Somatic Psychology

A therapeutic approach that integrates body and mind to promote healing and well-being.


Somatic Psychology is a field of psychology that emphasizes the connection between the mind and body in understanding and treating mental health issues. It recognizes that physical experiences, sensations, and expressions are deeply intertwined with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of the self. Somatic therapies focus on promoting awareness of bodily sensations, releasing tension, and integrating physical and emotional experiences to facilitate healing and personal growth.

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The roots of Somatic Psychology can be traced back to the early 20th century, with influences from philosophers such as John Dewey and William James, who emphasized the mind-body connection. In the 1930s, Wilhelm Reich introduced the concept of character armor, linking physical tension to emotional and psychological defenses. Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, pioneers like Alexander Lowen and Fritz Perls further developed body-oriented therapies. The field of Somatic Psychology has since grown to encompass various approaches, such as Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Hakomi, which integrate principles from neuroscience, attachment theory, and mindfulness practices.


  1. Mind-Body Integration Somatic Psychology promotes a holistic approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences, leading to a deeper understanding of oneself.
  2. Trauma Resolution Somatic therapies can be particularly effective in treating trauma by addressing the physiological impact of traumatic experiences and promoting a sense of safety and empowerment.
  3. Improved Emotional Regulation By increasing awareness of bodily sensations and learning to regulate physiological responses, individuals can develop better emotional regulation skills and resilience.
  4. Stress Reduction Somatic practices, such as breathwork and body-oriented mindfulness, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, leading to improved overall well-being.
  5. Enhanced Self-Awareness Somatic Psychology encourages individuals to tune into their bodily experiences, fostering greater self-awareness and a deeper understanding of their needs and boundaries.
  6. Improved Relationships By developing a stronger connection with oneself and increasing emotional intelligence, individuals can experience improved interpersonal relationships and communication skills.

How It Works

Somatic psychology emphasizes the connection between the mind and body in treating mental health issues. It incorporates body-oriented techniques, such as breathwork, movement, and mindful awareness of physical sensations, to help individuals process and release stored trauma or emotional distress. By focusing on the bodily experience in the present moment, somatic psychology aims to regulate the nervous system, increase self-awareness, and promote healing. Practitioners guide clients through exercises that help them develop a deeper understanding of their physical responses to stress and emotions, ultimately leading to greater psychological well-being.


When engaging with somatic psychology, it is essential to find a qualified and experienced practitioner who has received proper training in this field. As the therapy involves body-oriented techniques, it is crucial to feel comfortable and safe with the therapist. Some individuals may experience emotional discomfort or triggering sensations during sessions, as the body-focused approach can bring up stored trauma or repressed emotions. It is important to communicate any concerns or boundaries with the practitioner and move at a pace that feels manageable. Consistency and regular practice of somatic techniques outside of therapy sessions are key for long-term benefits.

How Much It Costs

The cost of somatic psychology sessions varies depending on factors such as the practitioner's experience, location, and the duration of treatment. On average, individual sessions can range from $100 to $200 per hour. Some practitioners may offer sliding scale fees based on income, while others may accept insurance. Group therapy or workshops may be more affordable options, ranging from $50 to $150 per session. It is best to inquire directly with potential practitioners about their specific rates and payment options.

Virtual & Online Options

Online somatic psychology sessions offer convenience and accessibility, allowing individuals to receive treatment from the comfort of their own home. This can be especially beneficial for those with busy schedules, mobility issues, or limited access to local practitioners. However, in-person sessions may provide a more immersive and hands-on experience, as the therapist can observe body language and physical responses more easily. In-person sessions also offer a dedicated space for healing, free from distractions. Ultimately, the choice between online and local options depends on individual preferences, needs, and circumstances.


Somatic psychology practitioners typically hold a master's or doctoral degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field. They should have completed specialized training in somatic-based therapies, such as Somatic Experiencing (SE), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, or Hakomi. Practitioners may be certified through organizations like the Somatic Experiencing International (SEI) or the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (SPI). It is important to verify a practitioner's credentials and training to ensure they are qualified to provide somatic psychology treatment.

Complementary Practices

Somatic psychology can be complemented by practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, dance/movement therapy, and massage therapy. These practices help individuals connect with their bodies, process emotions, and develop greater self-awareness. Incorporating these complementary practices can enhance the effectiveness of somatic psychology by providing additional tools for self-regulation, stress reduction, and emotional healing.

Practitioner Types

Somatic psychology practitioners include licensed psychotherapists, counselors, and clinical psychologists who have received specialized training in somatic approaches. These professionals may have certifications in specific somatic therapies such as Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, or Hakomi. Additionally, some bodyworkers, such as massage therapists or Rolfers, may incorporate somatic psychology principles into their work.

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  • Q: What is somatic psychology?

    • A: Somatic psychology is a holistic approach to therapy that emphasizes the connection between the mind and body. It recognizes that emotional and psychological experiences are stored in the body and can manifest as physical sensations or symptoms. Somatic psychology aims to help individuals process and release these experiences through body-based interventions and techniques.
  • Q: How can somatic psychology help with trauma recovery?

    • A: Somatic psychology is particularly effective for trauma recovery because it addresses the physiological effects of trauma on the body. Trauma can cause dysregulation in the nervous system, leading to symptoms such as hypervigilance, dissociation, or freezing. Somatic psychology techniques help individuals regulate their nervous system, process traumatic memories, and develop a greater sense of safety and embodiment.
  • Q: What can I expect in a somatic psychology session?

    • A: In a somatic psychology session, the therapist may guide you through body-based exercises, such as deep breathing, sensory awareness, or gentle movement. They may also ask you to focus on physical sensations or emotions that arise during the session. The goal is to help you develop a greater awareness of your body's experiences and learn tools for self-regulation and emotional processing.
  • Q: Can somatic psychology be used in conjunction with talk therapy?

    • A: Yes, somatic psychology can be effectively combined with traditional talk therapy approaches. Many therapists integrate somatic techniques into their practice, recognizing the importance of addressing both the mind and body in the healing process. Combining somatic psychology with cognitive or insight-oriented therapies can provide a comprehensive approach to treatment.
  • Q: Is somatic psychology suitable for everyone?

    • A: Somatic psychology can be beneficial for a wide range of individuals, particularly those struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, or stress-related conditions. However, as with any therapy, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some individuals may prefer a more cognitive or insight-oriented approach. It is important to discuss your specific needs and preferences with a qualified therapist to determine if somatic psychology is right for you.


Somatic psychology offers a unique and holistic approach to mental health and well-being by acknowledging the profound connection between the mind and body. By addressing the physical manifestations of emotional experiences, somatic psychology helps individuals develop greater self-awareness, regulate their nervous system, and process unresolved trauma or stress. Through the integration of body-based techniques and traditional therapeutic approaches, somatic psychology provides a powerful pathway to healing and personal growth. As research continues to validate the effectiveness of somatic interventions, this field is poised to play an increasingly important role in the landscape of mental health treatment.