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What Is Somatic Therapy
Somatic Therapy is a form of healing that encourages people to get in touch and develop greater awareness of their own connection between the mind and body. With this awareness you have the potential to develop greater capability to heal and recover from trauma and other issues.
Co-regulating touch is a type of somatic therapy that helps facilitate healing via hands on touch.
According to Healthline Somatics ” describes any practice that uses the mind-body connection to help you survey your internal self and listen to signals your body sends about areas of pain, discomfort, or imbalance.”
Somatics was coined by Thomas Hanna, an educator in the field. It describes a number of techniques that share one important similarity: The purpose of somatic therapy is to help others increase bodily awareness with movement and relaxation.
How Does It Work?
There are many different types of somatic therapy, but the gist of it is to help you get in touch with yourself and help guide along healing and recovery with a number of ailments. It’s therapy, but just a different modality. Maira Holzmann who I had the honor of having on the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast has been a somatic experiencing practitioner for more than a decade and she describes it as – co-regulating touch.
So essentially what she does and again this maybe different for other practitioners, but Maira says she may place her hand on the client’s back while they are sharing. She may hold them and embrace them. She may put her hand on their arm to offer a sense of deep connectivity and warmth.
And also helps activate their own nervous system to begin to sense and feel their own body in a way to gauge more clearly where the pain resides.
Pain and residual trauma always resides somewhere within the biology as well.
So somatics offers patients a way to tap in so they can become more sensing and more feeling and go inward to help resolve pain.
Why Is Somatic Therapy Effective?
Somatic therapy is effective not only because this form of therapy allows patients to feel a deeper sense of connection with their therapist, but because it gives you a deeper sense of connection to self. You become more aware of the feelings within by being able to bring the mind body connection more to the fore. Touch is a powerful means to connection and when someone is holding you and offering that level of warmth there is a profound physiological things that occur.
The healings seems to not only be expedited, but more rigorous. There is a greater level of comfort when we go beyond sitting face to face, but come into physical contact with someone who is listening without judgement. It’s a level of human connection that essentially we all crave.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Somatic Therapy?
Who is a good candidate for Somatic Therapy? This is one of the questions I asked Maira. It’s evident that anyone with longstanding childhood trauma is a perfect candidate for somatic therapy because they have suffered grave emotional neglect and need it the most.
Top 3 Takeaways From Maira On Somatic Therapy And Neglect
My 3 very favorite takeaways from my conversation with Maira are the following –
- “As I deepened my training I kept following all of these places where I needed my own healing that I didn’t. And that’s one of the things. If you’re not connected to your own body then you don’t know all of the things that are housed in there and that’s also what makes it scary kind of work, especially with trauma………healing sometimes I think people get afraid cause it takes a lot of effort and that’s true especially in the beginning……One of the things I believe about the body is that it is innately powerful…..learn how to relate to their body……then the body knows how to heal itself.”
- “One of the hardest parts that comes with trauma in general is that shame is almost always connected to the trauma even exponentially so when there has been early trauma. So to define early trauma – is basically adverse experiences that created an overall sense of lack of safety in that environment in which the child grew up, now most people think of sexual abuse or physical abuse as that sort of thing and that is true and neglect is a huge part of early. What I’ve found is neglect is often swept under the rug cause it’s not this super obvious thing that my parents broke my bones or hurt me. Sometimes it isn’t even that parents say mean things or treat their children with contempt. Neglect can be a just a pervasive lack of attending to of not just the basic needs, but the emotional needs.”
- “One of the big deep why’s about my business and wanting to help people heal from trauma and anxiety is there’s this goal to support people to be of service in the world. We need healthy regulated people to support others to do the same.”
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