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What is Body-Centered Psychotherapy?

Body-Centered Psychotherapy describes therapeutic approaches that integrate a client’s physical body into the therapy process.

Also referred to as Somatic Psychotherapy, this is a process that recognizes the intimate relationship between the human body and the psychological well-being of a person. Body-Centered Psychotherapists view the body as a resource for self-discovery and healing.

As a Body-Centered Psychotherapist, I help you access your innate somatic wisdom in order to better understand and treat your concerns and help you heal.

How Does Body-Centered Psychotherapy Help?

The benefits we can receive from what our bodies tell us is dependent upon how well we are able to listen and how we choose to respond. By paying closer attention to our whole selves–what I call our body-brains–in addition to our thinking-brains, we can begin to lead healthier lives, both physically and psychologically.

Some body cues might seem obvious: a growling stomach may tell us we’re hungry; yawning may spell fatigue. Often, however, our bodies give us more complex and individualized messages than that:

  • A child abuse survivor may find he looks down and away at work, an old habit we discover in therapy is meant to deflect attention or anger from authority.
  • A grown woman realizes she holds her breath while waiting for her partner to finish talking, just like she did as a child waiting for bad news.
  • A man with chronic pain finds that years of bracing himself against criticism has left him tense, tired, and wary of people.
  • A young woman with bulimia makes the connection that the rawness in her throat feels satisfying in a way, like she has punished herself for being imperfect.

Body-Centered Psychotherapy gives us access to memories, emotions, and beliefs that are otherwise beyond words and cognition. If you have struggled to understand how your body and mind are seemingly on different pages, Body-Centered Psychotherapy can get them communicating again.

How does it do all that? With mindfulness.

Body Centered Psychotherapy is beneficial to people who are experiencing a wide range of complaints, including:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Relational
  • Traumatic

There are various approaches associated with Body-Centered Psychotherapy. In addition to my own somatic studies and practices, I have trained extensively at the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute for treating trauma from a body-centered approach. I have also participated in multiple workshops focused on The Hakomi Method.

The Hakomi Method and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

The Hakomi Method is a system of Body-Centered Psychotherapy which integrates psychological, spiritual, and scientific principles. By combining the approaches of Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Mindfulness, and Western psychology, The Hakomi Method is able to treat the entire person–body, heart, and brain.

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is an offshoot of The Hakomi Method. It looks specifically at the impact of trauma on the body and body-centered treatments for trauma. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy recognizes that true healing from trauma means integration of the body, heart, and brain, and that this cannot happen without the body’s wisdom and worries on the table. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy offers a comprehensive understanding of the neuroscience behind trauma treatment and cutting-edge applications of what we know about the human body and brain.

If you’d like to learn more about how Body-Centered Psychotherapy could help you and are interested in therapy in Folsom, California, please contact me today.