaviors.
I am trained in two Somatic Therapy Modalities that I use in my coaching and bodywork:
Hakomi & Somatic Experiencing
Do you offer group consultations or workshops?
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I am a Certified Hakomi Practitioner and I delight in helping clients grow, transform and heal themselves through this experiential approach.
All of us have developed in response to the environments that shaped us. Some of those adaptations work well in our current lives. Others do not. Most of what is not working is really hard for us to see clearly or change. We find ourselves in repeated familiar patterns where we aren’t getting what we want. Hakomi is a non-violent, body-based and client-led way to uncover and transform the core material that drives what is not working in our lives.
Developed by Ron Kurtz in the 1980s, Hakomi is a gentle body-centered modality that uses mindfulness, felt sensation and implicit memories to help clients access and develop awareness of unconscious and self-limiting belief systems. By learning how to witness their own present moment experience, clients uncover the habits, behaviors and attitudes through which they organize their lives. Once in a client’s conscious awareness, repeated cycles of dissatisfaction, suffering, self-judgment, and disharmony can be examined and changed through direct embodied experience using experiments, play and co-creation with the practitioner.
In the same way that the acorn already knows how to become the oak tree, Hakomi believes that each person’s system is already intelligent and whole and has the capacity to heal and fully realize it’s innate potential. I love the Hakomi method because I believe this too. To learn more about Hakomi, and find out if this modality is a fit for you, please feel free to contact me or you can read more on the Hakomi website.
Somatic Experiencing is a trauma resolution modality created by Peter Levine. This work is grounded in the idea that trauma is a result of an uncompleted nervous system response that is stuck and stored in the body. When a person experiences any form of actual or perceived threat to life or physical safety, their nervous system responds. Trauma can be a result of anything that overwhelms the system’s capacity to process it by being too much, too fast or too soon for the system to handle. If the nervous system is not able to fully mobilize and complete it’s response and thereby release this survival activation, the nervous system can get stuck in dysregulated states such as fight, flight or freeze.
When a person has a dysregulated nervous system and/or has experienced any form of trauma that has not been processed, thinking-based therapies can be less effective because part of the brain in charge of logic and rational thought is deprioritized due to survival-based reaction of the entire system.
Through resourcing and gently building capacity, Somatic Experiencing facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms.
I use Somatic Experiencing to work with clients who are specifically interested in shock trauma resolution. I also use this modality to help regulate and ground activation as it occurs, and to teach nervous system and resiliency tools in all of the work I do.
Would you like to explore working with me?
I integrate Hakomi and Somatic Experiencing into my coaching and bodywork sessions. For clients where this is the right fit, I also offer offer these somatic modalities as a stand alone sessions.
I am not a mental health provider and I do not offer these modalities as a mental health treatment. That said, this work can be deeply therapeutic, transformative and self-healing. If you would like to discuss the possibility of working together in this way, please contact me.