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What Is Somatic Therapy and How Can It Help?

The word somatic originates from the Greek word “soma” which means living body. Somatic therapy takes a holistic treatment approach focusing on the dynamic relationship between the mind and the body as one united entity. According to somatic therapy theory, bodies can hold physical sensations from past trauma, which can manifest as physical symptoms in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), digestive issues, sexual dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, immune system dysfunction, posture issues and pain.


While talk-based therapies can be helpful in treating trauma, somatic therapy (i.e., body-oriented psychotherapy) can be a helpful supplement to healing trauma that may be trapped in the body and stored at deeper depths than talk-based interventions can fully access. In fact, trauma expert Bessel van derk Kolk has stated that somatic approaches may play an essential role in trauma treatment.


Somatic therapy interventions can give clients tools to help regulate the ANS and return to a state of homeostasis within the body and mind. Curious what this looks like? Here are some key interventions used in somatic therapy.


  1. Developing Somatic Awareness

  2. Resourcing

  3. Grounding in the Here-and-Now

  4. Using Descriptive Language

  5. Movement

  6. Co-Regulation and Self-Regulation

  7. Boundary Development

  8. Titration


Somatic therapy can be helpful in improving self-awareness and connection to others. Clients who have undergone somatic therapy may notice an increased ability to sense their own bodies, reduce stress and tension, and explore emotional and physical sensations. With the help of a licensed therapist, somatic therapy can help people better manage physical symptoms and experience a more balanced life.



Beverly Reed, MACP, is trained in many areas such as anxiety and depression, plus many more. For more information on Beverly and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.