Integrative Somatic Psychotherapy
The use of Somatic Focus in therapy allows us to integrate the body (Soma) sensations with the mind thoughts and the emotions. When we ‘see’ the body as part of the Self (rather than the Mind as the Self), then we naturally consider integrating the body into treatment. When the body is split off from the mind, then we can walk around in a kind of split like stressed out heads on sticks mistrusting our physical self and rely heavily on thinking and rumination. Emotions are produced in the body as sensation and interpreted by the brain as stories about how we feel. This gives us our sense of self over time. Thought, emotions and sensations are all interconnected and influence one another.
According to Sumitra Rajkumar, in her Psychology Today article, (4-5-19), “Traumatic events or pressures in our personal history can reinforce the split and make us feel quite unsafe in our bodies too. We may have adopted survival strategies that might have saved our lives at one point but then stick around and replay in our bodies as emotional habits that make us feel limited in our choice of how to be, especially when we’re under stress. Often our emotional responses can catch us by surprise or threaten us and we become reactive and less centered in ourselves, less integrated, less intentionally us.”
The use of Somatic therapy combines conversation, physical practice involving breath or movement and also a guiding focus on intentional therapeutic touch with self-directed or via the practitioner’s contact with the body’s connective tissues through table bodywork. This can be included as occasional components or the full focus in sessions depending what is called for between the client and the practitioner.
The goal is for people to connect to what it feels like to be embodied, wholly present, without the tug of past imprints that cause them to live from and out of the past. It’s about transforming into a more alive and aligned Self, living with purpose and presence. This experiential focus creates a body-based intuition that enhances integration with cognitive self-understanding. We build a coherence in the body-mind-spirit and help clients remember and connect to their resiliency. This supports the regulation of the nervous system’s defenses and develops attunement in our attachment relationships.
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