January 3, 2024
Imagine standing at the edge of a serene lake. The world around you is bathed in the soft glow of dawn. As you close your eyes, the chatter of your thoughts begins to fade, and it’s replaced by the symphony of sensations within you:
In this moment, you’re more than just a passive observer of the world. You’re deeply connected to your body and mind. This is the essence of somatic therapy – a journey into the rich tapestry of sensations that lie beyond our dominant sense of sight.
In a visually dominant world, it’s easy to overlook the profound wisdom that lies within your body. But your journey in life (and toward healing) is about more than what meets the eye – it’s about rediscovering the wisdom that lives within your body.
By using somatic therapy, you can start your journey toward inner clarity and peace.
Somatics is a body-centric therapeutic approach. The focus is on what you’re experiencing in your body and mind – as well as the connection between the two. Sometimes, it’s even referred to as body psychotherapy.¹
When you experience a traumatic event, it isn’t just your mind that holds on to the experience. Your body does, too. So, the goal of somatic therapy is to explore how your body holds (and processes) emotions, stress, thoughts, and memories.
Somatic therapy also teaches you how to listen to your body’s signals. As I mention to my clients – your body is a wise storyteller. But you have to pay attention and learn its language so you can understand the signals it’s sending you.
This approach differs from traditional talk therapy because somatic therapy treats your body and mind as equal – whereas talk therapy focuses more on thoughts and behaviors. It’s also most effective when it comes to addressing trauma and stress-related issues. Because it encourages you to release tension and foster a deeper mind-body connection.²
With somatic therapy, the emphasis is on your body’s sensations – what it feels and how that relates to your mind. But what exactly does this mean? Are you simply focusing on your five senses?
Let’s dive a little deeper into somatic sensations.
Your somatic sensory system is a network that allows you to feel physical sensations like pressure, heat, cold, and pain. These sensations are crucial for your survival and well-being. They alert you to danger, help you navigate your environment, and inform you about your internal physical state.
But it’s important to understand what somatic sensations are – and how they differ from your five standard senses.
Somatic sensations focus on the internal experiences of your body – rather than external stimuli (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). Some examples of these sensations include:
By monitoring these sensations, you have the “ability to identify the shapes and textures of objects, monitor the internal and external forces acting on [your] body at any moment, and detect potentially harmful circumstances.”³
The somatic sensations you experience are distinct from your five senses – these sensations are specifically related to the body and its internal state. Whereas sensory experiences, or what you learn from your five senses, include all the inputs you receive from the world around you, such as:
With these kinds of sensory experiences, you’re bombarded by external stimuli that can distract you from what you’re feeling in your body. It makes it difficult to focus and stay mindfully present in your body.
Sight, especially, tends to be a dominant distraction for most of us. Many of my clients rely heavily on what they see – and their perception of the world and themselves is centered around this idea.
But when you take this away, it allows you to get out of your head – and back into your body. Because your vision can’t see what your body is truly telling you.
Learning through your senses is a fundamental aspect of being human. Your senses are constantly providing you with information and guiding your interactions with the world.
But your somatic sensory system (and somatic therapy) isn’t just about physical responses. It also plays a critical role in how you emotionally react to different situations.⁴ Your brain isn’t just observing the signals your body sends – it’s also interpreting them.
When you pay attention to your somatic sensations, you can gain insights into your mental and emotional needs, too. This understanding can lead to:
This interplay between the body and mind is crucial in somatic therapy, where the goal is to achieve emotional balance and clarity through bodily awareness. It’s not just about what you feel. But how you interpret and respond to these feelings on a deeper, bodily level.
Somatic sensations have a significant role in regulating your emotions. By becoming attuned to the somatic sensory system, you can better understand and manage your feelings. This awareness allows you to respond to emotional challenges in a more balanced and mindful way.
Somatic therapy is a powerful tool for managing anxiety, stress, and other emotional states – while providing a pathway to emotional healing and resilience.²
To support you on your somatic journey, I offer a unique blend of services that can help you discover the profound insights your body holds. So I invite you to book a session with me for one of these services:
Let me hold space for you as you discover the transformative power of tuning into your body’s wisdom with somatic therapy.