Somatic psychology, also known as body psychotherapy, is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on finding and nurturing the connection between the body and the mind. While this concept still needs to be thoroughly research, the link between the body and the mind has already been proven, as there are numerous illnesses that are caused by stress or other mental problems. As such, it makes perfect sense that when dealing with mental illnesses, we should also involve the body in the therapy and vice versa.
The foundation of somatic psychology
This field of medicine has evolved greatly in the last few decades, and it will continue to evolve the more we study it. However, its foundation has always been and will forever continue to be the correlation between the mind and the body. It is important to understand that the mind and the body are not two separate entities. On the contrary, they are two mutually influencing entities that define the concept of self. Both entities have healing and growth capabilities, but for them to work together in a productive way, you need to acknowledge their link, and provide them with the necessary nutrients. Positive thoughts are for the mind what healthy food is for the body.
Recognizing non-verbal communication
The concept of somatic therapy can refer to a wide range of techniques and treatments. It can include the classic verbal therapy, but also numerous techniques that involve non-verbal communication. The first step is to get the patients to understand the importance of non-verbal communication. This helps them understand how their mind is expressing itself through the body. For example, when one is stressed, worried or sad, these emotions are expressed through different types of non-verbal messages like frowning, fidgety movement, fingernail biting, an arched posture, tics or OCD behaviors and so on. It is important to be aware of these messages sent by the mind, in order to prevent their effect on the body. For example, an improper posture can lead to back pains or even hunchbacks in extreme conditions.
As we already mentioned, the first step in somatic psychology is to get people to notice and understand their non-verbal messages. This way, they will become aware of the fact that there are problems to be dealt with. Once this happens, they need to recognize the emotions that cause those gestures, and eventually the cause of those emotions. Once the cause is discovered, the healing process can truly begin. The treatment can involve numerous exercises meant to increase awareness and activate new and healthy body messages. To make this happen, somatic therapists can use breathing exercises, yoga, dancing, meditation, massages and much more. The end goal is to discover and create positive emotions, posture and gestures.