On Somatic Psychology

In Response to Quora Question: "What is your experience with somatic psychology? Was it useful?"

Body-centered psychotherapy has been immensely useful in my experience, as have many other body-centered therapeutic techniques. This is from the perspective of someone who has both experienced personal psychological, emotional and physical healing through these therapies, and helped others discover healing through them. In particular, the practice of Hakomi has been very effective, mainly because it so actively integrates the body's felt experience (and provocation of/interaction with somatic memory, repressed material and volatile emotions) with talk therapy and client-centered collaboration. Modalities that focus solely on releasing "stuck stuff" through bodywork can also be powerful aids in this self-awareness and healing process (for example, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, etc.), but it is the inclusion of conscious introspection, metacognition, and compassionate modification of counterproductive thoughts and emotions that further promotes individuation and "moving beyond" merely coping with internalized trauma, confusion or persistent unhappiness. In any case, I hope that this field will continue to expand to include more and more dimensions of self, and not restrict itself to, for example, mind-body-energy relationships. In my own work, in-depth exploration and development of the spiritual dimension has been a critical component, as have a sense of purpose, relationship to community, sexuality and so forth. The various manifestations of somatic psychology are certainly an important piece of the overall puzzle of our human experience, but only a piece. Such inherently "interdisciplinary" approaches will, I hope, become more inclusive as we come to better appreciate the totality of our being. My 2 cents.


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