what is somatic therapy?
On July 1, 2018, I wrote a blog post called “The Truth Teller.” It was a piece on the intelligence of the body – body wisdom. Over the last few years, I have come to greatly appreciate and to depend on the body as a messenger of truth, the bringer of clarity, the well-spring of loving wisdom. The truth is, it knows more than we do. By this, I mean it knows more than our brain’s ability to answer life’s most essential questions.
The frontal lobe is a remarkable feat of evolution. It is what put a man on the moon, what produced the Salk vaccine, it is what conceptualized the world-wide-web and the Human Rights Movement. It’s what organizes our days, what allows us to analyze data, to predict through statistics, but it is absolutely ineffective at answering questions about the soul – the deepest, truest aspect of the self: Who am I? What is truth? What is love? What is the ultimate nature of reality? Those are the questions we bump up against when we hit a block in the road, when the way forward is unclear, when all our programmed resources are no longer enough. When we find ourselves up against a dead-end, the problem-solving mind is not too helpful, although it really wants to be. Present it with a problem and it immediately jumps in to solve it – through analysis and statistics, through the scientific method. It’s brilliant in that sense, it’s just that analysis and statistics and the scientific method can’t bring us to authentic clarity or peace of mind or an expansive heart. For that, we have to drop down out of our heads and into our bodies, our hearts and our deep intuition.
As a therapist, I help clients access this reservoir of wisdom through a process called Somatic Experiencing – a therapeutic process that moves clients out of their story-telling minds, out of their conceptual thinking and their frantic monkey-minds into their felt-sense of things - the relationship between emotions and physical sensations.
Following the trail of emotions and corresponding physical sensations often has a way of leading the client back to childhood wounding or to a fresh new insight or to a deep experience of loving wisdom that resides in the heart, creating connections with lost parts of the self. Rather than merely bringing greater cognitive understanding, an inner integration takes place that is felt experientially and registered in the cells. And it is this cellular experience of connection that brings the potential for healing.