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Yoga Child's Pose

Somatic Movement Therapy

What is Somatic Movement Therapy?

Somatic Movement Therapy operates from the perspective that the body is a warehouse for every one of our experiences - from in utero to present day. While visible scars are easy to measure on our skin, invisible scars on our nervous system are measured by symptoms of emotional reactivity, dissociation, and chronic muscle tension. 

 

Somatic Movement Therapy reconnects the self by tapping into the sensations of the body, discharging constriction in joints and muscles, and bringing awareness to the breath to achieve a relaxed and safe internal state. Through this work, symptoms related to shock, developmental, and relational trauma are overcome. As a byproduct, chronic pain can be decreased, moods organically regulate, and sleep improves.

How is this different from other somatic methods?

Somatic Movement Therapy is informed by Polyvagal Theory, just as Somatic Experiencing and Somatic Inquiry are. However, each one of these modalities utilizes slightly different techniques in their attempt to discharge fight/flight/freeze energy.

Shouldn't I just do EMDR instead?

EMDR is an incredibly popular approach to treating trauma. The reality is that EMDR can move way too fast and be too much for many nervous systems. Prior to EMDR reprocessing, a skilled clinician will focus heavily on preparing the nervous system by widening the zone of resiliency where negative affect can be tolerated. This is primarily done through somatic-based methods, as well as attachment-based and parts-work oriented approaches. 

 

Many participants will find that through the work of widening the zone of resiliency, their treatment goals for EMDR have already been met. The exceptions to this tend to be individuals with severe developmental trauma whose nervous systems need a bit more recalibration. When this is the case, augment sessions with an EMDR therapist can easily be scheduled while maintaining work with a somatic-based primary practitioner.   

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