Benefits of Somatic Therapy: How A Somatic Approach to Therapy Can Benefit You
Have you ever felt like you are drowning in the negative thoughts or feelings? It can feel like being stuck in a constant storm, and you don’t feel like there is any relief. It affects your day-to-day life and your ability to function.
Know that you can find relief. Somatic based therapies are an approach to that can help improve your mental health.
Read more to understand the benefits of somatic therapy and a bit more about this integrative approach to therapy.
Body and Mind-They’re Connected
You are not just your thoughts, and your body doesn’t operate on a parallel axis. Neuroscience and psychology combined are teaching us that there is not a separation between body and mind. Your body is an antenna picking up on all sensory information through a process called neuroception. This information goes directly into your brain and immediately decides your emotional and physical responses.
Understanding and managing how your body responds in moments of stress can help to regulate the emotional and mental responses that come along with it.
There are many ways to practice this. A trained somatic therapist may ask you questions about an experience or event, then ask you to explore how you are feeling in your body. This gentle labeling is one of many mindfulness tools you could use to re-establish what is called a regulated state, or a state of calm. This process helps to slow down and regulate the nervous system when it becomes overwhelmed and enters survival mode.
Get Out of Survival Mode
Perhaps you’ve heard of “flight, fight, or freeze”? These are the three responses our systems have to a traumatic, stressful or unsafe event.
This response stems from the need to quickly respond to anything potentially life threatening in order to survive. Anything our minds perceive as a threatening situation can trigger this response. It can be something like surviving a fire in a building or going through an intense argument with someone. This part of our brain generates emotions, and it is not logical, reasonable or rational. In a fraction of a second your body, emotions and thinking shift into a mode that helps to manage a threat. Our system easily perceives threats as life threatening, even where they may not be. It’s a wired in safety mechanism for survival.
It means you will either run away from a situation (flight). You may try to fight the situation (fight). You may find yourself locking up, unable to respond mentally or physically (freeze). Your brain chooses these responses for you, you don’t get to pick. Once it’s happened you then need to work with that response to what occurred.
You can get stuck in a loop of survival responses. Working with a somatic psychotherapist can help you determine when you experience these reactions. Somatic therapy can help you understand triggers you may feel in your body and teach you skills to manage and regulate them.
You and your therapist can work together to create tools that help you emerge from a survival mode response.
Somatic Therapy Releases Stored Trauma
The advantage of somatic psychotherapy is that you can work with a therapist to release what your body stores. You may just be working through a memory or reaction you have to things that upset you. Therapy can provide physical relief from your symptoms.
Rebalance Your Body, Mind and Emotions
This kind of therapy can help balance your body again. You can learn techniques with a therapist to help understand when your body is taking on the tension. Then, you can learn ways to release the tension, so your body is back in a balanced state. Optimal functioning requires integration and balance of all parts of our system.
Change Physical, Mental, and Emotional Patterns
Have you heard the phrase “creature of habit”? Our brains our wired for us to map our world so that we can easily follow a routine and not have to think about. We build what is referred to as neural pathways in our brains. The more we go down a pathway the more well-worn and easier to use it is.
Think about it for yourself. Imagine how easily you find your way to work, or to the kitchen in your house. Not much thought is required. Your body and mind know all the steps after repeated effort. This has a downside when we have habits that don’t work for us anymore or we respond to a new situation like we are in the old one. We can respond with anxiety to a calm situation because that’s a well-used pathway.
The good news is that we can build new pathways. It takes time and effort to learn a new map, build a new routine or pathway, or respond differently. This is the case for building any new habit. It is like making a path through a dense forest at first, after going down the path enough times, you can see and follow it more easily. A somatic approach to psychotherapy can build new patterns in your nervous system over time.
Tools to Help You in the Future
As mentioned before, it takes practice to see change. It can mean practicing different techniques in your day-to-day life. Being consistent can result in steady and then lasting change.
Life is still full of ups and downs. Sometimes, even with practice, upsetting events happen. It is okay if you find yourself spinning back into old habits. It’s natural that you’d go down a well-worn path, your system is wired to do that for a reason. You’re not alone, it happens to everyone.
Therapy can give you tools to help manage issues as they arise in the future. Strategizing with a therapist can be a good place to start.
That way, if you find yourself stuck in a rut, you can pull out a tool from your therapy toolkit. Put it to use and you may find yourself feeling better.
Work With Someone Every Step of Your Journey
Somatic therapy can provide a wide range of benefits. It is possible for your physical, mental, and emotional health to all change.
It is important to know that you are not alone. Through the ups and downs of your healing journey, you can find support to help guide you.
Contact us today and get started on that first step. With a wide range of therapeutic options, we can work on finding a healing plan that is best for you.