Somatic psychotherapy (from the Greek word σωμα, which means body) is a holistic therapeutic approach and interdisciplinary modality of applied somatic psychology that bridges the mind-body dualism and sees mind, body and spirit as being intimately connected. From a somatic psychotherapy perspective, our emotions, thoughts and beliefs are influenced by, and influence in their turn, our body; the organism interacts and reacts as a whole with the external environment. Our mind, body and spirit are influenced (positively or negatively) by the food we eat, how well we sleep, the quality of the air we breath, how often we exercise, and the quality of relationships that we had/have with others and the world and nature that surround us. The emphasis is on the interaction between biological, psychological, spiritual and often socio-economic factors in preventing and addressing "dis-ease" and promoting well-being. Healing and well-being are promoted by tapping into the innate healing capacity of the whole organism (body, mind and spirit).
As a somatic psychotherapist, my aim is to promote a better connection with the organism as a whole, by cultivating deeper awareness and empathy towards the felt body to utilise its innate healing capacity. I use a range of somatic psychotherapy practices together with "talking" psychotherapy. This creates a powerful and effective way of healing psycho-emotional difficulties. As part of the mind-body-spirit methods that I use, I often recommend and refer you for:
- Contemplative psychotherapy (meditation/mindfulness)
- Nutrition and supplements therapy
- Yoga therapy
- Exercise therapy
After an initial assessment of your psycho-emotional and physical health, we will create together a program tailored to your needs and difficulties, which may incorporate some of the above practices. This program can assist with healing a range of psychosomatic problems, ranging from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and sleep problems, to difficulties with concentration and emotional regulation, and various manifestations of borderline personality disorder. Somatic psychotherapy can be particularly useful in assisting healing in cases of past trauma. Recent research in infant development, neurobiology, and attachment theory has overwhelming confirmed how past psychological trauma, abuse and neglect can have a profound effect on the body, mind and spirit. This often results in both physical problems (such as, chronic headaches, pain, sexual dysfunction, skin disorders, digestive issues) and psychological problems (such as, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and personality disorders). Research has also shown that trauma and abuse can often be “stored” in the body, resulting in emotional and cognitive blockages that can delay progress in therapy. For this reason, when used in conjunction with talking/dialogical psychotherapy, somatic psychotherapy can aid in healing as it can provide access to those areas of experience (deeper emotions) that cannot be accessed by talking therapy alone.
I work with clients individually (one-to-one) both locally and on Skype, as well as with groups at various retreats that I periodically facilitate, in collaboration with other psychologists, nutritional therapists, meditation teachers and yoga therapists. I can help with a range of issues such as anxiety and stress, depression and low mood, bereavement and loss, relationship difficulties, personality disorders, low self-esteem, and sexual difficulties. If you think that somatic psychotherapy might be the right approach for you to work through your difficulties and to grow, please get in touch so we can arrange our initial meeting either locally in Edinburgh or via Skype.
I look forward to helping you.