The body is the center of our experience. Somatic Psychotherapy can help us integrate our subconscious experience, and make what we think and how we feel more cohesive. As a therapist, I teach my clients to understand and relate to their sensations and emotions. In this process, we are able to modify old patterns and habits, control stress levels, and resolve feelings of anxiety and depression.
How can this help?
One of the hardest experiences we might have as human beings is feeling trapped or tortured by our thoughts and emotions. We feel flooded with panic and anxiety, our thoughts start racing, and we have a hard time calming down. Other times we might feel depressed or lethargic, and struggle to complete even the most basic of tasks. Through therapeutic work we identify these patterns and we develop new neural nets, which provide alternative ways of responding to every day demands, without getting stuck in old habits and reactions.
How we act and how we feel in the present has a lot to do with what we experienced and what we learned in the past. In this sense, old wounds, unsolved trauma and our unconscious perceptions represent a threat to our well-being. As we develop a greater understanding of how our emotions and psychological patterns work, we gain freedom to make decisions, respond with flexibility and face challenges with efficacy.
How do we integrate neuroscience and mindfulness into psychotherapy?
The most recent findings in the field of neuroscientific research have helped us understand how different traumatic experiences of abuse, violence, rejection and neglect impact our brain and our development. To work with the affected parts of the brain we use specific tools that give us access to the implicit memories we need to reprocess in oder to heal trauma.
Anguish, anxiety, grief, stress and depression can be very hard to tolerate emotions. We can't really make them go away through logic and thinking. In therapy we learn how to relate to these emotions, holding them with compassion, and to regulate the activation of our nervous system in order to feel more grounded and supported.
We can learn to tame our mind, ground in the present moment, use our breathing to make difficult sensations more tolerable, and break toxic cycles. Mindfulness exercises and contemplative practices support us in this process.
Focusing on resources and resilience
Resiliency is our capacity to adapt, be flexible, and respond to the world's demands in an effective way. Pain is inevitable. Resiliency is about integrating traumatic and painful events without getting caught in detrimental cycles or being flooded by unsolved sensations.
As a therapist, I help my clients identify and grow the resources they already have in order to feel good and calm. By reinforcing these experiences we develop a sense of trust in the body, and of our own sensing and experiencing. We are then able to make contact with difficult emotions in a healing way, trusting that we can get back to a state of calm and regulation.
It can be very empowering to track the activation of our nervous system, and to have effective tools to relate to our experience without feeling triggered or overwhelmed. When we can see clearly, we find new and creative ways of dealing with life's challenges.
What does this look like in a session?
Somatic therapy integrates classic psychology methods with new techniques that help us process the sensations and emotions that come up in session. As we become more present in our bodies we develop our ability to enjoy, to love, to be in peace. As a result, we develop resiliency and flexibility to face life and ourselves. In session, the focus is on tracking sensations, exploring symptoms in the body, observing habitual movements, and tracking and working with the breathing. We integrate talk therapy with experiential exercises to create a new experience for the client.