The benefits of Somatic Psychotherapy and Counselling are many. It is a process where you and your counsellor (me) work towards lasting change, not just temporary change. Whilst the felt benefits are individual, they significantly change how you perceive life and yourself. Gradually you may feel yourself open up to:
Sometimes difficult experiences cause us to disconnect from our emotions and our body. This is an appropriate reaction to protect us from the pain. Over time, this disconnection cause us to have problems in finding real pleasure in life and fully live. If you have been hurt, it takes enormous trust and courage to accept support. Or wanting to let someone in to explore your inner world with you. Counselling and Psychotherapy is a place to begin to experience the healing of connection and support.
Somatic Psychotherapy is different from for example Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). We know we are not only our cognitive brain (our thoughts). We also have an emotional brain, intimately connected to our body.
When we process our thoughts (left brain) with the emotions (right brain) and bodily sensations at focus, we open up to a new way of making meaning that lasts. It allows for a transformational process of change. Changes to action, thinking and feeling patterns together – not just cognitive changes. By giving this kind of attention to yourself, you start to regain control and recover a sense of order.
Gaining increasing recognition in the mental health field is also that change happens in the trusting and empathic relationship between us. This means that therapy is not “work” that you do in isolation. I support you to allow your stronger self to emerge.
These are words by Maya Angelou. Being listened to and sharing your story in therapy allows you to reflect on your experience. Whilst initially this can be hard, it includes a trusted other into your world. With the right person, sharing your story opens up the possibility to experience a situation differently. The interdisciplinary field of research that looks at these processes is Interpersonal Neurobiology. Sharing stories creates a link between minds. In the right environment, sharing your story helps strengthen your self-identity. (“Why therapy works”, Louis Cozolino, 2016)
Like most things, emotional healing takes time. In the short term, cognitive behavioural techniques to “change our thought” patterns can improve our sense of wellbeing. For permanent emotional healing and lasting change to occur in our brains we need more. We need patterned, repetitive, positive experiences. When this happens you will discover new, strengthened and true ways to relate in the world. Over time we “teach” the brain to react differently, for you to genuinely feel different.
Counsellors and psychotherapists work in different ways, with different theoretical frameworks. It is not easy to know the difference between a counsellor, psychotherapist, psychologist and psychiatrist. Even two therapists with the same training will meet you differently. That is the nature of the interpersonal process in therapy.
I practise contemporary somatic psychotherapy. This is a psychodynamic approach, informed by Self Psychology & Intersubjectivity. We acknowledge that human minds are complex. To best support an individual, we need a dynamic approach influenced by many fields and attuned to you. I draw on Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, Affect Theory, Existentialism & Neurobiology. In combination with my own life experiences, these theories and philosophies form the background to my counselling practice. More about the cornerstones to good therapy here.
Seeing a counsellor is often thought to be about the difficulties. I believe it is also about lifting and celebrating the good. I also believe that when we are weak, we are strong. By being with a trusted other in our vulnerability, we grow stronger.
If you have a sense that Somatic Psychotherapy could benefit you, I am here to support you and be part of your journey.
~ Anna, Somatic Psychotherapy Counsellor