Somatic Therapy and Embodiment
We all have a unique narrative that is the lens through which we understand ourselves, others, and the world. This narrative is not only a thinking story we tell about ourselves, it is a story deeply embedded in our bodies as reflected in our posture, physical sensations, movement patterns, and nervous system arousal.
Most of us haven't learned how to pay attention to the language of the body.
We are biased, for many reasons, to privilege information derived from our thinking minds. We get caught up thinking about our experience rather than directly experiencing the present moment. We get lost in thought, focused on the past or the future. This focus prevents us from knowing what is alive at this moment. Because we don't attend to our bodies, we cut ourselves off from information that can update our experience of ourselves, that can update our self-narrative.
Somatic therapies help you recognize and change unconscious physical habits and patterns that create difficulty by perpetuating old stories.
As you learn the language of your body, automatic physical habits can be unlearned and replaced with new responses that fit current reality. You are inviting greater integration of your mind, emotions, and body -- inviting a more sophisticated, embodied narrative -- that allows for transformation and change.
Somatic Therapy and Trauma
Those who have experienced trauma, complex trauma, or attachment failures may experience the body as an unsafe place to live.
As infants and children, we need to feel loved, accepted and cared for by our caregivers to survive. We can feel frightened and scared when they criticize us, get angry with us, neglect us, or otherwise physically and emotionally hurt us. In these instances, we don’t feel safe and our nervous system will deploy its survival responses.
We may, for example, establish safety by running and hiding in our bedrooms (e.g., flee), getting angry and defending ourselves (e.g., fight), becoming very still and waiting until the criticism ends (e.g., freeze), or shutting down (e.g., collapse).
When our nervous systems can't reset after a traumatic event, or when we’ve grown up in an environment that provoked chronic levels of hyperarousal or hypoarousal, we lose the ability to neurocept safety and danger accurately. We become easily triggered by people, places, and situations that remind us of past trauma and attachment distress even when we're safe.
Somatic therapies help you learn how to feel safe in your body. You learn how to regulate your arousal, neurocept safety, and access and process challenging traumatic experiences.
I am trained in Level I and Level II of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. To learn more about this therapy please visit www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org.
To be embodied means to inhabit one’s self.
What clients discover over time, as they engage embodiment practices, is that their sense of self changes. They discover a previously unknown wholeness, aliveness, well-being, and freedom.
I teach embodiment using meditations from the Realization Process, a school of embodied nondual realization developed by Judith Blackstone. The foundational meditation teaches you how to inhabit the internal space of your body. Inhabiting the body in this way brings us into contact with an aspect of our being known as fundamental consciousness. What we come to realize, paradoxically, is that fundamental consciousness pervades not only our whole body but also the environment.
Our awake, aware conscious nature is discovered to exist both throughout the internal space of our body and everything around us.
As we begin to live from this place of fundamental consciousness, we feel more grounded, centered, and capable of meeting the full range of human experience. We feel that we can take up space in the world. This is especially helpful for sensitive people who tend to feel easily intruded upon or who merge and fuse with others. We have a palpable sense of our existence which engenders a profound sense of self-confidence and self-love and is healing.
Simultaneously, the barrier between ourselves and others dissolves, and we have a sense of continuity or oneness with our environment. We’re able to maintain a connection with ourselves while also remaining open to a relationship with life in its myriad forms.
I am certified as a Realization Process Healing Ground (Spiritual Psychotherapy) Teacher and Realization Process Embodiment Teacher. To learn more about the Realization Process please visit www.realizationprocess.org.