Healing through the body requires you to focus on releasing physical and emotional pain. Your overall well-being will improve as you develop your mind-body connection. So, you’ll want to read through this guide to get started on your healing journey.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
1. Understand What Somatic Therapy Is
First, you’ll want to know more about somatic therapy to understand how it will help you. Somatic treatment focuses on the connection everyone has between their mind and body. It addresses stress and trauma through the body’s sensations.
Many people feel that it works well to heal trauma, assist with anxiety, reduce stress, and even improve mental health overall.
Somatic therapy relies on the idea that trauma is stored in the body. If you can release it healthily, you’ll be on the road to recovery.
2. Consider Working With a Professional
You’ll want to consider working with a professional during your somatic therapy journey. Before you search for an expert, you’ll want to think about the specific issues you wish to address through this therapy and set goals.
Knowing what you want to achieve beforehand can help determine which therapists will be right for you. Next, you’ll want to check online and see what therapists are in your area. There are plenty of online directories that you can use as well. We also recommend asking your loved ones for recommendations.
Before your first session with a somatic therapist, checking their credentials to know they’re legit is good. You can usually find this information by looking them up online. You need to find out if the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute recognizes them. They might also be a United States Association for Body Psychotherapy or USABP member.
Why Work With a Somatic Therapist?
There are several reasons to work with a somatic therapist. While you can practice on your own using online tools, an expert can help you better address the trauma stored in your body. They’ll help you build a stronger mind-body connection and teach you how to manage your stress.
These professionals have more experience, allowing them to teach you everything you need to know. When you work with them, you can take an active stance in your self-healing journey.
3. Learn the Basics of Somatic Therapy
Next, you’ll want to learn the basics of somatic therapy. These skills will help you in your everyday life. Getting comfortable with them before heading to your first session is also a good idea so you know what to expect.
Self-Awareness or Embodiment
Somatic therapy requires you to become more self-aware or embodied, meaning you practice becoming more aware of your emotions and how they impact your body. You’ll learn to recognize how stress and trauma manifests itself in you, which can be very different for everyone.
Breathwork is a potent tool you’ll rely on in somatic therapy. You’ll practice mindful breathing, which can help you reconnect with your body and reduce stress. There are plenty of breathwork exercises that you’ll learn.
You’ll also learn many different grounding exercises that you can use in your daily life. These techniques can help when you feel nervous or anxious. They allow you to remain present and relaxed.
Body Scanning Techniques
These strategies teach you to be more aware of your body and allow you to check for pain or tension. You’ll feel more in tune with your physical self, helping you to practice more somatic techniques.
Somatic therapy also encourages gentle, mindful movements. You’ll do Tai Chi, Yoga, and other low-stress workouts to help you reconnect with your body and release tension. Many of these exercises also focus on building more bodily awareness, which is helpful throughout all aspects of somatic therapy.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Somatic therapy will integrate itself into the rest of your life. You’ll need to learn to treat yourself with patience and compassion while caring for your physical body. You must get enough good sleep, have a healthy diet, and get daily activity in. Much of somatic therapy focuses on helping you to take care of your physical and emotional well-being.
4. Practice Expressing Your Emotions
Somatic therapy also encourages you to experience your emotions without guilt and observe them. You’ll learn their origin, allowing you to process them better.
It also teaches that many emotions come through in a physical form. You’re encouraged to move in ways that feel good to you to help you express your feelings. For example, you might jump, shake, or make noise to convey an emotion.
Somatic therapy believes that holding on to negative emotions can cause tension and harm in your body. It may take a while to feel comfortable expressing yourself, mainly since most of us are used to hiding what we feel.
5. Guided Meditation Sessions
Meditation sessions where you work with the therapist are standard with somatic therapy. However, These sessions focus more on the body than other types of therapy. During these sessions, you’ll turn inward to “watch” your body and be as aware of it as possible.
For example, you’ll focus on your breath, how the tips of your fingers and toes feel, or the rhythm of your heart. These are all normal body functions and feelings. By paying closer attention to them, you’ll feel much more connected to your physical side.
Practicing daily will benefit you most and help you take a break during a stressful day. You don’t even need to dedicate that much time to it. Usually, 10 minutes a day is more than enough time to meditate.
There are plenty of free videos on YouTube for you to listen to when you can’t see a somatic therapist in person.
Somatic Therapy Demystified: Connect With Your Body
Now, you should understand precisely what somatic therapy is and what techniques you can use to release trauma from your body. This therapy style focuses on building a solid mind-body connection, so you’ll learn many ways to achieve that goal.