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What is Somatic Psychotherapy?

Soma means “the body”

Psycho means “the mind”

We all have innate survival and connection drives. If we face a dangerous situation, our body prompts us into a fight, flight, or freeze mode. This happens so quickly, often it is not a conscious thought – our body just takes over.

Neuroception is a term that describes the constant scanning our body does in our environment, looking for danger. If it senses something, our body will tense up, and we experience anxiety and fear. Our mind then ends up trying to make sense of why we feel the way we do.

Simply put, somatic psychotherapy is the study

of the connection

between the body and the mind.

Scientific research has proven that, as humans, we store our memories, experiences, and emotions on a cellular level. This means when you are over-thinking, anxious, or shutting down, it’s not “all in your head” – our bodies hold data from our past. You may have feelings of body anxiety without any anxious thoughts. Or you may not feel safe in your own skin on certain occasions, even if there is no apparent reason. Oftentimes, your body is reminded of something (even when your mind is not aware), and it sends an alert or danger signal to your mind.

If you have gone through traumatic events in your life, had a childhood where you felt unsafe, or if you have a particularly sensitive nature, your central nervous system may be ‘on guard’ most of the time, sending you these messages of fight, flight, or freeze.

Somatic therapy was created to help trauma survivors find relief. Over the past few years, somatic therapy has been very effective for individuals who struggle with relationships and intimacy, mistrust, perfectionism, people pleasing, parenting skills, anxiety or depression, and for those who feel a lack of security or other emotional struggles.

Somatic therapy is often called a “bottom-up” approach because it engages body awareness as a powerful tool. “Top-down” therapeutic approaches typically involve talk therapy sessions that analyze thinking errors. In somatic work, we learn to pay attention to your posture, gestures, muscular patterns, and physical sensations. Then, we engage the body and breath in a certain way that can help you find balance and regulate emotions.

If you have been in therapy and feel stuck, adding somatic therapy and engaging the relationship between mind, body, brain, and behavior will help you calm your nervous system and create more ease in the healing process.

Beginning June 6th, Sovegna will be offering a six-week group called, “Healing your Body and Mind: A bottom-up approach to stress relief, starting with your body.” Led by Mel Tillack, LCSW, this group runs every Tuesday evening (with the exception of July 4th) until July 18th from 6:00 – 7:30pm at Sovegna. This class will teach you:

  • How to regulate your central nervous system.

  • How tools like supportive breath, posture, and gentle movement can change your brain.

  • How to trust your body and find a sense of calm.

  • How to tap into your inner wisdom, putting yourself on a path for your unique healing.

  • The journey back to your body, health, and wisdom.

Seating is limited. Call us at (385) 429-9808 today to reserve your spot.


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