Why take part in somatic psychotherapy?
I support people on the path of somatic healing and embodying their deepest self with Co-Regulating Touch Relational Bodywork for Trauma, Transforming the Experience-Based Brain, NeuroAffective Touch, Somatic Experiencing (SE), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Polyvagal Theory approach, Somatic Awakening Method, Somatic Roots Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, The Safe & Sound Protocol, Healing with the Ancestors, Healing the Mother Wound and many other somatic practices and therapies. We renegotiate the way that trauma is held and felt in your body – at the core of your being – your body’s energy system and nervous system – to bring about feelings of greater regulation and ease. Developing a regulated nervous system is one of the most important things we can do to feel better and to heal from trauma – helping us feel less anxiety and other stubborn feelings and symptoms, that we may have felt for many years. Much of our trauma is hidden from us – it can be early developmental trauma, complex trauma and/or PTSD – and we can often continue to experience difficult feelings even when we’ve done other therapies – not knowing why keep feeling the way we do. Healing happens by getting to the root of what is troubling you, by working directly with your body – processing deeply held, unknown or suppressed feelings, sensations and symptoms – or a lack of feeling or numbness – including incomplete fight/flight/freeze responses – so we can move towards repair and bring about more spaciousness, capacity and ease in your body.
During somatic psychotherapy we are creating new neural pathways for your brain and nervous system to respond and move energy through your body. An unwinding process to release stuck survival energy for more resilience and nervous system regulation, so you feel more ease, aliveness and freedom. Offering a whole-person, body-centred approach, this work is specifically focused on working collaboratively with you to understand, explore, sort out and heal what may be troubling you in your body, heart and mind. whole body health
What does an integrative relational somatic therapist & somatic practitioner do?
An integrative relational somatic therapist brings your body – and how it works – into the therapeutic process. Together, we become curious about your embodied relational history – your early developmental family of origin (mother and father wounding) relationships, intergenerational trauma history and the way your body moves and feels – and how this limits or supports your natural way of being in the world. We explore your attachment patterns, trauma physiology, somatic symptoms and sensory processing – and how these are interconnected to create your experience of life. We explore how your health, work, relationships and what’s happening in your life now – come together to create an overall sense of embodied well-being. We will also be curious about your capacity to form satisfying, connected relationships with others. We consider your somatic emotional process – the feelings and sensations you have in your body and heart – so you can encounter more of the fullness of yourself – your ideas about yourself and your habitual feeling state. We will discover how you interact with yourself – from the inside out. whole body health
Integrative Relational Somatic Therapy & Bodywork is an evolving dynamic process based partly on talking and partly on working directly with what you notice in your body – your embodied experience — using awareness, breath, movement, sound and therapeutic co-regulating touch for trauma. This work is based firmly on each person being (or becoming) self-directive and engaged in discovering basic somatic body-focused sensations – and tapping into what feels most alive in you in each moment. whole body health
Why take part in an integrated and embodied relational somatic therapy process?
An embodied, integrative relational somatic therapy practice is one where feelings and sensations in the body are explored and understood. How you move, your physical sensations, your emotional struggles, relationship dynamics, health or career concerns, are all subject to movement and change, if you understand the principles underlying how you organize yourself in the world. There are reasons that you hold yourself in a particular posture, feel stuck, frozen or overwhelmed – and there are reasons that you protect and defend yourself from others, from failure, or even, success. Those reasons are found in the deeper patterns in your body, that underlie your conscious mind. When you dive into the somatic experience you learn to navigate the unconscious. Somatic practices facilitate self-awareness, mindfulness, and communication with your inner self. You can gain access to deeply-held physical, emotional, and psychological patterns. Once you “meet” and establish communication with these different aspects of yourself, change has already begun.
What can I expect when I commit to attending regular sessions?
After we start working together, you will begin to have an increased awareness and understanding of yourself, your body and your relationships to others in your life. You will experience increased nervous system regulation and capacity to be with difficult feelings and emotions. You will learn to pay attention to your whole self – your body, your mind and your heart — and become clear about what is most important to you in your life. You will become more curious and aware of yourself, begin to turn towards and pay attention to yourself, and to your body in fresh and functional ways, have more clarity, more energy, increased feelings of peacefulness and calm, less anxiety, and an increased sense of wholeness within yourself. whole body health
How long will the therapy process take? whole body health
Integrative Relational Somatic Psychotherapy is a process and it takes time for deeply held feelings to be explored, to move and to shift. Change happens gradually, sometimes out of your awareness, so we are always checking in with and noticing what is happening inside of your body, heart and mind. In the integrative relational somatic psychotherapeutic process, we will co-create new meanings of how you are in relationships and what your relationships mean to you, as well as what you notice in your body on your own and when you are with others. Eventually, you will notice that you are living these new meanings, and experiencing a greater capacity to live from a place of authenticity, self-assurance and joy. A happy, fulfilled life will always contain challenges. Our work together will not remove life’s challenges but will support you through them and help you to discover more satisfying ways of being within yourself as you move through difficulties and challenges. whole body health
What is my role as your psychotherapist, relational somatic therapist & co-regulating touch bodywork for trauma practitioner?
My role is to hold embodied presence – or the “container” of the therapeutic relationship. This means that I will listen closely to what you feel and bring in with you to share in our work together and find ways to be with and reflect with you on the material you bring. We will work deeply at the level of the nervous system – understand your attachment patterns and the trauma patterns within your family of origin – to invite change slowly, deeply and gradually. I will be alert to the recurring relational and somatic themes that arise in different parts of your life and together we will explore what meanings you make of the relationships, past and present, in your life. As time goes on, we will start to more easily notice where these themes and meanings arise, how they impact your life and how you respond. We may even notice how these themes and meanings can creep into our relationship – which is great because if they are alive between us we can work with them in real-time. I will also focus the session on drawing in themes and ideas from other sessions so that we can start to put the pieces together.
What kind of commitment do I need to make? whole body health
Integrative Relational Somatic Psychotherapy & Somatic Practice is an ongoing, regular process that involves the development of a solid therapeutic relationship. In order to develop the trusting relationship necessary to do this work, it is important that we meet with regular frequency, on an ongoing basis. Once we have established that we will work together, I would suggest making a commitment to the frequency and times of the sessions. Psychotherapy and touch sessions are more effective when the sessions are regularly attended.
How much will I be expected to reveal? whole body health
This is your choice. We will go at your pace, in your time. At first, you may not feel comfortable sharing some parts of your story or experience. Over time, as trust develops between us, you may feel more comfortable revealing more of yourself – your feelings and vulnerabilities. The more open you can be, the more potential there is for learning and growth. I will help you to slow the story down so that we can pay close attention to the details that you may not have previously considered. The details often tell us a great deal and can make a big difference to how we understand what is going on for you.
Why is it important to understand your early experiences?
Your early experiences created many of the beliefs and perspectives underpinning the events happening in your life now. At one time they made sense and they served you well, as a means of surviving, coping or thriving. However, in the course of living, you may have created coping strategies and have formed defenses and self-protective responses, that may serve you now. Nevertheless, you may be acting out the same behaviours in your life now, without realizing it, because it feels familiar and safe. In fact, you may feel that your patterns are no longer serving you, that you’ve outgrown them and they are hindering your growth. By gaining a new understanding of the past, you can see the same experience with a new perspective and can choose to move forward differently – in a way that supports you now. The old energy and emotion associated with the past that you carry with you, can be released and transformed.
Many of our early experiences can feel hidden from us – and difficult to understand – this early developmental trauma – circumstances that happened before our awareness in our lives. I wanted to provide you with some of the causes or origin of early developmental trauma:
Neglect, abandonment, unmet basic needs
Having a primary caregiver with substance abuse issues
Being unwanted by one or both parents
Parents losing one of their parents or significant other
Accident during pregnancy – a fall or a motor vehicle accident
Invasive birth procedures – medications, Cesarean Section
Parent(s)/caregiver(s) with unresolved trauma
Parent(s)/caregiver(s) with intergenerational trauma
Being conceived under traumatic circumstances (rape / sexual assault)
Misattuned primary caregiver(s)
Poor maternal health during pregnancy
A depressed parent/primary caregiver (or a parent/primary caregiver with depression)
How does touch therapy & somatic practice help resolve chronic pain, illness and trauma?
Early developmental trauma, as well as trauma from accidents, surgery and other difficult experiences that are not resolved, get stored in the cells of your body. Every thought, emotion or action we experience starts as a chemical reaction in our body’s tissues. Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Trauma will activate the body’s memory of any kind of trauma – beginning a process of healing the residue of what has been left in the body. Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Healing Trauma Therapy integrates psychotherapy and trauma healing work – holding a safe space for you to come back to and be present in your body and resolve longstanding, often hidden concerns. This work slowly heals what happened at the time of the trauma. After some time working together, clients report that they feel less fatigue, more relaxed, less chronic pain, less somatic discomfort, less anxiety and depression and more feelings of safety and well-being in their bodies. whole body health
How will I know if therapy is working? whole body health
If you feel heard, understood and supported during our work together, therapy is off to a good start. If you are feeling more connected to your body, your emotions and yourself – in ways you didn’t notice before, this is a good sign. If you are gaining new insights about yourself and your relationships, this can be an indication that you are on the right track. If you find yourself leaving therapy sessions going over the material we have discussed and feeling like someone is really starting to “get” you, chances are therapy is being helpful. whole body health
If you are noticing that you are starting to become more aware of the themes in your life as they emerge and you are consciously trying out different responses that feel more authentic and have different outcomes, the benefits of therapy are making their way into your life. If you are getting in touch with and noticing feelings and sensations in your body that you didn’t pay attention to before, as well as making sense of confusing emotions and body feelings, and beginning to express what you notice about yourself to others, therapy is doing what it is meant to do.
If life doesn’t seem as daunting, and you feel more able to handle the unpredictability of life, therapy is helping. The goal of therapy is to help you to feel more in touch with your body, thoughts and heart, more satisfied in your life, more equipped to handle life’s challenges, more centered and balanced within yourself, more aware of yourself and your emotional and physical health, and how you feel in your relationships and in the world.