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Somatic therapy is what people refer to as a form of body-centred therapy that focuses on the link between the mind and body. It utilises physical therapy and psychotherapy for more well-rounded and holistic health promotion. Somatic therapy practitioners employ mind-body exercises, talk therapy, and other physical techniques to relieve anxieties that could adversely affect a patient’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being.
Somatic therapists believe that both the mind and body are intrinsically joined, although not in any obvious way. Our feelings, thoughts, and sensations are connected and affect one another.
The different types of somatic therapy
The most commonly present and simple kind of somatic therapy is what’s known as somatic experiencing therapy. It refers to when a patient elaborates on their issues as they would in a typical therapy session, with the added caveat of having to concentrate on their bodily sensations. Once this is done, they can attempt mind-body exercises like meditation, massages, visualisation, breath work, dance, grounding, or sensational awareness work.
Several subgroups of somatic therapy exist that utilise its basic framework in different ways. They include:
- The Hakomi Method
A form of psychotherapy that incorporates psychological, spiritual, and scientific sources. It also focuses on the four core ideals – nonviolence, gentleness, compassion, and mindfulness.
- Sensorimotor psychotherapy
A thorough brand of therapy that leverages your body to gain information about your well-being and pinpoint targets for intervention.
- Biodynamic psychotherapy
A mix of medical and holistic therapy that also includes a body massage given by the practitioners.
- Bioenergetic analysis
A form of body psychotherapy that joins relational, analytic, and bodily work focuses on comprehending energy.
- Brain spotting
Alongside working on your mind and body, brain spotting integrates the use of eye positioning to retrain specific emotional reactions.
Major somatic therapy concepts
Somatic therapy uses the patient’s body as a therapeutic tool and relies on the nervous system’s fundamental operations while providing therapy. The following key ideas are part of somatic psychology, the theory from which somatic treatment was developed.
- Boundary development
Establishing clear boundaries requires placing a person’s attention on the here and now, enabling them to adapt to their changing requirements. It enables one to react in a way that makes them feel secure and strong.
A person’s capacity to perceive themselves as immersed in the present is referred to as their ability to ground, which is a body-based method. With the use of this somatic technique, a person can calm their nervous system by sensing their physical form, using their senses, and feeling their feet touch the ground.
- Movement and processing
Somatic therapists draw on a person’s ability to recover by paying attention to their body. Postures, gestures, and the use of space all offer insight into a person’s experience. In somatic therapy, patients are encouraged to connect with their impulses to create a solution deliberately.
The objective of self-regulation is to cultivate an awareness of bodily sensations to regulate or respond effectively to emotional intensity. This emphasises the significance of actively remaining connected to the body through strong emotions or sensations.
Titration is a somatic strategy that describes the process of going through brief periods of distress in an effort to ease the pain of a past traumatic experience. Your therapist will monitor your body’s reaction as you gradually start to recall prior trauma and the feelings they trigger. In addition to observing your bodily reaction, breathing fluctuations, clenched fists, or change in voice tone, they will inquire about how you feel as the process occurs.
Emotions may spread throughout the body when tension starts to break down. The capacity to breathe more easily can occur from the release of tension through crying, which starts in the abdomen and proceeds to the chest before settling into throat tightness.
What is somatic therapy beneficial for?
Somatic therapy is an effective alternative for those considering therapists for depression or other mental, emotional, and physical hurdles.
Mental disorders that can be aided by somatic therapy include:
Physical disorders that can be aided by somatic therapy include:
- Digestive issues
- Chronic pain
- Sexual dysfunction
Due to its emphasis on staying in the moment and remaining grounded, it is also ideal for people who want to learn more about themselves and dig deeper into their life experiences.
Somatic therapy is a unique practice that highlights the intimate connection between the mind and body. While the body can catalyse mental unease, it can also help ease it. With that in mind, A Space Between aims to facilitate somatic therapists everywhere looking for a mindful and conducive environment for their sessions. Contact us today to learn more.
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