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Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy is a body-centred form of psychotherapy that is a unique blend of traditional and contemporary approaches to the body–mind. It uses Somatic psychology, traditional bodywork, Eastern healing arts and mind-full meditation practices.

Being in our bodies means experiencing life through our feelings, sensations and interactions. The word Soma — the ‘living body’ — signifies how we shape and form our body.

When we are born we are naturally alive and present in our body. Our breath is unrestricted and we breathe with our whole being; our movement responses are immediate, spontaneous, authentic and appropriate. We are constantly in motion, relating directly, without thinking, from our being to others and to the world around us.

Your body is organic, and you need to listen to its rhythms until you feel that each cell … is talking to you. When you develop such sensitive awareness of your body … you can tell it what to do … Your whole body feels light and blissful … It is liberating … you reach a point where your body and mind co-operate so perfectly that you feel body is mind and mind is body.

– Lama Yeshe

Over time we lose some of this aliveness and presence. Our lived history, experiences, attitudes and beliefs become held in the tissues of the physical body as it forms itself around the events of our lives and our responses to these events. In the process, we become prisoners of our past and our range of movement and capacity for experiencing aliveness is severely limited. We forget what the infant knew: how to feel good and happy, how to self regulate and embody well-being.

“Body is mind,
mind is body.”


What Does a Somatic Therapist Do?

A Somatic therapist seeks to learn a client’s embodied history, their body shape and how this limits or supports their natural way of being in the world and their capacity to form satisfying and lasting relationships with others.

Stanley Keleman, the founder of Somatic psychology, says of the Somatic therapist:
When a therapist enters the somatic emotional process of a person, he encounters more of that person’s ideas about himself or his habitual feeling state. He begins to discover the person’s embodied history and how his interaction with himself and others creates a human shape that guarantees his tomorrow.

Somatic therapy is an evolving dynamic process based partly on talking and partly on working directly with the client’s embodied experience — using awareness, breath, movement, sound and touch. Hendrika’s work is also based firmly on the client being (or becoming) self-directive and engaged in discovering the emotional language of their basic somatic structure.

She offers a safe and supportive space for clients to explore particular problems or life dilemmas, enabling them to become the source of information by encouraging them in contacting their body — listening to their body with attention and deep sincerity — and reawakening their aliveness.

Hendrika believes that most of our wounding happens within the relationship and that the healing process too needs the human relationship — it cannot take place in isolation. The therapeutic relationship itself offers real possibility for positive change. Recent research on the brain’s plasticity affirms the healing capacity of the therapeutic process: new pathways in the brain are formed when new experiences of relationship are introduced and embodied by the client.

There is a force within that gives you life –
Seek that.
In your body there lies a priceless jewel –
Seek that.
Oh, wandering Sufi,
If you are in search of the greatest treasure,
Don’t look outside
Look within, and seek that.

– Rumi