What is Somatic Psychotherapy?

Somatic psychotherapy is a type of talk therapy that engages both the mind and body to cultivate healing.

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What is Somatic Psychotherapy?

Somatic psychotherapy, also known as somatic experiencing therapy, is one of many types of psychotherapies that focus on conversation as a means of treatment. However, while the main mode of therapy is the same, different types of psychotherapy utilize different techniques. For somatic psychotherapy, the focus is mainly on the body during treatment.

Typically, psychotherapy is focused solely on the mind. However, somatic psychotherapy is unique in that it engages the body as well. This allows for the individual to foster more awareness about the connections between the mind and body.1

Somatic Psychotherapy

How Somatic Psychotherapy Works

Often, when one thinks about psychotherapy, they think about tapping into the mind to discover internal resources and work towards healing. This is not the same for somatic psychotherapy.

While this form of psychotherapy is beneficial for treating mental disorders, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it primarily focuses on listening to the body. This includes the brain as well as the release that comes through movement. This can include combining somatic psychotherapy with other movement-based psychotherapies.2

Types of Somatic Therapy

There are many different types of somatic therapy that can be included in treatment programs. Different types have different methods, meaning that the Hakomi Method may differ from bioenergetic analysis, even though both are a type of somatic therapy.3

Some of the most common types of somatic therapy that are often included in treatment programs include:

  • Sensorimotor psychotherapy
  • The Hakomi Method
  • Bioenergetic analysis
  • Biodynamic psychotherapy
  • Brainspotting

Somatic Therapy Techniques

Somatic therapy itself is a rather broad idea. With the main aspect of this type of psychotherapy being to engage the body in the healing of the mind and brain, there are several different paths that can be taken. As a result, there are many different somatic therapy techniques available. Because there are many different types of somatic therapy, your specific treatment plan may not include all of these techniques. However, here are some of the therapeutic techniques you may experience:4
  • Body awareness
  • Grounding
  • Pendulation
  • Titration
  • Sequencing
  • Resourcing

What Does Somatic Therapy Treat?

As a type of psychotherapy, somatic psychotherapy is geared towards healing the mind. As a result, it is best used in the treatment of different mental health conditions and mental disorders. It can also be used as a complementary treatment focused on treating the symptoms of an existing condition while other treatments may be focused on the root cause.

Some of the symptoms and conditions that somatic therapy can treat include:

  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trust or intimacy issues
  • Various insecurities

Benefits of Somatic Psychotherapy

Studies have shown somatic psychotherapy to be a fairly effective treatment plan for different types of mental conditions because of the variety of lasting benefits it can create. Not only do these benefits help manage existing mental health conditions, but they can foster a better mental state that can aid in preventing future disorders.5

Some of the other benefits of somatic psychotherapy include:

  • Increased sense of self and confidence
  • Getting in tune with your body
  • Understanding your body’s responses to certain risks or events

How is Somatic Psychotherapy Unique?

One of the aspects that makes somatic psychotherapy unique is its focus on fostering a sense of balance between the mind and body. This means that while traditional treatment options may seem to be focused on treating an illness, somatic therapy is a bit different. One of its benefits is treatment for whatever mental health disorder it is being used for, but this isn’t always the goal. Instead, the goal is to help individuals to better understand their mind and body as a complete unit, as well as their subconscious needs and feelings.

Is Somatic Therapy Evidence-Based?

An evidence-based therapy is one that has been studied intensively in order to better determine effectiveness and use. One of the most common types of evidence-based psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

One of the largest misconceptions about somatic psychotherapy is that it is a pseudoscience. This means that many people believe that there is no evidence behind somatic therapy, or that it is not grounded in science. However, there have actually been several studies conducted on somatic therapy over the past few decades that have helped us to better understand the science behind why this therapy can be so effective.

How Long Is Somatic Therapy Treatment?

As for many treatment options regarding the mind and therapy, there is no set timeline for how long somatic therapy lasts. For some people, a few sessions may be enough. For other people, they may require dozens of sessions in order to meet their goals.

Overall, somatic therapy, like most other therapies, isn’t typically a permanent treatment option. For many people, less than a year of somatic therapy is enough. However, some individuals may prefer more time.

Is Somatic Therapy a Standalone Treatment?

Somatic therapy can be a standalone treatment. However, many people find it more beneficial to combine several different types of counseling alongside somatic psychotherapy. This is because different therapies may address various issues, which allows for a multifaceted approach to mental health.

For instance, somatic therapy is used to help foster connection between the mind and body. Cognitive behavioral therapy, however, is used to help better understand the connection between thoughts and behaviors. As a result, combining the two can help create a new approach to a situation or condition.

Somatic Psychotherapy

Is Somatic Therapy Right for Me?

Although somatic therapy can be a beneficial treatment option, it may not be right for everyone. Different people have different experiences. As a result, their unique needs won’t be the same.

The best way to decide whether or not somatic therapy is right for you is to speak with a trained medical provider about your situation and needs. Here at Ripple Ranch Recovery, our staff is prepared to walk beside you at every step of the way in your mental health journey. This includes helping you to determine if somatic therapy is the right choice for you. If by chance somatic therapy isn’t determined to be helpful for your specific condition or concern, our team will help you find the treatment you need.

Reach Out to Ripple Ranch Recovery for Additional Guidance

If you or your loved one could benefit from somatic psychotherapy or additional support of any kind during your healing journey, we are here for you. Contact us today to experience guidance and start the process towards long-term wellness, recovery, and fulfillment today.