“Somatic” is a fancy way of saying “of the body.” Somatic therapy focuses on becoming aware of physical sensations in the present moment. What do you notice in your body when you’re angry, anxious, or distressed? Connecting with those sensations can yield important insights about how you uniquely experience your emotions. Together we can practice body-based interventions to meet those sensations directly. I focus on nervous system regulation with most of my clients.
Somatic therapy is often used alongside cognitive (thought-based) techniques. Panic, for example, often comes with racing thoughts along with the physical reaction. Counting the length of each inhale and exhale is just one example of how you could soothe yourself in the moment. By focusing both the mind and the body, you build your ability to ride the waves of emotion and return to a state of calm. Because each person is unique, we can work together to design techniques that best suit your individual needs.
Somatic Therapy and Chronic Illness
I find the work of Jon Kabat Zinn and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction especially helpful for people living with chronic illnesses and recurring pain. MBSR uses breathing, mindfulness meditations, and gentle movement to foster awareness and deepen relaxation. In addition, we can uncover the negative beliefs around yourself and your illness. Living with chronic illness is hard enough already — let's get shame out of the equation.
Neurodivergent Approach to Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness isn't always stillness and serenity. I love finding approaches that work with your disposition. This can include movement, stimming, visualizations, fidgeting or focusing on a comfort object, and sensory engagement. The most important part of these techniques is that they help you self soothe, not to do things the "right way." Accessibility and flexibility are my guiding principles.
Trauma Therapy & EMDR
I view trauma as any overwhelming event that is unprocessed in the nervous system. This can range from near death experiences and chronic abuse to bullying, internalized oppression, and chronic unmet support needs. You may have physical/sensory flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or images, or persistent anxiety linked to past trauma. EMDR is an 8 phase treatment protocol that focuses on self-regulation skills, reprocessing past events, and instilling positive/affirming beliefs. You can learn more about EMDR therapy here.