Relational somatic psychetherapy is a body-centred process that differs slightly from traditional counselling approaches. The focus here is on noticing sensations, feelings, and impulses that arise from the body- the container of our life's information. To notice what is happening, we need to slow down to listen and witness ourselves with compassion and awareness.
We can then notice imprints and feedback loops that limit our potential for new possibilities and choices. Seeing our internal conditions, often created by circumstances in the past, can create welcome change in the present moment.
Somatic psychetherapy is a combination of neuroscience, Attachment Theory, and trauma resolution work. Here is a some information about each of these areas.
Neuroscience: examines the functions of the brain. Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) involves understanding the implicit and explicit, as well as left and right brain processes. IPNB suggests possibilities for healing trauma by stimulating the brain with powerful and positive persuasion. Studies have shown that conditions that were once considered to be irreversible may actually be able to be transformed in a healthy way. Because the brain grows continuously throughout our lives, the implications for healing are unending. The approach appreciates the power of meditation in creating new neuronal pathways and has been lead by researchers Daniel Siegel and Allan Schore.
Attachment Theory: studies the need, and the ways, we attach to other human beings. Our attachment structure forms prenatally and during the first 3 years of life. Attachment styles are not who we are but merely the ways we have unconsciously learned to minimize hurt and disappointment in relationships. Somatic psychetherapy offers interventions for attachment repair. Attachment theory is the joint work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. More recently, Diane Poole Heller combines somatic psychetherapy and attachment theory.
Trauma resolution work: recognizes that trauma occupies our biology and that it cannot be solely resolved through talk therapy. Trauma can be described as too much, too soon, and too fast. When unresolved trauma inhabits our body, it may interfere with our ability to be present and live fully. Somatic trauma resolution works with the nervous system and survival responses in the body. Pat Ogden, Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk, and Sharon Stanley are some of the pioneers of somatic trauma resolution work.