As a somatic therapist, somatic psychology informs the questions I ask, the way I listen, and what I watch for. Somatic psychotherapy is also known as Body Psychotherapy, somatic therapy, and body-oriented somatic psychotherapy. Hakomi and Somatic Experiencing are examples of certifications in somatic psychotherapy.
My Master’s degree is in somatic psychology, which means I studied a LOT of somatic counseling techniques. And continue to do so cause I’m a total learning geek.
I was drawn to somatic psychotherapy because I know that our bodies impact our moods. For example, people in chronic pain are typically more depressed, anxious, and irritable. I also know our moods impact our bodies. For example, when you are stressed, your digestion slows down.
Our nervous systems influence so much of our perception that we have to understand how they work in order to change what we notice about the world around us.
We like to believe that what we perceive is the truth. Even though our limbic systems filter out 90% of the information that our bodies perceive before the information ever reaches our brains.
For example, our body stops telling us that we feel our clothing against our skin because it quickly becomes irrelevant information.
We have to change what we notice in order to change how we feel about things.
In a garden, one person notices the flowers and experiences the garden as a beautiful place. Another notices the bees and experiences the garden as a terrifying place.
As a somatic therapist, I can help you: Stay calm when noticing the bees. Come up with a plan for how keep yourself safe around the bees. And notice the flowers as well as the bees.
Dr. Dan Siegel developed interpersonal neurobiology (aka relational neurobiology) to discuss the impact of relationships on our bodies. Including our nervous systems. He discusses the more intense impact of our earliest relationships with our caregivers. These interactions create our attachment styles.
He refers to bodymind because he does not believe the body and mind are separate.
He discusses neuroplasticity, which describes how much our brains can change. Even as adults. Specifically, how our brains are changed by our current experiences with other people.
These are the concepts I use in relational therapy or relational psychodynamic therapy. Relational counseling creates healing through the relationship between the client and the relational therapist. Helping the client to develop an earned secure attachment style.
Healing in relational psychotherapy helps my clients go on to create healthier relationships with others in their lives.
Relational therapy overlaps with somatic psychotherapy because the mind and body are not separate. Creating relational somatic psychotherapy.
The beauty of relational somatic psychotherapy is that I will likely notice things in your story that you didn’t. Because our brains are different. Because our experiences have been different.
For example, you may tell me a story about being terrified of bees in the garden. And I may comment how glad I was that you had a friend who guided you away from the bees when you froze up.
Developmental somatic psychotherapy
Developmental somatic psychotherapy focuses on your earliest experiences with your caregivers, when you were going through the stages of development. Such as crawling, standing, walking, and talking.
Our bodies hold patterns that we learned from interactions with our caregivers during our early development.
For example, you’re a toddler and you see a toy that you really want. You start to reach for it and somebody tells you no. You reach for it again and they tell you no. Next, you start to reach for it again. And you stop to see if somebody is going to tell you no, which they do. The next time you want to reach for it, you tense up your shoulder to stop yourself before anybody else even has a chance to tell you no.
During developmental somatic psychotherapy, we can identify those tension patterns. And start to work with them in order to identify the internalized messages that stop you from reaching for what you really want.
The next step is practicing reaching for something you really want. And then working through your internal resistance.
Then you can reach for what you want with ease.
“Understand that the past cannot and will not take you down. If it didn’t then, it certainly can’t now.” -Maggie Lyon
Somatic trauma therapy or relational therapy for trauma
Many of the experiences that we hold in our body are from traumatic interactions with others.
For example, hating it when people touch your ankles because somebody pinned your ankle down to rape you. Or feeling pain in your shoulder because you stopped yourself from hitting someone back. Because you knew that you would get hurt worse if you did so. Or feeling uncomfortable in your body because you were left alone to cry as a baby.
Somatic trauma therapy helps you to release experiences that are held in your body or complete movements that weren’t safe for you to do at the time.
Many people read The Body Keeps the Score and then seek a therapist who can help them using those approaches. That’s what I do as a somatic trauma therapist.
Relational therapy for trauma helps by giving you new experiences of safety within a relationship. This helps replace what your brain learned about relationships during the traumatic experience. I can help create safety for you as a somatic therapist.
Online Somatic therapy in colorado
Somatic psychotherapy is just effective online as in person. Most of my clients prefer to work on these themes by talking about them. Which doesn’t change when we are doing online therapy. I can send you home with the same behaviors or communication skills to practice as I would if we met in person.
I may ask you to be farther from the camera so I can watch your body movements as we talk or use physical techniques.
We won’t be able to do some of the more physical techniques together. Such as you pushing against my hands to complete the desire to push someone away during a traumatic event. But many of my clients feel much safer experimenting with these movements in the safety of their own home rather than in my office. Or feel safer experimenting with the movements with a wall or couch first. Or with a safe friend or family member.
We can always get creative about how to make online therapy in Colorado work best for you!
Serving the Denver Metro Area, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Boulder, Grand Junction, Greeley, Pueblo and the entire state with online therapy in Colorado. I do not see clients at my home-based office located in Brighton, CO.