There are hundreds of types of therapy. You may have heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, EMDR or Internal Family Systems Therapy.
When there are so many ways to approach therapy why choose somatic psychotherapy?
Briefly, somatic therapy is the practice healing the nervous system through the physical experience of the body. Together, the client and therapist listen to what the body is communicating through sensation and then both witness and co-regulate the feeling that is coming through.
There are two types of therapy: top down and bottom up. They are both valuable and both are used in somatic therapy.
Top down therapy uses the tools of the mind to rebuild neural pathways. This is commonly known as “talk therapy.” Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is one such top down approach. The numerous studies on mindfulness demonstrate how effective this type to therapy can be.
Bottom up therapy uses the information in the body to process what is being held in the body-mind-spirit. The client and therapist explore what is experienced in the body in the, which is often attached to an experience of the past. It is about paying attention to what is arising in the present moment. When a sensation arises, it can tell us about what has yet to be processed and may need to be seen and heard.
Somatic therapy enlists the help of other types of therapy, such as relational therapy and mindfulness. Somatic therapy relies on creating a safe space for therapist and client to explore. Mindfulness is paramount, because it is a constant return to the present moment.
The effects of bottom up therapy tend to be a little more sticky, but it depends on the person whether or not somatic therapy is a good fit.
For my work, listening to the body has been nothing short of miraculous.
If somatic therapy is something that you are interested in, check my therapy page for openings in the Seattle area (or Telehealth in greater Washington or Illinois) or go to Psychology Today, put in your zip code, and search “Somatic” under “Type of Therapy.”
"Your body hears everything your mind says." - Naomi Judd
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.