Somatic therapy is a body-centered therapeutic approach used to explore how life experience, trauma and stress manifest in the body. It aims to bring greater awareness into how the body stores and expresses emotions and memories, and can help to release and change those processes for better resilience and healing.

As a full-service agency, our counsellors here at Gibson and Associates utilize a number of different therapy approaches to help our clients feel safe and supported through their healing journey. For some clients, somatic therapy may be used in combination with other therapies, such as IFS or CBT, to provide the best level of support. For others, a focus on somatic therapy alone may be the best fit for their specific needs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and we work with our clients one-on-one to identify their best path toward recovery. If you’re interested in seeing if somatic therapy may be a beneficial part of your therapy plan, you can learn more about it below or contact us to see how we can help.

What Is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the connection between our bodies and minds. This approach works to heal trauma by creating awareness of how traumatic events manifest themselves in the body.

There are different forms of somatic counselling, but the unifying belief is that the mind and body are deeply connected, and mental unease can be stored physically as well as mentally. Since these negative emotions can be expressed in the body, this type of therapy involves helping clients connect with their bodies and the physical sensations they experience.

How Does Somatic Psychotherapy Work?

Somatic therapy works to develop an awareness of the mind-body connection. Negative experiences can cause a person to get stuck in a fight/flight/freeze response, feel trapped or numb, or experience other physical sensations. Through somatic psychotherapy, your counsellor will help you move away from those responses and recognize you have the resources needed to self-regulate your emotions.

Your counsellor will help you connect with your body using a number of bodywork techniques such as: 

  • Breathing exercises
  • Sensation awareness
  • Physical movement
  • Mindfulness
  • Grounding exercises

This type of approach is often known as a “bottom-up” approach as it focuses on our bodies and sensations first and then moves upwards towards our thoughts and emotions.

This approach is often paired with talk therapy and can combine features of both modalities. Once you begin to build awareness of your body and self-regulate its responses, it may be easier to explore uncomfortable emotions or negative experiences.

How is Somatic Therapy Different from Traditional Talk Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is what we think of as talk therapy. This type of therapy uses a “top-down” approach as it focuses on our thoughts and feelings first. We use our cognitive abilities, or “thinking caps”, to understand our emotions and behaviours. Once we identify thought patterns that aren’t serving us, we can work to change those patterns and see situations in new ways.

Through a “bottom-down” approach such as somatic therapy, we focus on the body first. We work to identify physical sensations caused by trauma or other negative experiences. Once we identify these sensations, we can learn how to self-regulate and adjust our physical responses.

Through body awareness and somatic therapy, a person can begin to feel safe in their body and regulate their nervous system. This creates room for new, positive sensations and a general feeling of being in control of oneself.

Who Can Benefit From Somatic Trauma Therapy?

Somatic therapy can be used to treat many mental health conditions. Just as everyone’s mental health journey is unique, individual treatment plans are also tailored to each person.

Some conditions have been shown to respond well to somatic therapy such as:

Some people simply resonate better with “bottom-up” therapies than “top-down” approaches. Therapy is a very personal experience and finding the approach that is the most comfortable for you is an important part of feeling safe and supported through the process.

In Person Vs. Online Somatic Therapy Sessions

At Gibson & Associates, we offer somatic therapy both in person in our Toronto or London offices or through virtual appointments throughout Ontario.

Online sessions give you the freedom to access therapy from the comfort of your own home and provide access when it may not be practical to attend in-person sessions. Virtual therapy is confidential, convenient, and effective and are compliant with Ontario’s Privacy Health Information Protect Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

No matter where you are in Ontario, we can help. Contact us today to get started.

Book With a Somatic Therapist in London or Online in Ontario Now

No matter what you need support with or what type of therapy you’re looking for, at Gibson and Associates, we’re here to help. We will work together to find the right type of therapy for you to live your best life.

To learn more about somatic therapy and if it might be the right fit for you, contact us to discuss your next steps. You can also book an appointment or consultation online.

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