What i Somatic Therapy?

There are all kinds of therapies and treatments available for those experiencing mental health issues, traumas, or other emotional problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common options used by patients. However, a relatively recent form of psychotherapy known as somatic therapy is becoming more and more popular for those experiencing challenges such as PTSD, stress, and anxiety.

The following article takes a closer look at somatic therapy, its uses, and its benefits for those experiencing mental and emotional health issues. Read on to learn more.

What is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy is a form of therapy designed to treat mental and emotional health issues through the connection between mind and body. As such, it relies on a combination of techniques such as psychotherapy and physical therapies to facilitate holistic healing in patients.

Compared to other mind-focused approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy  (CBT), somatic therapy takes a more body-centric approach. The mindset behind the practice relies on the perception of the mind and body as intimately connected. Our thoughts, emotions, and sensations are all linked together, and the key to overcoming all kinds of mental and emotional health issues lies in this. It can be used to relieve addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, and anxiety.

Types of Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy can take many forms, including:

  • Somatics: The idea that movement of the body can be used as a means to improve mental health. To some extent, this idea is encapsulated by standard practices such as yoga and pilates. Practitioners of somatics believe that through physical therapy, education, mindfulness, and intentional movement, patients can reconnect their mind-body pathways to relieve pain and stress.
  • Somatic Experiencing: Somatic experiencing posits that when people experience trauma, their mind remains “frozen” as a reaction. The frozen parts of our body and mind can accumulate energy but expend it in counterproductive ways to a healthy and happy life, manifesting as stress and anxiety. Somatic experiencing aims to release and redirect this energy into more beneficial and positive outlets.
  • Hakomi Method: A psychotherapy that combines scientific, psychological, and spiritual sources. It focuses on the importance of four core concepts of living in our bodies: gentleness, nonviolence, compassion, and mindfulness.
  • Sensorimotor Therapy: A form of therapy that incorporates ideas from the Hakomi Method, cognitive behavioral therapy, and neuroscience. It uses the body as a source of information.

Somatic Therapy Techniques

The specific techniques of somatic therapy depend on the type of therapy applied and the nature of the patient’s condition. These techniques generally rely on the concept that what happens in your mind exists in your body. Standard somatic therapy techniques may include:

  • Heightening awareness of your body and its thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • Grounding oneself
  • Encouraging detailed descriptions of feelings and sensations
  • Movement, such as acting out physical feelings
  • Developing strategies for calming oneself
  • Alternating focus between stressful and non-stressful triggers
  • Releasing emotions
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Strengthening boundaries

How is Somatic Therapy Different From Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

Somatic Therapy is often compared to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as there is some overlap in the techniques used. However, the two are very different. CBT is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that focuses predominantly on the mind to help patients identify and change their destructive thought patterns. It is used to treat addictions, traumas, emotional problems, stress, depression, and anxiety.

Somatic therapy often has a similar goal but is more focused on how the body and the mind are linked.

What are the Benefits of Somatic Therapy?

There are countless patients who have benefited from somatic therapy and its myriad techniques. It can be used as either a substitute or a supplement to traditional talk therapy, and has helped people deal with a range of mental and emotional issues, including:

  • PTSD and other traumas
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Addiction
  • Stress
  • Depression

It has also been known to help with more physical conditions such as digestive complaints, erectile dysfunction, and chronic pain.

Somatic therapy can help patients build and develop the tools required to improve themselves, as well as become more in tune and connected with their minds and bodies. This bodily awareness can help them to break the cycle of harmful behaviors and responses to specific triggers.

Somatic Therapy at Peaks Recovery

If you would like more information on the benefits of somatic therapy or any other treatment for mental health issues or addiction, get in touch today. Peaks Recovery is dedicated to facilitating long-term recovery and positive change. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.