Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy, including Somatic Experiencing and Hakomi therapy, helps people suffering from psychological trauma to recover and live a trauma-free life. Derived from the Greek word “soma,” meaning “living body,” somatic therapy focuses on the mind-body connection.

What is Somatic Therapy?

As a body-centered therapy, somatic therapy examines the mind-body connection, combining psychotherapy and physical therapies to promote holistic healing. Thus, somatic therapy practitioners use mind-body connection exercises and other physical techniques, including somatic trauma therapy and Hakomi therapy. These techniques help people release repressed tension that is negatively affecting their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. As a result, somatic therapy has proven to be particularly useful in treating trauma.

By combining traditional talk therapy with body-based therapy, Somatic Experiencing helps people heal by working with the body, not just the mind. Somatic Experiencing assists trauma survivors to be more aware of trauma’s impact on the body. Subsequently, techniques like deep breathing and meditation help to relieve symptoms. Thus, somatic trauma therapy promotes healing.

Research by Peter A. Levine, PhD, led to the Somatic Experiencing approach to trauma therapy. Hakomi therapy was founded in 1981 by Ron Kurtz, and incorporates many of Levine’s techniques to explore the mind-body connection. By helping people achieve deeper insight, somatic trauma therapy leads to self-awareness and self-regulation. Moreover, somatic therapy emphasizes safety and offers access to the inner self, leading to positive change.

Sources: Psychology TodayHakomi InstituteFrontiers of Psychology (National Institutes of Health)US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health)

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