‘Soma’ is a Greek word meaning ‘the body’. In somatic psychotherapy we integrate traditional talk therapy with body awareness and we are also trained to use therapeutic touch if and when it is appropriate to do so on an individual client basis.
Somatic psychotherapy is grounded in the belief that mind, soma (body) and psyche (soul) form a single holistic entity. Thought, emotion and bodily experience are understood as inter-functioning aspects of the person’s whole being. This holistic form of treatment offers a more profound way of working together that can help deepen a sense of connection to oneself and to others.
As well as working verbally in the relationship with the client, somatic psychotherapists are trained to engage directly with the client’s dynamic bodily experience. This includes patterns of breathing, posture, sensation and movement, and also working with body image, metaphor and through touch when or if appropriate.
Body-oriented psychotherapy can be used to facilitate exploration and expression and to develop self-awareness and self-regulation. Somatic psychotherapy can improve body sensing, relieve stress, balance the nervous system, mobilise posture, explore patterns of contraction and expansion and foster a sense of vitality, aliveness and movement.
Psychotherapy can soothe anger and distress, celebrate joys and achievements, unravel and ease shame, make space for grief, help build tolerance for changing states of being. It can enhance a person’s resilience in the face of adversity and promote their ability to trust and engage with others.