Before there are words,
there is the wordless communication
of the body.
- Michael Sangaris
‘Soma’ is the Greek word for 'body'. Somatic therapy is an experiential body-centered therapeutic approach that focuses on the connection of mind and body in the healing process. The stress of distressing and traumatic events affects the central nervous system and can cause changes and disconnection in the body. Through developing awareness of the mind-body connection and using specific interventions, somatic therapy helps you to release the activation that remains in your body from these experiences and move towards mind-body integration. Somatic therapy is helpful for treating a number of problems, including stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, as well as issues related to trauma and abuse. It can help restore safety in the body, expand capacity to process emotions and body memories, and restore balanced relationships with our embodied self and the world around us.
Although talk therapy to gain insight into life experiences can be incredibly helpful, it doesn’t always bring the nervous system back into balance. When a client is pressed to talked a traumatic event, it can actually reinforce the fear and stress that are part of the recollection. With somatic therapy, sometimes no words are needed– the body holds the story that words may be unable to express, and a new narrative can emerge through working with directly with sensations in the body. A focus on somatic awareness can also help ensure that talking about distressing experiences is a healing process, as we develop more deeply embodied understanding of our inner world.
Trauma Resiliency Model
I have been trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), which is a “bottom-up” somatic approach to therapy that focuses on the use sensory awareness for emotion regulation and integration. TRM teaches the biology of trauma responses and the practice of emotion regulation through biologically based skills. TRM works to stabilize the nervous system through managing sensations in the body, building internal resources, and the completion of thwarted stress responses. These techniques can help in the reprocessing of “stuck” traumatic memories as well as providing self-care strategies for everyday life.
To learn more about TRM, please visit the Trauma Resource Institute website: TraumaResourceInstitute.com
Integrative Somatic Parts Work
I have also been trained in Integrative Somatic Parts Work, which integrates Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) with a somatic therapy approach. IFS is based on the idea that our inner world consists of "parts", like our wounded inner child or our harsh inner critic, and that together these parts form an inner system. Each part holds emotions, perceptions, and belief systems that affect behavior and emotional well-being, and at times they conflict with each other or act in unhelpful ways. These parts can also show up as tension or ease in our different parts of the body. In somatic parts work, body-based somatic tools are incorporated into therapy as clients learn to recognize different parts of their inner world in order to bring more harmony to their physical and emotional well-being.
To learn more about IFS, please visit the IFS Institute website: IFS-Institute.com
If you are interested in somatic therapy and you live in Claremont, Upland, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Rancho Cucamonga, or one of the other surrounding cities in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, or you live elsewhere in California and want telehealth services, contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation and learn more about how I can help.