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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We live in a society that does not support embodiment- true connection with the wisdom of the body. As a result we may live disconnected from our bodies, especially when we have experienced trauma or stress. Numbing out, avoiding, overriding the signals of stress, anxiety, trauma reactions from the body, are common best attempts to cope. Somatic therapy offers a bridge between body and mind so that we can heal and release stuck trauma physiology, and return to wholeness.

— Kim Torrence, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD

I incorporate body-focused techniques to help clients to be present with their experiences, clarify their emotional experience, and process through emotions that have been "trapped" in their bodies.

— Michael Johnson, Psychologist in Gilbert, AZ

I could have spent my whole life talking about trauma instead of moving it through. As a student who stumbled into the field, I was its biggest critic. I wanted evidence that the body mattered. In my most profound relationships now as client or healer, we don't talk a lot & the evidence is right there in the ability to process & release pain without analysis paralysis. I lead folx to learn from their own body how stress shapes the way they walk the world & they let it lead them toward freedom

— Sarah Kendrick, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR

Through art, breath and energy work we work with the body to help clients feel more grounded, present and calm.

— Celine Redfield, Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

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, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

Somatic Experiencing techniques are some of my favorite to use in session. Our bodies keep the score of every event we have endured, and connecting the emotional to the physical can be a powerful, moving experience. You might be turned off by this approach or thinking "I don't feel my emotions physically". That is okay. I can help you work towards building that awareness and unlocking the power your body holds.

— Hailey Hughes, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

Somatic Psychotherapy is a process that honors and incorporates the intelligence of both our bodies and minds. By examining the ways in which thoughts and feelings are related to physical sensations, we develop a more nuanced understanding of ourselves in relation to the world around us. If you're open to it, I'll guide you through simple movement exercises to help increase body awareness, and we'll talk together about how what you feel in your body relates to what is going on in your life.

— Rachel Fernbach, Therapist in Brooklyn, NY

Somatic psychotherapy begins with the premise that our bodies are always communicating. In a society telling us to "be logical" and "use our heads," it is no wonder rooted in principles reflecting a mind-body split, rife with body-shame and

— Ashley Gregory, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

You're probably way too in your head about it. Your body does SO much. Have you tried thanking it? Humor me with this: identify a part of your body you are grateful for. Then THANK IT and notice how it feels to appreciate it. It takes a lot more work and energy to NOT be friends with your body 💜

— Megan Herrington, Psychotherapist in CHICAGO, IL

The mind and the body are intricately connected; with the body holding its own memory. Somatic work can aid in a holistic focus where the two worlds can work together to facilitate healing.

— Brittney George, Licensed Professional Counselor in , VA

I have been trained in Hakomi, Inner Relationship Focusing, Somatic Abolitionism and currently being trained in Somatic Attachment Therapy. These certifications require extensive practice of the practitioner to being intensely aware of their own body and nervous system to better support the client into a place of compassionate awareness. Throughout Somatic Abolitionism training, I've done specific work around my racial identity as a white-body to foster a more embodied anti-racist practice.

— Erica Lima, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach,, CA

We all experience emotions through our bodies. Body-centered allows a deeper level of clarity about your feelings, and a more direct way of engaging with them.

— Abigail Thompson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

For many people, simply talking about an issue doesn't get at the core of the feeling, experience or emotion. We all feel emotions in our bodies in different ways - perhaps you clench your fists or tighten your stomach muscles or get headaches - these are clues that I welcome as part of therapy. In my work using movement to explore where an issue resides the body, I have seen profound healing occur when the body's experiences are acknowledged and explored.

— Lee Padden, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Temecula, CA

Body Psychotherapy is holistic; it takes the entire human being and his/her/their life experiences into account. It offers mindful consideration to the crucial role of the body in the structure and process of the psyche. During a session, I pay close attention to sensation and body states, which allow unconscious material to manifest and possibly be worked with using breath, spatial awareness, consented therapeutic touch, movement, sensation, and imagery.

— Lina Návar, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

Most of us have learned to ignore the body to keep up with demands of the outer world. We cut ourselves off from our wisdom, memories, feelings & intuition, driving ourselves so far from our nature that the body is forced to get our attention through dis-ease. We fear caving in to human fragility in an age prizing immortality & machines, yet great healing, love & unexpected fulfillment come when we have the humility & courage to listen to, follow & trust the body.

— Jen-Mitsuke Peters, Mental Health Counselor in Denver, CO

Somatic therapy is the physical underlying prompting of all emotion and action. It is physically felt through the vagus nerve (12th cranial nerve in the brain) throughout our whole body. When you develop awareness of your sensations you can learn how to “feel” feelings in a completely new way. It is like having another sense. Once you have this sense, you can develop techniques that make moving through emotions, trauma, eating disorders and other “intense” states a breeze. It is fun and easy!

— Yoni Banayan, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Las Vegas, NV

Somatic Experiencing therapy is a highly effective and proven body-centered approach to healing stress disorders and trauma. Because trauma is held in the body as well as the mind, talking is not enough. By helping the nervous system regulate itself and for you to feel safe, somatic therapy allows you to slowly release trauma from your body and tap into your capacity to heal and become resilient.

— Stephanie Book Koehler, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Our bodies hold important information, when we're able to listen. I've done trainings with Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk , and integrate their valuable lessons into my therapeutic work. We will get "centered" at the beginning of every session, slowing down and noticing the important experiences that we have in our core, in that "place without words." By listening closely to our emotions, paired with our thoughts, we find greater clarity and the energy we need for change and growth.

— Joseph Hovey, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY

For the past three years, I have been studying Somatic Experiencing® (SE™), which is a body-oriented trauma healing model that focuses on resolving trauma in the body and regulating the nervous system. I was introduced to this model of therapy through my own healing journey and was so impacted by it that I began to study it so I could offer it to others. You can learn more about SE here:

— Negin Naraghi, Associate Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

Somatic therapy is body-centered therapy and helps to understand the connection between stress, emotions, mental wellbeing, and physical processes. Physical pain and illness can manifest as a result of chronic stress and trauma and healing needs to encompass the entire system. We can learn to listen to our bodies, to our feelings and sensations and use movement to process energies and regain a connection to ourself.

— Jessica Eden, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Arvada, CO