dcsimg
HomeNatural Healing School Articles → Somatic Therapy Melds Mind And Body Into A Holistic Approach

Somatic therapy melds mind and body into a holistic approach

The term "therapy" can be used to describe many different modalities of healing, from physical therapy to couples counseling. Along with the more traditional methods such as psychiatry or psychology, there are many offshoots of behavioral and family counseling that have sprung from a more holistic approach, one that incorporates more than just the processes of the mind. One such modality is somatic therapy.

Alternative Medicine

What Is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy, often referred to as somatic psychotherapy, examines the role of the body in well-being. Because the body and mind are connected, learning what physical triggers might be related to emotional responses can be a useful tool in diagnosing and treating patients. With the use of physical cues, it is believed that patients who might have trouble identifying what is happening to them emotionally can use their physical symptoms to guide them, according to GoodTherapy.org, a website created by therapists worldwide to spread ethical practices.

Somatic therapy can incorporate yoga, dance and other movement techniques to help further enhance a person's connection to his or her physical self. Practitioners of somatic therapy can run the gamut from licensed clinical social workers or marriage and family therapists to yoga teachers and dance instructors. There is no formal requirement for practitioners who wish to claim they practice somatic therapy.

A Brief History of Somatic Therapy

While the concept of a mind-body connection may seem obvious today, the origins of somatic therapy had a bit of a rocky start. The theory that the body holds and exhibits the mind's troubles can be traced in part to the work of infamous psychiatrist Dr. Wilhelm Reich, an early believer in psychoanalysis and a student of Sigmund Freud's work. Reich was one of the first to posit that patients could benefit from physical touch and the study of their physical symptoms in relation to their emotional state. Reich's methods were considered radical in the early 1900s, but many psychiatrists and psychologists have continued his work, with a large boom of physically oriented therapies taking place in the 1970s.

The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy, a nonprofit professional association, claims the methods and practice of somatic therapy are growing as more people look to a holistic and synergistic approach to health care and mental health care.

What to Expect from Somatic Therapy

So what type of client might benefit most from a nontraditional therapy such as somatic therapy? The methods used are helpful in many cases, such as depression, anxiety or stress, but some have found this type of therapy to be particularly helpful in cases of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and abuse.

Somatic therapists may use such tools as breathing exercises, stretching techniques, gentle touch, posture and movement exercises and more, along with conversation and traditional analysis work.

The idea of being touched by a counselor or therapist might be uncomfortable for some, but clients are always fully clothed. While it's always impossible to directly monitor each practitioner, the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy has published ethics guidelines on its website for members. Choosing a somatic therapist who is a member of the association is encouraged.

Potential clients and students interested in somatic therapy should understand that a degree is not required to practice somatic therapy. This doesn't mean the therapy isn't legitimate, however, and there are a number of schools that offer not only course work but graduate-level degrees as well, such as a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Somatic Psychology. Traditional psychology degrees such as in licensed clinical social work or marriage and family therapy are often the first steps somatic therapists take before choosing this niche area of study.

While alternative therapies can sometimes dabble in pseudoscience that may resemble hocus pocus to some, the work of somatic therapy has a credible, albeit short, history. For those looking to expand their understanding of behavior and emotional issues, somatic therapy offers another venue for exploration.

Somatic Psychotherapy • Jan 03, 2012 • http://www.goodtherapy.orghttp://www.goodtherapy.org/Somatic-Psychotherapy.html

Somatic Psychology Program • http://www.ciis.eduhttp://www.ciis.edu/academics/graduate_programs/somatic_psychology.html

Body Psychotherapy: It's history and present day scope • Feb 27, 1997 • http://usabp.affiniscape.com/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=11

Adapted from EABP definition of Body Psychotherapy • Definition of Body Psychotherapy • Feb 27, 2013 • http://usabp.affiniscape.comhttp://usabp.affiniscape.com/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=9

Biography of Wilhelm Reich • Oct 06, 2011 • http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.orghttp://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/biography.html

Center for Somatic Psychotherapy • http://www.somaticpsychotherapycenter.org/

About the Author:

Megg Mueller is a journalist with almost two decades of experience. She has worked as a reporter and editor for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as an editor of health care and education manuals for Aspen Publishers, a subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer. She wrote a weekly column on the hotel industry during her tenure as assistant travel editor for USA TODAY.com. Mueller is the editor of a tourism-based website and also serves as a reporter for a weekly business newspaper also serves as a reporter for a weekly business newspaper.

Schools

    Searching Searching ...

    Matching School Ads
    Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
    • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
    • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
    • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
    • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
    • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
    Show more [+]
    • Financial Aid
    Physical Therapy Aide
    • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
    • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
    • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
    • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
    • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
    Show more [+]
    • Online Courses
    Holistic Health Practitioner

    About Brightwood College

    Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

    About Education Corporation of America

    Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

    Massage Therapy
    Mayfield College , Cathedral City
    Good for Working Adults
    • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
    • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
    • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
    • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
    • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
    Show more [+]
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Financial Aid
    Massage Therapy/Therapist
    Good for Working Adults
    • One of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation teaching since 1979.
    • First massage school in California to be nationally accredited.
    • Has a successful job placement record— 86% of graduates get placed into work in massage therapy.
    • Provides massage therapist education with multiple methods to ensure every student learns the material.
    • Offers lifetime career placement assistance and holds partnerships with a variety of employers.
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Financial Aid
    Respiratory Therapy
    Good for Working Adults
    • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
    • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
    • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
    • 3 campuses in Southern California.
    • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Online Courses
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Accelerated Programs
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    Master of Science in Nutrition Education

    Change the World with American University

    Be a part of something bigger than yourself. At American University, we strive to help you develop your professional interests and indulge in your passion for making a difference. Our online degree programs allow you to gain the advanced skills for active leadership in a variety of fields.

    Set Yourself Apart at American University

    At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We're defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

    • Online Courses
    Respiratory Therapy (AS)
    • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
    • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
    • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
    • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
    • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

    Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Accelerated Programs
    • Financial Aid
    Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
    • Ranked 23rd among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
    • A public research university with an enrollment of more than 42,000 students.
    • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1, and 43.1% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
    • Has been the source of many discoveries creating positive change for society including co-op education and the oral polio vaccine since its founding in 1819.
    • Provides distance learning advisors to assist students.
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Online Courses
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    Massage Therapy
    • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
    • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
    • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
    • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
    • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Financial Aid