Somatic Counselling

How often do you find your problems returning, no matter how hard you try and think of solutions? Somatic counselling is a gentle yet powerful approach which focuses on how you sense psychological problems in your body.

Most people solve problems by thinking up a solution. This approach works well for logical problems such as mending a car, but can be less effective for solving personal problems. That’s because personal problems such as social anxiety, depression, marriage problems, etc, require us to do more than just think about how to solve them.

What is therapy of mind and body?

The core philosophy of Mind and Body Therapy is that thinking, emotion and physical feeling are naturally interconnected and self-regulating, but problems arise when those connections are interrupted. MBT helps you solve your problems by re-integrating your thoughts, emotions and sensations.

MBT is better understood via experience than intellect and the guided exercise in the audio file link below is intended as an experiential illustration of MBT’s core philosophy. Make sure you’re in comfortable, quiet surroundings where you won’t be disturbed and click or tap the play button when you’re ready:

Why is it important to work with the body, not just the mind?

When I tell clients that effective therapy involves both body and mind, I am usually met with a puzzled stare. That doesn’t surprise me, given that the body of neuroscientific knowledge on the subject is relatively new even though there is a great deal of it. As with most new developments in psychology, it will take many years before academic discoveries become socially embedded. Nevertheless, I hope that the work I and other body-aware therapists do will facilitate a slow but steady change in public awareness of the idea that mind and body function together as a single, connected unit – unless something happens to disrupt that connection.

How does mind/body therapy work?

The aim of mind/body therapy is to discover the ways in which the mind-body connection is disrupted, and to find ways of restoring the connection by investigating how thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations interact. For example, during a heated argument, how easy is it to calm down by force of will alone? It’s impossible. What happens when the person you’re arguing with tells you to calm down? I imagine it just makes you angrier! That’s because anger is primarily a physical experience: it’s a racing heart, a trembling body, tight fists and perhaps a desire to hit out. Now consider what helps you stop being angry. For most people it is good to get out of the angry situation and have some breathing space, perhaps have someone calm to talk to about it. Then there is physical relaxation, an intuitive feeling that anger is leaving the body and clear-headedness that allows for productive discussion.

I aim to help you discover the ways in which your mind and body intuitively want to work together by gently directing your attention to your emotions and the physical sensations that you experience as you talk about your problems. Along the way, I will offer body-centred techniques which you can use outside therapy to help you in problematic situations and which I hope will remain useful to you for the rest of your life. Mind/body work really can be a fundamental life-changing experience for the better.

How long does mind/body therapy take?

The amount and duration of therapy that you need depends largely on what you want and when you think you’ve got it. It’s worth noting that mind/body therapy has an aspect of learning new skills and that learning a new skill happens consciously at first, but is consolidated at a subconscious level that extends well beyond the scope of conscious awareness.

Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.

Chinese proverb

Think of a skill that you are well practiced at – now imagine how you would explain in words how to do it to someone who had no knowledge of it at all. How difficult would it be? How much easier would it be to show them how to do it and help them practice?

Mind/body therapy will provide you with practical skills for approaching problematic thoughts and difficult situations – skills which will take time to get used to and use confidently in the world outside the therapy room. The rate at which you want to assimilate your new learning is up to you – some clients see me twice a week for 50 minutes at a time, others see me fortnightly and some see me on an ad-hoc basis when they feel they need extra support.

If you would like to enquire about therapy, please click here to contact me.