There are many types of psychological traumas, and each one has different causes and it affects people differently. However, what they all have in common is the fact that they also affect the body, either through actual pain or through an overall tension. Somatic psychology is a type of therapy based on the connection between the body and the mind and it aims to heal the mind through the body.
Understanding somatic psychotherapy
This type of therapy was created by a German psychiatrist, Wilhelm Reich, who discovered that many of his trauma patients were suffering from chronic muscular tensions. In time, this branch of psychology drew the interest of many psychiatrists who all experimented with it and expanded this field beyond Reich’s initial findings. Nowadays there are many therapists that use bodily experiences to treat psychological traumas. Yoga is the most common practice included in this type of therapy, and its purpose is to increase bodily and mental awareness, and strengthen the bond between the mind and the body.
How it works
Somatic psychology studies the relationship between the body and the mind and how this relationship has been affected by psychological traumas. Many people try to mentally overcome psychological traumas, but their bodies hold on to the pain and the tension, thus impeding the healing process. Among the most common symptoms of trauma induced psychical problems we have hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, sexual dysfunctions, pain, muscle tensions and much more
The first step in somatic psychology is to recognize overcome the physical pain and its correlation to the psychological past. To achieve this, somatic therapists use a wide range of practices and techniques, from yoga to dance, to breathing techniques, physical exercise, healing touch and movement.
Benefits of somatic therapy
While it can use different techniques, all types of somatic therapies have the same goals: to recognize the traumatic experiences, to acknowledge their effect on your body and to ultimately heal them and release both the psychological and the bodily tension. Among the many benefits provided by this type of therapy, we have increased confidence, increased awareness, reduced discomfort, relieved stress, higher concentration, hope and resilience.
As you can see, this type of holistic therapy aims to bring your mind and body in harmony. However, you should never undergo this type of therapy without firstly consulting with your primary health care provider. This is due to the fact that you may be suffering from serious illnesses, which might need medical treatment. Not all physical problems have a psychological cause.