Somatic Psychology (body mind psychotherapy, body-oriented psychotherapy, etc.) is a holistic form of therapy that respects and utilizes the powerful connection between body, mind and spirit. How we are in this world, how we relate to ourselves and others, is not just purely about the mind or our thoughts, but is also deeply rooted in our bodies and our spirits. Unlike traditional talk therapy or cognitive therapy, Somatic Psychology tends to be more experiential.
Somatic Psychology has a long and rich history and is primarily derived from the theories and practices of Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst and student of Sigmund Freud. Since that time, it has been influenced by existential, humanistic and gestalt psychology, dance, movement and art therapy, family and systems theory, biology, neurology, and Far Eastern philosophy and spirituality.
Individuals seek this form of treatment for similar reasons they might look to more traditional therapy—to address stress, anxiety, depression, relationship and sexuality issues, grief and loss, addictions, trauma including abuse recovery, as well as more purely medical reasons including pain, headaches, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Somatic Psychotherapy includes many different techniques that can be utilized depending on the specific needs of each client. Such interventions can include developing mindfulness and awareness of one’s physical presence using relaxation and meditative techniques; movement in order to promote a deeper physical awareness and to expand one’s capacity to feel and express emotions; breathing techniques to increase awareness of and improve functioning of the breath.