Hands-On Somatic Therapy
Some healing cannot happen through words alone. Since long before recorded history, lineages around the world used touch to heal the body, mind, heart and spirit. Yet current treatment tends to divide the body, mind and soul. The mind goes to therapy, the body goes to the doctor, the soul goes to church–but where do we go to be whole? Sometimes it is clear that the symptoms of the body have causes in the mind, emotions, and spirit. Sometimes, the pains of the mind need the soothing power of touch. Hands-on somatic therapy provides this most human capacity of touch and healing that comes when we remember our wholeness and connection.
Physical touch reconnects us with experience prior to thought or analysis. It reminds us of our connectedness and deeper knowing. The act of touch–whether it be from another person, nature, or contact with another part of the self–reminds us of a greater whole. It connects us to our essence, the generations, and the knowledge that our experience is sacred. Touch is the state that perhaps all therapy is seeking: the ability to feel held in the arms of the universe, humanity, and life. Psychotherapy uses metaphors of holding and touch: “Your story touched my heart,” “I will hold it in confidence,” or “I hold you with respect”, but these tend to remind symbolic. While physical touch is not always necessary and must be used skillfully, the general absence of touch in therapy reflects a belief in separation that is the source of much of our pain.
The therapeutic touch used in hands-on somatic work can be very helpful in process of therapy. It balances the nervous system, connects to the soul, and helps you come into contact with what you feel and know. It creates balance and calm, assists emotional understanding and release, helps connect the client to their body and sensations, and increases comfort in the body. It is done fully clothed laying on a bodywork table. It is not a massage and is not sexual. It is a very recent phenomenon for therapists to not use touch. But since touch has become uncommon in therapy, it is important that the client understands the context of the touch as healing.
This style of touch based in a process of listening. The therapist listens to the body rather than analyzing or trying to change it. The client is asked to listen to their own sensations as well. Together, the therapist and client explore body sensations and what situations, thoughts, memories, conflicts or questions might be behind them and what the sensations are asking for.
Somatic Therapy is the understanding that emotional, mental and spiritual health is inseparable from the care of the body and earth. This does not at all mean that our body must be perfect in order for our spirit to be whole. Rather, it means listening deeply and honoring wholeness, life, and intelligence in everything.