What is Somatic Practice?
A lot of people end up coming to somatics after the frustrating experience of other modalities not improving their symptoms. The reason that these other therapies (talk therapy, physical therapy, natural medicine, acupuncture, chiropractics, etc.) might not be working as effectively as we wish is that the underlying physiology is still at odds with what these modalities are trying to accomplish.
If your physiology is stuck in a certain pattern of response- e.g. fight, flight, collapse, or freeze- in moments of stress or higher stakes the conscious mind often succumbs to these more primary responses and is unable to choose a new experience, despite structural changes in the body or psychological improvements on cognition or beliefs.
My work addresses these underlying issues directly by working with the physiology that regulates our nervous system, and by releasing energy that has become lodged in the body through stress or trauma. Most importantly, I support my clients to gain somatic skills they can bring with them into their daily lives. By working simultaneously with mind, body, and the experiential interface between the two- we untangle hidden places that have become congealed to free up the energy you need to live your fullest life, create more safety, more self-love, and more choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your Questions, Answered
You offer both in-person and online sessions. What is the difference? Do I get the same healing in a virtual format?
The main difference is that in-person sessions include hands-on touch, and take place on a jade infrared heat therapy mat. This natural heat and in-person touch support the body's process of regulation. Additionally, in some cases of developmental trauma or abuse, experiencing safe, gentle touch from a practitioner who has the sensitivity to notice and retreat if the body is unconsciously resisting can be a crucial part of the healing process.
With the onset of the pandemic, many practitioners in the community moved their practice online, and we were happy to discover how effectively the work translates to an online format. Because I am using my attention with as much or more precision as my touch, I am able to pick up on just as much information virtually as I do in person, and the client feels my attention similarly to how they might feel my hand. Some clients also feel an increased sense of safety and comfort receiving sessions in the privacy of their own homes.
What should I expect from my first somatic process session?
Clients remain completely clothed during somatic process sessions, and are encouraged to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. During the first session I ask some questions to get a sense of your history and treatment goals, and move into practices that support physiological regulation and somatic awareness. Once I get a sense of your system and your goals, we can begin to develop a treatment plan together.
What is the scientific basis of this work? Is it accepted within the medical community?
This work emerges from the lineage of Somatic Experiencing: Peter Levine's 50 years of research and practice on the healing of trauma, and also draws heavily from Stephen Porges' polyvagal theory, which researches the role of the vagus nerve and neurophysiology on emotional regulation and social connection. Both somatics and trauma-informed care are currently experiencing a huge surge of interest from both medical and mental health professionals, and more and more research is proving the effectiveness of somatic approaches in the healing of developmental and shock trauma.
You offer both somatic process and bodywork. What's the difference?
While somatic process is focused on the nervous system and the dialogue between client and practitioner, bodywork focuses on physical symptoms and looks more like a traditional massage. Bodywork sessions are integrative and tailored to each client, and can include relaxation massage, deep tissue, myofascial release, neuro-muscular re-programming, and dynamic stretching. In these sessions, clients undress to their comfort level so that lotion can be used to facilitate the release of soft tissues.