Is life feeling difficult or getting you down? What has your body got to say? Try Somatic Psychotherapy.
Connect mind and body
Process challenging emotions and memories
Release tension and anxiety stuck in the body
Bring balance to your nervous system
What is Somatic Psychotherapy.
Somatic Psychotherapy combines talk-style therapy with movement, breathing exercises and expression to process feelings, experiences and aspirations. By creating a space that feels safe it becomes easier to explore some of life’s challenging and painful experiences. And the best part… it can be a lot of fun, too!
How does Somatic Psychotherapy work?
There are 5 key areas that set body-led therapy apart from other forms of therapy.
Top down versus bottom up.
In the world of therapy, practices are considered to be either top down or bottom up (or a bit of both). Top down focuses on how we think and experience the world around us and processes this through talk-based practices. Bottom up start with the body. Such modalities are designed to help us connect to our body’s experience, both in the moment but also how it felt when something impactful happened.
The Somatic Style Psychotherapy practiced by Oliver James engages a bit of both. Sessions will also include an element of sharing and exploring your awareness but ALSO will be interested to help you discover what your body has to say. By creating a space that feels safe and inquisitive, it is possible to explore challenging emotions and trauma in a way that feels manageable.
People with a history of trauma and abuse tend to have either disconnected from important boundaries or over engaged them making them feel tense and unapproachable. Focusing on the body is a simple and effective way to understand the boundaries a person uses, how effective (or necessary) they are and, most importantly, instilling healthier more balanced boundaries that help a person feel confident, relaxed and happy.
Our body is like a machine. Yes, we are all individuals and unique in our experiences and expression but the human body itself has gone through millions of years of design and change. Many of the systems it uses to keep us alive and well, such as the nervous system or respiratory system, are very flexible in the short term but they each need pretty defined conditions to stay healthy. A body, and its multiple systems, can handle quite extreme levels of ‘stress’ and chaos before it begins to break down but, should it be subjected to even a small amount of stress over prolonged periods of time, our body can fall out of balance which can lead to serious mental and physical health problems.
Somatic Psychotherapy helps explore where your body’s system may be out of balance and teaches you techniques to “regulate” them for yourself. Just a few minutes of some of these techniques can lead to very rapid, positive change.
Movement and Processing.
When we are stressed, anxious or blocking emotions, signals can be sent to every part of our body which say “something isn’t right.” Being as sensitive as it is, without intervention, it can easily begin preparing for battle. Should we need to fight off a lion, this rapid self-protecting mechanism makes for a formidable foe but in contemporary life, these signals cause much internal confusion and chaos.
One of the main systems impacted in our body is the musculoskeletal system. Under prolonged stress, chemicals build up and get “stuck” in our muscles causing both pain and tightness.
Physical exercise, movement and full-body expression are helpful to not only to flush out these harmful toxins but set in motion the means to process and clear some of the origins of what might have caused the issue in the first place.
Our body is very much like a vase. In a perfect world, this container would be strong, flexible and able to endure prolonged periods of stress. Alas, for most of us, our container is perhaps one or two of these characteristics but subjected to differing aspects of contemporary living, easily collapses, “shatters” or reduces itself down leaving us feeling frustrated, tired or overwhelmed. Somatic Psychotherapy helps to identify the state of your container and, through simple (and fun!) exercises helps to build up its resilience making life feel more full of ease and helping us feel at peace with ourselves and the world around us.
Interested to know more? Book your first session free. Oliver James is happy to speak on the phone, zoom or Skype if you have any questions or would like the opportunity to meet before trying a session.