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What is Somatic Therapy ?

Updated: May 1, 2022

Somatic therapy, also known as somatic experiencing therapy, is a type of therapy that helps treat post-traumatic stress and effects from other mental health conditions. This type of therapy connects a person’s mind and body to apply psychotherapy and physical therapies during treatment.

Somatic therapy is designed to help individuals clear their minds and connect to their bodies, and it is helpful because it combines mindfulness, grounding techniques, and traditional talk therapy.

Therapists who practice somatic body psychotherapy believe a person’s inner feelings impact their physical form – they use mind-body exercises to release pent-up trauma from the mind and the body. By releasing these bodily sensations, a therapist works towards healing trauma from the inside out with this form of trauma therapy. Wondering how somatic therapy works? Read on to learn more about the techniques involved and what it’s commonly used for.

How Does Somatic Therapy Work?

It is easy to feel trapped by our own physical and emotional stress. this feeling of being trapped might also lead you to feel panicked, anxious, and unable to calm down. Traditional talk therapy can effectively address many mental and emotional health challenges, but those who practice somatic therapy believe talk therapy can benefit from paying attention to a person’s body and symptoms, which can help a person alleviate the stress and chronic pain preventing them from fully experiencing life.

Somatic Therapy approaches aim to address both your physical and mental health simultaneously so that you can find relief more quickly.

Somatic Experiencing therapy is a specific approach to somatic therapy and is based on the idea that traumatic experiences cause dysfunction in a person’s nervous system and prevent them from processing the experience. The goal of somatic experiencing therapy, therefore, is to help an individual notice physical sensations stemming from their mental health issues and use that awareness to work through painful feelings and emotions. This kind of physical sensation can be in the form of chronic pain and other unpleasant symptoms.

Over time, somatic trauma healing therapy aims to help individuals become more aware of their body and learn somatic therapy techniques to release physical tension. These can include:

  • Breathing exercises

  • Sensation awareness

  • Physical exercise

  • Dance therapy

  • Grounding exercises

The key is helping a person develop new thinking patterns and behaviors to better respond to various experiences or emotions as they come up.

When Is Somatic Therapy Used?

Somatic trauma healing therapy focuses on a person’s physical and mental connection during treatment and can be done in both an individual and a group therapy setting. This type of trauma therapy can be used to help address both physical and psychological symptoms of certain mental health issues, including:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Grief

  • Addiction

  • Trauma and abuse

  • Problems with relationships

  • Sexual function

Somatic experiencing therapy can also benefit those who have tried, but not found success with, more traditional treatment methods after a traumatic experience. These treatments can include those for physical pain, digestive disorders, sleep problems, and other medical issues. The idea of using somatic techniques is that once physical symptoms are resolved, most people will find it is easier to address psychological symptoms through the use of somatic therapy techniques.

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