Somatic Therapy (Body Centered)

Somatic therapy, also sometimes known as body-centered therapy, refers to approaches that integrate a client’s physical body into the therapeutic process. Somatic therapy focuses on the mind-body connection and is founded on the belief that viewing the mind and body as one entity is essential to the therapeutic process. Somatic therapy practitioners will typically integrate elements of talk therapy with therapeutic body techniques to provide holistic healing. Somatic therapy is particularly helpful for those trying to cope with abuse or trauma, but it is also used to treat issues including anxiety, depression, stress, relationship problems, grief, or addiction, among others. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s somatic therapy experts today.

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Somatic therapy explores how the body expresses deeply painful experiences, applying mind-body healing to aid with trauma recovery.

— Rena Diamond, Counselor in Atlanta, GA

I attended Naropa University and received a degree in Somatic Psychology. In my own journey of healing, I found myself unable to progress without accessing the body and all that was stored within. Communicating with the body, as well as attunement to trauma and the nervous system, is the foundation of my therapeutic approach. In my years of practice as a therapist, I have been brought back time and again to the innate wisdom every human body holds.

— Chana Halberg, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Boulder, CO

During a Somatic Experiencing session, we will slowly revisit the trauma while taking the time to notice what arises in the moment. I will support you to notice sensations, images, behaviors, affect or emotions, and thoughts or meaning that naturally arise during sessions. Through each response from your body, we will find areas that hold unprocessed energy and to release as needed, slowly and gently. Through the release of this energy, your body’s nervous system will return to its normal flow.

— Julius Peterson, Clinical Social Worker in Decatur, GA

I utilize somatic experiencing techniques to increase understanding of the mind/body connection which can support you in remaining in your body when feeling flooded with emotions and thoughts. Body work is as important as cognitive work as your body can hold onto experiences of stress long past the time of the stressful event. Being able to reclaim some control over your physical response can help reduce the fear in experiencing stress as well and reduce shame relating to feeling out of control.

— Ashley Johns Hinder, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in LAS VEGAS, NV

What does somatic therapy mean and look like? Implicit memories (the ones without a movie in our head) are stored in the body keep people stuck. These memories can be released and accessed to heal the body and the mind with or without the story being shared or even touched. Together we bring on regulation, safety, with a compassionate witness to have a felt sense of being seen, heard and understood. Internalizing the safety into your body is the thrive of health.

— Karen Lucas, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Bridging our thoughts with a felt sense to our thinking patterns and fears can be super helpful to help our shifts in thinking to "stick"!

— Noa Hamiel, Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

"The body knows". It is important to be present with ourselves and discover the wisdom it has to share.

— Tricia Mazza, Psychotherapist in Richmond, VA

When we experience trauma, our bodies instinctively react. The autonomic nervous system activates the sympathetic and/or parasympathetic nervous system. When we are under threat, the body will respond by being mobilized or immobilized, “fight or flight” or “freeze or fawn”. Unresolved trauma keeps these systems on making emotions and sensations very intense. Holistic therapy is focused on learning how to detect these systems, regulate them, understand the root cause and heal.

— laura merritt, Psychotherapist in SEATTLE, WA

I’m a Somatic Experiencing practitioner in training.

— Allison Stewart, Licensed Master of Social Work in ,

"I want to be a more fully integrated person. All these different parts of me get me from one place to another, including my feelings, thinking, and body. These parts feel so separate – like they’re strangers – and I think it’s time to be introduced". Somatic Focusing is the practice of focusing and listening to your body and discover new personal insights. It's like having a conversation with your body and being able to integrate what it's telling you".

— Open Space Therapy Collective, Licensed Professional Counselor in Los Angeles, CA

My graduate degree is in somatic psychotherapy and a lot of the trainings I have attended since graduating have focused on neuroscience and body based interventions. I don't have particular certifications because I studied many different modalities in school. We experience the world around us through our bodies, so the healing has to include the body. I typically start with education about how our bodies process the world and then utilize body based interventions.

— Tia (Christia) Young, Counselor

I lead clients through somatic experiencing to process the emotions that are effecting their nervous system.

— Allison Jensen, Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago, IL

I use body-work to guide clients in releasing their trauma histories. When trauma occurs early in life before language skills are fully developed, the trauma automatically becomes stored in the body. Symptoms of pain, repeated injuries, and even susceptibility to illness can all be signs of unprocessed childhood trauma. When we work somatically, we release the emotions stored in the body to relieve the physical symptoms and postural habits.

— Rebecca Spear, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

My undergraduate studies were in pre-medical biological sciences, so my attention to and care for our bodily systems is always present in the room. I truly believe our bodies have wisdom to share with us, and I am passionate about providing care in the spaces where your mind and body seem to be at war. I also believe that we are meant to move through our emotions--physically move! I incorporate gentle exercises in therapy when helpful.

— Katie Vigneulle, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

Somatic therapy incorporates the intelligent healing power of the body into the therapy room. A neuroscientifically researched approach, somatic therapy reaches well beyond the limitations of "talk therapy". This approach moves into the realm of how our bodies have processed wellbeing, stress and trauma throughout our lives and incorporates experimenting with : breath, movement, alignment and other "bottom-up" interventions to aid the progress of healing.

— Leigh Shaw, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

I have been a massage therapist for 30 years and found my way to Pyschotherapy as a result of the many emotional experiences that the body released during CranioSacral and working with newborns and their parents. I found that the implicit memories that keep people stuck can be accessed with or without the story being shared to be released and healed in the body and the mind.

— Karen Lucas, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

My core approach to therapy is mindfulness focused, relational, and integrative. I am trauma sensitive, while integrating techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and somatics. Sessions consist of a combination of talk therapy and experiential & somatic activities that incorporate mindfulness and creativity. The approach is excellent for short-term problem solving and long-term in-depth work.

— David S. Wu, Clinical Social Worker in Pleasant Hill, CA