Somatic Psychotherapy is a term that’s been used more frequently over the past few years as scientific research has proven that as humans, we store memories, experiences and emotions on a cellular level. This means, it’s not “all in your head”. Our bodies actually do hold, trap and store this data as well.
This is why many people express a feelings of “body anxiety” even in the absence of anxious thoughts. It is also why you may find yourself not feeling safe in your own skin and not understanding why. During certain times of the year or in certain environments you may feel unsafe or just "off" for no apparent reason. Often, it's because your body is reminded of something, even when your mind is not consciously aware of it, and is sending an alert or a danger signal. This is generally referred to as a "gut feeling" or intuition.
Somatic Techniques are used when an individual is having a difficult time controlling the tension and discomfort of their muscle responses. These reflexive responses are the result of trapped and unprocessed memories of traumatic experiences, anger, resentment, hurt and betrayal that have been repressed and forgotten about on a conscious level. It is our unconscious alerting us that these feelings have been stored and need to be processed and released. These trapped emotions can manifest in may ways, chronic illnesses being one of them.
Somatic exercises involve performing movement for the sake of movement. Throughout the exercise, you focus on your inner experience as you move and expand your internal awareness. Other exercises, including some you know and use regularly, can also be considered somatic, such as: