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Sep 4

Everything You Need to Know about Somatic Psychology

Somatic psychology, also known as somatic psychotherapy or body psychotherapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the body in order to treat psychological problems such as traumas, depression, anxiety and many others. This type of therapy was developed based on the ideas of Wilhelm Reich. He was a German psychiatrist who laid the foundation for somatic psychotherapy through some therapy methods which were quite unconventional at the time. He based his practice on the fact that a lot of psychological disorders manifest in the body as chronic muscular tensions. In time, this type of therapy evolved way beyond Reich’s initial findings, but the foundation remains the same: the mind affects the body, and the body can also affect the mind. So, somatic psychotherapists try to heal the mind by also including the body in the therapy.

The basics of somatic psychology

Somatic psychology can be used to treat many modern day psychological traumas. The main problem with psychological traumas is that many of the people who suffer from them, can rationally understand that they have problems. However, while they are trying to heal themselves mentally, they continue to hold their bodies in a constant tension. Without releasing the physical pain and tension, they continue to hold on to the psychological traumas.

Common somatic therapy practices

The greatest taboo regarding this type of therapy is touching. However, not all types of somatic therapy involve touching. While there are a wide variety of therapeutic exercises included in this type of therapy, the somatic field focuses on a few key practices.

  • Non-verbal communication – This focuses on teaching people the importance of non-verbal communication, how to release tension by safely giving in to some of their instinctive gestures.
  • Awareness – This practice focuses on mastering emotional energy and body sensation. It aims to teach patients how to recognize and own all their emotions and bodily experiences.
  • Surfacing disavowed emotions – Previously disavowed emotions are among the main causes of bodily tension, and by carefully and respectfully awakening and releasing these emotions, one can let go on much of that bodily tension and mental trauma.
  • Exploring the psychological causes of bodily tension – Each person’s body reacts differently to trauma and it is important to explore all the psychological motives that can cause the bodily tension.
  • Discovering the power of posture and gestures – By creating meaningful narratives around gestures and posture, one can discover and explore the importance of these concepts.




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