Somatic therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the connection between the body and the mind. It aims to help individuals understand and work through emotional and psychological difficulties by exploring the physical sensations and experiences that are associated with them. The goal is to help individuals become more aware of and attuned to their bodies, which can help them better understand and manage their emotions and thoughts. It can help people deal with unresolved emotional issues that are affecting their physical health. It involves working with the body to release tension and restore balance and can be helpful for people who have chronic physical pain, anxiety, or other emotional problems.
The history of somatic therapy can be traced back to ancient times, when various forms of physical practices, such as yoga, were used for healing and spiritual growth. But as a contemporary form of therapy, it has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th century, when several different movements emerged that emphasized the importance of the body in understanding and treating mental health conditions.
One of the earliest forms of somatic therapy was the work of the German psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, who developed the concept of “body armor” to explain the ways in which emotional and psychological difficulties can become physically manifest in the body. Reich’s work laid the foundation for the development of various forms of body psychotherapy, which emerged in the mid-20th century.
During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of therapists began to develop body-centered therapies that emphasized the importance of the body in understanding and treating mental health conditions. Some of these therapies include: bioenergetics, developed by Alexander Lowen, which focuses on the connection between emotions and the body, and Hakomi therapy, developed by Ron Kurtz.
In the 1980s, Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing, which is a body-oriented approach to treating trauma, and that also addresses the physical and emotional sensations that are held in the body.
Today, somatic therapy is a diverse field that encompasses a wide range of approaches, including body-centered psychotherapy, somatic experiencing, Hakomi therapy, and somatic meditation. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy and medication to treat a wide range of conditions, including trauma, anxiety, and depression.