Somatic therapy is an alternative form of therapy developed by trauma therapist Dr. Peter Levine, Ph.D. Somatic therapy blends talk therapy with physical interventions which can help a person to address the body symptoms of various mental health concerns.
Somatic therapy can help people who suffer from anxiety, depression, grief and loss as well as issues related to trauma. The theory behind somatic therapy is that the mind, body, spirit, are all related and connected to each other. As a result, the stress of past emotional and traumatic events affects the central nervous system and can cause changes in the body. Through developing awareness of the mind-body connection and by using specific interventions, somatic therapy helps you to release the body tensions and associated emotions that remain in your body from these past negative experiences.
Somatic therapy combines talk therapy with what are sometimes considered alternative forms of physical therapy. The therapist helps you revive memories of traumatic experiences while paying attention to any physical responses you have once the memory is recovered. Physical techniques, such as deep breathing, relaxation and mindfulness exercises are then used to help relieve symptoms. The goal is to help free you from the emotional distress and physical pain that is preventing you from fully engaging in your life.
United States Association for Body Psychotherapy
Levine PA and Crane-Godreau MA. Somatic experiencing: using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers in Psychology. 4 Feb 2015.
Cohen S. Coming to our senses: The application of Somatic Psychology to Group Psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. July 2011;61(3):397-413.