Somatic therapy explained
Unlike cranio-sacral therapy where the therapist brings their awareness to the client’s system, in somatic therapy the client brings their own awareness to themselves. Being the curious and mindful observer of ourselves facilitates the unwinding of energetic wounds that have been separated from our awareness.
Working from a platform of feeling supported and safe, the aim of somatic experiencing is to process, in manageable quantities, this ‘stuck’ energy bound up in the structure of the body.
Bringing awareness into the body can be done in a number of ways; such as imagery, sensation, movement or breath, and different methods suit different people. Somatic work can be a full session in its own right or used as an adjunct to cranio-sacral therapy, and the SSP listening program.
Somatic therapy for trauma
We can access the innate capacity to move on from trauma, emotional and physical, no matter how long after the experience. It is not always necessary to re-live, or even know the details of what happened like in the scenario of very early (pre-verbal) childhood experiences.
As the story of trauma held in the body is re-negotiated, aspects of the body and psyche can reunite contributing towards a greater wholeness.
Peter Levine writes: “… trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence. Not only can trauma be healed but with appropriate guidance and support, it can be transformative.”
Somatic therapy for chronic stress
There is a growing prevalence of people living for extended periods of time in stress. For some, this can include feeling overwhelmed, triggered, or stuck in thought loops. Physical symptoms can include anxiety, pain, insomnia, digestive upset, headaches, etc.
By looking at stress from a nervous system perspective, there are things we can do. For example, somatically, by improving our conscious awareness to the body’s response to what we call stress, we have an opportunity to change it.
Instead of heading off down the well travelled stress highway, fast and out of control, some simple techniques can be used to intervene. As we change the somatic map of stress responses we can steer ourselves towards a more calm, open, grounded place.