WHAT TO EXPECT:
In general, one of the things that happen in modern times–as people become a lot more conscious of their physicality, nutrition, exercise, and of the importance in taking care of it–is being conscious of your body in the healing process. In other words, being able to check in and be present.
So with that, therapeutically, one of the things that have become very popular is somatic work. It is the work in the body.
Here is a somatic work example: You and I are doing a therapy session or counseling session. I can tell based on your breathing, how you are holding your shoulders and jaw, and your speech patterns that you are upset or frustrated.
But maybe I go, “Hey, you know, you are a little upset or frustrated.”
I am trying to process with you emotionally what is going on.
And you say, “You know, I am a little frustrated.”
Does that mean you just sort of allow somebody to say that they are frustrated sometimes?
Sometimes somebody just identifying that they are frustrated helps them go:
“Oh, that is what is going on. Do I want to be frustrated? Okay, let me kind of calm myself down.” Or: “Why am I frustrated? Oh, you know, I let this thing slide.”
What is Somatic Experiencing?
There is a way to process that frustration cognitively by identification. But there is also a way to process that frustration somatically. How frustration shows up sensationally in the body.
“Uh-oh, seems like you are frustrated.”
I would ask you a question like, “Where?”
If you have never done somatic therapy, you will go, “What do you mean?”
“Well, where in your body do you feel that tension, frustration, or whatever it is that you are feeling?”
“Oh, you know, actually in the back of my shoulders right here. I feel really tight.”
“Okay. I want you to close your eyes, and lean into that tightness. I want you to describe a little bit of it and tell me what is happening with it.”
And really, what you are trying to do is connect your thinking mind to your emotions and your body.
If you think about mind, body, and spirit, you think about the connection of all three of those.
And so, “Oh, I see that sensation. And then what I want to do is…I want to metabolize that emotion.”
Allow Yourself to Feel
But what happens is, you stop yourself from allowing to be frustrated. You know, the whole point of feelings is to feel them.
What fucks us all up is that we have a feeling and we want to think them away…or we want to figure them out.
But the whole thing about feelings is to experience them. And how do we experience them?
One way to experience them is somatically…to actually allow yourself to focus your consciousness on the points of your body that are responding to that emotional need. And then allow it to kind of work its way through you. See what comes up from there.
That is somatic work. It is really popular right now because I think everybody is a little suspicious of our minds these days. And so we are sort of looking for something to trust. And maybe it is our body.