What is Somatic Therapy & How Does it Help My Mental and Physical State?
Yasssss, a topic using knowledge from my major! Haha this is so exciting for me. Somatic therapy is actually something that I learned about 2 years ago in a class that focused on autism. Somatic therapy is a type of body-centered treatment that examines the mind-body relationship and employs both psychotherapy and physical therapies in order to achieve comprehensive healing. Somatic therapy practitioners utilize mind-body exercises and other physical modalities in addition to talk therapy to assist relieve the pent-up tension that is harming your physical and emotional wellness.
- Somatic therapy combines talk and alternative therapy to address and heal the mind, body, spirit, and emotions.
- It's an option for multiple types of emotional and physical suffering
- The techniques and concepts help you develop awareness of your feelings and body
- You can do practices at home too
Who can benefit from somatic therapy?
People suffering from stress, anxiety, sadness, bereavement, addiction, relationship and sexual function concerns, as well as difficulties associated to trauma and abuse, and even autism can benefit from somatic therapy. Those who have tried and failed to find relief from chronic physical pain, digestive difficulties, and other medical problems may benefit from somatic therapy.
What is somatic therapy?
Somatic therapy is based on the idea that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are all linked and interconnected. As a result, the stress of previous emotional and traumatic experiences impacts the central nervous system, causing changes in the body and even body language, as well as physical discomfort. Somatic therapy helps you release the tension, anger, irritation, and other emotions that remain in your body as a result of these negative events by increasing your awareness of the mind-body connection and utilizing particular interventions.The goal is to assist you in overcoming the tension and suffering that keeps you from fully participating in your life.
Somatic therapy is a type of physical therapy that combines talk therapy and what are sometimes referred to as alternative kinds of physical therapy. The therapist assists you in reviving memories of traumatic events and monitors any physical reactions you have once the memory has been recovered. After that, physical approaches like deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and meditation are utilized to help relieve symptoms. Dance, aerobics, yoga, or other sorts of movement, voice work, and massage are some of the physical therapies that can be utilized in conjunction with somatic therapy.
Somatic therapy can be used in conjunction with other types of psychotherapy and counseling.
Look for a qualified, experienced mental health provider who has completed advanced, supervised somatic therapy training. Look for a therapist with the right educational background, expertise, and positive attitude, as well as one with whom you feel comfortable addressing personal difficulties.
This refers to a persons ability to truly be aware of their physical body. In grounding you engage your senses often focusing on a specific object or body part. This allows the person to have peace of mind and physically calm the nervous system.
2. Boundary development
When you focus on the present moment it makes drawing boundaries far more clear. When you are aware of yourself and your needs you can know when subtle changes occur. As various issues arise developing a calm response allows you to feel safe in your decision making.
When you process large emotions or sensations, developing awareness of these feelings and managing them is the goal. Having the intent and/or the follow through to effectively respond to issues is helpful in maintaining a balanced mental state.
4. Movement and process
Activities involved with physical movement are crucial to somatic therapy. Because this therapy focuses on the mind, body and spirit, activities like dance can lead to huge emotional breakthroughs.
This refers to the process of tension sequentially moving through and eventually out of the body often in the form of tears.
7. Titration - This process involves experiencing small amounts of distress with the greater goal of relieving pain. It works like traditional conditioning for behavioral changes. Basically, if you have a stimulus that causes a problem, for example, a past trauma that causes pain, one way to go about resolving this is by exposing yourself to it so much that it no longer affects you. Sometimes this technique is called flooding. If you are seeing a professional and participating in somatic therapy they may use tools like a heart rate monitor to physically measure and track your responses over time. This part of somatic therapy can be incredibly helpful in seeing what things are working and how effectively.
If seeing a therapist sounds either uncomfortable or expensive don't worry! There are many techniques you can do at home that might be able to improve both your mental and physical well being. Here are some you can try:
Notice physical comfort
Sit or lay or stand comfortably, close your eyes, breathe, thing about your body, where your body connects to the floor or chair or bed, breathe deeply and slowly. Ask yourself how you feel physically, does anything hurt, what is your temperature, make observations and remain in this head space until you feel like coming out.
Make a woooooo sound
Take a deep breath and exhale while saying woooooo in whatever tone feels right to you. Be in a safe space where you are comfortable being as loud as you want to be. Let it out. Be present.
Recall a kindness
Close your eyes and think of a memory related to kindness, either a time where someone was kind to you or you kind to them. Think about the details of the situation and pay attention to your body, often you will find yourself smiling out of nowhere.
Overall somatic therapy is great. I have practiced it myself. It got me through some not so optimal times. I recommend it and am honored that I got to write this article and if you are reading this I hope you can actually take something that you've learned because, at least for me this knowledge is powerful.
Written by Kiana St. Onge