Category: Somatics


By Steven Shaps, MA MFT

Somatic: Of the body, the physical, of the cells, of an organism, of the outer walls of the body, the body in relationship to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states.

Somatic: The body mind in concert with an individual’s developing attention to and awareness for, the subtle physical sensations of the body self.

Awareness to these subtle physical sensations brings moment by moment calmness, healing, and vitality by giving attention to and releasing energy, emotions, and sensations that are seeking release naturally. These moments bring us to wisdom, intuition and natural resources.

With our intention to give Attention, states of awareness move into a peaceful calm and we do not have analyze or give any meaning to what is there.

Energy, or what we call emotions, feelings, even pain, can be considered just that, energy or phenomena seeking release which moves through us.

When the ego self tends to block this natural flow and wants to figure things out, or looks for the reasons for things, the body mind responds in a variety of ways, mostly we experience a lack of energy and unhappiness.

Typically we are more aware of the sensations that arise out of physical pain, hunger, fullness, heaviness, irritation, itching, burning, bites, scrapes, and physical trauma.

Sensations are associated with weight, energy with the foods we eat, aches, pains, soothing touch, pressured touch, limbs touching surfaces, tactile qualities, heat, cold, temperature, the ways we stand or lean, rest, the sensations we feel with the clothes we wear, positions of the spine, the back bone touching, lying down. These are sensations as opposed to feelings or emotions.

The intention here is to welcome our feeling states, say yes to the emotions and the energy we feel and allow it move out and through instead of storing them.

Attention inward provides attunement to what calls us present and to the body mind and it’s many sensations.

Learning to remain present and attentive to the body mind sensations is a means to free ourselves of mental chatter and permits relaxation.

Much of what we feel as pain, anger, fear, disappointment, hurt, is our exasperating attempts to resist the very feelings that seek release.   We do want to be free from the pain and saying yes to what is there begins to bring it up. Typically we think freedom and happiness comes from having that thing or person.

The development of and attention to, the subtle body mind’s physical sensations gives rise to the practice of mindfulness and learning to accept everything that we experience, letting go of disapproval and learning to allow what is present to be released naturally .

The body mind, the body unconscious, the body subconscious, and it’s many manifestations  wants to release what we have been pushing down and is always communicating the subtle physical sensations present.

The body already knows what it needs and it is our real purpose to listen.

Somatic Counseling is the interaction of thoughts, emotions, and sensations on the body mind, the cellular membrane and the gate keepers. Discussing or considering one without the other is incomplete.

Eastern practices and philosophies, have been demonstrating for thousands of years its effectiveness in these domains. New research in mindfulness training, forgiveness, meditation, movement, Yoga, EMDR, breath and somatic therapies are fast becoming applications of choice in the field of therapy and is confirming the effectiveness of ancient approaches. It is not enough to depend on talk therapy. The entire nature of the human individual must be considered as well as all levels of awareness and consciousness.

Somatic Therapy works with a person’s complete experience. Their “problem” beliefs, emotions and body mind subtle physical sensations. This is a Holistic approach for the entire being.

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