What the heck is somatic psychotherapy?!
Well, it’s also called body-centered psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy, somatic experiencing, body-mind psychotherapy, bioenergetics, and probably many other names as well. Really, it’s just a fancy way of saying that you are going to actively engage your body while doing psychotherapy. So how do you do that?
First, you become “self-aware,” meaning that you make a practice of focusing on the feelings in your body in a very deliberate and direct way. There are multiple reasons you would want to do this, but here are two.
- You increase your capacity to tolerate more intense feelings in your body, so your feelings rarely, if ever, overwhelm you. Basically, you’re more “chill,” without trying to be.
- Your ability to focus improves. In other words, the chatter in your head subsides and the “squirrels” don’t catch your attention as easily.
Getting good at self-awareness can take a while. That’s because there are lots of feelings inside us that we have been programmed through repeated learning experiences to block out or “dissociate” from. Thankfully, the more frequently you pay attention to your feelings, the faster you will build your capacity to tolerate them.
At the same time as you’re getting good at recognizing feelings in your body, you will also be practicing self-expression. Letting out the feelings in your body.
Letting out feelings is almost always difficult for us since we live in a tough-minded, individualistic, civilized society. Some of the most difficult feelings to let out in our society are sadness, anger, longing, and neediness. Your personality and unique experience with the people who raised you will determine which feelings are most difficult for you to recognize and express.
Once you recognize and can express the feelings in your body, your final goal in somatic psychotherapy is to be able to choose when and how you express the feelings in your body. It’s called self-possession.
That doesn’t mean “talking yourself out” of a feeling you’re having and holding it in your body with chronic muscular contraction. It means living with the experience of a feeling “in the moment,” then getting yourself to a place where you can eliminate the energy of the feeling from your body using tools you’ve learned in the process of somatic psychotherapy.
Rather than teaching you to “will away” your feelings with your mind, thereby trapping them in your body, somatic psychotherapy will teach you how to tolerate higher levels of feeling and then move it through your body. You will be free from the burden of the feelings for good. This translates to more energy for your daily life, better relationships and the experience for you of being seen as having a lot of poise.
Interested in this powerful tool? Call me, we’ll talk.
p.s. You can also grab a free copy of the introduction of my new book, Emotional Utopia, Stop Searching For Happiness And Start Living It. You’ll learn a whole lot more about somatic psychotherapy there.