Traumatic events such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and natural disasters cause chronic stress. Most people sometimes encounter trauma, which they can heal with time and assistance. However, it can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting in sleep disturbances, weakness, detachment, and intrusive memories of the events.
Treatments for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, and trauma-focused talk therapy (psychotherapy). However, not everyone finds success with these strategies. That’s where complementary therapies like somatic therapy could be valuable.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of understanding and utilizing somatic therapies, assisting you in overcoming mental, emotional, and physical obstacles and regaining a sense of self-awareness.
It is brimming with advice on becoming self-aware and in tune with your body. You’ll understand how your body responds to emotions and the environment and how to use somatic therapies to lower stress and improve self-esteem.
What Is Somatic Therapy?
By utilizing the link between the mind and body, somatic therapy—also referred to as somatic experiencing therapy—aims to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological and emotional conditions. This body-centric method functions by assisting in the body’s release of tension, anxiety, and trauma.
In contrast to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which primarily addresses the mind, somatic therapy employs body-oriented techniques like dancing, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote mental healing. Somatic experiencing therapy sessions also include mind-body exercises and conversational therapy.
Types Of Somatic Therapy
Somatic experiencing therapy is the most popular and fundamental type of somatic therapy. As in other mental health therapies, patients talk about their issues during this session.
Somatic therapists help people focus on the root cause of bodily sensations rather than just talking about them. Then, the mind-body exercises could involve sensation consciousness work, therapeutic massage, grounding, breathing techniques, meditation, visualization, and dance.
Outside the traditional somatic therapy, many subgroups apply its framework in specific manners. Among them are:
It is a body-centered strategy designed to address the physical manifestations of unresolved trauma. While conventional talk therapies rely on a patient’s words as the starting point for treatment, this therapy type uses the patient’s physical experiences as a doorway to awareness and better mental health.
By assisting a patient in reliving the physical sensations linked to a traumatic event in a secure setting, therapists skilled in sensorimotor therapy techniques can start the healing process.
Brainspotting is a highly effective, targeted treatment approach that addresses emotional or body pain, trauma, dissociation, and many other challenges by locating, analyzing, and releasing the fundamental neurophysiological causes of these symptoms. Brainspotting is a concurrent diagnostic and therapeutic approach augmented by biolateral sound, a centered, containing, deep, explicit, and potent sound.
Brainspotting is a neuroscientific tool to support a therapeutic relationship. Brainspotting is a tool to neurobiologically identify, focus, manage, and discharge experiences and signals that are typically beyond the conscious mind’s cognitive and linguistic reach within a therapeutic relationship.
Biodynamic psychotherapy is a supplementary, somatic therapy that focuses on the body and the mind to promote general well-being. Practitioners assist you in achieving a profoundly safe and relaxed state by combining talking therapy with bodywork.
Emotional cycle finalization is a fundamental component of biodynamic psychological therapy. This therapy helps you feel grounded and express optimistic emotions, which may not be accessible if anything interrupts the cycle at a crucial stage.
Bioenergetic analysis centers on the idea that the human body and mind are one, and it looks at the energy that moves between them to discover areas of discord or distress and work toward bringing your entire self into balance.
A bioenergetic analyst will collaborate with you to pinpoint the locations in your body where mental or physical distress appears and the reasons behind them. They will then utilize a blend of bodywork, relational therapy, and psychoanalysis to assist you in reintegrating your physiological reactions.
It is a crucial step toward overcoming negative emotions, actions, phobias, compulsive behaviors, and attitudes that take away from living and lead to a more positive and fully embodied state of being.
Somatic Therapy Techniques
The foundation of somatic therapy is that your body and mind store memories of the events in your life. It is a holistic approach to therapy, emphasizing the talk of your issues and the physical experiences in your body. Approaches somatic therapists employ include:
Developing body awareness is necessary before cellular change can occur. Patients gain the ability to recognize and name areas of tension and constriction and emotions and actions that support safety and tranquility.
One way to start working toward proper body alignment is to practice softening a “hunched” back into a more raised posture.
Here, a therapist leads you from a calm state to one reminiscent of your traumatic encounter. You may be able to let go of the stored energy by having it repeated multiple times. As you release the energy, you might experience uneasiness or nervousness. Your therapist will lead you back to a calm state each time. You will eventually become adept at relaxing on your own.
It entails thinking back on the things in your life, like your relationships, your best traits, or even a memorable vacation destination that gives you a sense of security. It can consist of anything that soothes you. The positive emotions and experiences connected to your resources return to you, providing an emotional anchor.
Co-Regulation & Self-Regulation
Co-regulation is the ability to control your emotions when interacting with other people. In attachment-focused therapies, the therapist helps the client who is anxious or disengaged to relax by using mirror neurons. People can better control their emotions when they can relate to the affection, stability, and caring of others.
Self-regulation is when you learn how to calm yourself down without help. Everyone requires comfort from others and the capacity to control oneself when necessary.
You will acquire co-regulation strategies to make use of close relationships while controlling your stress and anxiety and self-regulation methods to help navigate challenging emotions.
Harmonizing Your Mind & Body With Somatic Therapy
Somatic therapy places a high value on the emergence of internal resources to help people self-regulate their emotions and move past the fight/flight/freeze reaction to a higher-functioning mode where they may reason better.
Somatic therapy helps patients release residual anxiety, frustration, rage, and other sentiments from past undesirable events by raising the consciousness of the mind-body connection and utilizing targeted interventions.
The ultimate objective is to free the person from the constraints that keep them from participating fully in their lives.