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Somatic Therapy

Counseling in Charleston, South Carolina.

Somatic therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that recognizes the mind-body connection, emphasizing the relationship between the body and emotional experiences. 

It’s based on the principle that our experiences, emotions, and traumas are not only stored in our minds but also within our bodies.

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Somatic Therapy

This therapy focuses on bodily sensations, movements, posture, and breath to explore and address psychological issues. Therapists help individuals become more aware of physical sensations and use techniques such as breathing exercises, movement, touch, and mindfulness to release tension, process emotions, and promote healing.

It’s such a common misconception that our bodies are just what carry us around, or that they’re all about appearances. Soma means body and somatic therapy is a style of therapy that sees the body as so much more, as the place where we experience life.

By now, you may have heard the phrase “the body keeps the score.” But what does this mean, exactly? Essentially, our bodies hold on to all of our experiences in life through our senses. Think about how a certain smell takes you back to a memory of the holidays. Or a song might bring to mind the excitement of your first concert. Similarly, you might jump when you unexpectedly hear a loud noise at night. Our bodies store up all of this information to keep us safe and help us connect with others. In an effort to keep us safe, our bodies can also hold onto trauma, emotion, and stress. Intense emotions or traumatic experiences that aren’t addressed don’t just disappear, our bodies hold onto them, again, to keep us safe. We might become triggered to remind us of those older wounds that need compassionate tending. This is what the phrase, “the body never lies” really means – our bodies communicate our needs sometimes before our thoughts can catch up.

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Not only can it lead to healing, but befriending our bodies in this way can lead to more whole experience in life. 

When I (Kristen) first learned about this years ago, it unlocked so much for me both personally and professionally. Our goal is to bring the body into therapy, always at your pace. No matter what your body has been through we want to engage it by incorporating its feelings, sensations, and messages. What does this look like, exactly? It could be as simple as having you notice how you’re sitting when you chat about a certain topic. Or, we might notice a sensation that arises when you say you feel anxious or sad. If its hard to verbalize what you’re feeling, we might turn to the body to see what it’s communicating. We might have you play around with moving the body in certain ways to try to help you release stored emotion – all with your consent of course. Not only can it lead to healing, but befriending our bodies in this way can lead to more whole experience in life. 

This therapeutic approach can be beneficial for various issues such as stress, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, and relationship difficulties. It’s often integrated with other therapeutic modalities to provide a holistic approach to healing.

Here’s a helpful 8 minute video by Bessel Vander Kolk.
How the body keeps the score on trauma | Bessel van der Kolk for Big Think+

We take an integrative and holistic psychotherapy approach, seeing you as a whole person: mind, body, and soul. Kinship means connection and through it we find belonging that is essential for living wholeheartedly.

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