Somatic therapy refers to the body-mind connection that some types of therapy offer. In these therapies, the senses are stimulated through movement of the body, touch, sound, and/or visuals.

Somatic therapies have been studied with modern brain imaging techniques and the results have been very interesting. Traditional talk therapy when studied with brain imaging technology, activates the cognitive areas of the brain, this is the outer “layer” of the brain where thoughts are formed, numbers, language, and music are interpreted. This part of the brain was the most recent part in evolution to develop and is larger in humans than in many other animals.

Somatic therapies which integrate movement and the senses, activate a different part of the brain, the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain where emotions, including trauma, are stored. This is located in the mid-brain and this portion of the brain developed much earlier in evolution than the cognitive part of the brain. The amygdala is what responds to perceived threats in the environment and causes the body to run or fight whatever threat is being encountered. Traditional talk therapy does not interact with this part of the brain, but somatic therapies do.

Somatic therapies are able to reach the amygdala and help the brain to process upsetting emotions and events to reduce the emotional “charge” carried with those memories. This means that a person who comes to therapy with an upsetting or traumatic event will be able to release the upsetting feelings associated with the event. This may take one or it may take many sessions, but the upsetting feelings can be released resulting in the person feeling more calm and at peace. In many cases, the memory may fade significantly.

I use two types of somatic therapies in my practice: Somatic Tapping and Brainspotting. I am a trainer for the tapping techniques and I have completed Phase 2 training in Brainspotting. Both techniques have had many research studies conducted with consistent positive results. Tapping was discovered in the late 1970’s so it has many more published research studies.

I use these techniques to help clients process upsetting events and all types of trauma. I have helped people who have lived in war zones, have been sex trafficked, have been in domestic violence situations, have been bullied, have been shamed, and have had experienced many other upsetting situations. These techniques are easy to use in the online setting and I lead clients through the process in a gentle way when they are ready to begin processing.