• Somatic… somatic what?

  • Clare Myatt, somatic, coaching, somatic coaching, psychotherapy, embodied, Strozzi, London, addiction, highly sensitive person

    In the last couple of weeks I've had multiple telephone enquiries from potential clients interested in Somatic Experiencing.

    I'm guessing my name has appeared in a web search, for I'm certified as a Master Somatic Coach and use the word somatic liberally, viewing the world through that lens. While familiar with Somatic Experiencing from the client's perspective, and having read a number of Peter Levine's books, I'm not officially trained as an SE practitioner, so I've been completely transparent and declared I may not be quite what they're looking for, although can certainly help. Which leads me to this piece, something about the different somatic approaches available.

    Peter Levine's Waking the Tiger, selling over 250,000 copies worldwide since its publication in 1997, established his expertise in healing trauma using a somatic approach. (It follows the seminal works of Judith Herman Trauma and Recovery (1992) and Bessel van der Kolk The Body Keeps the Score (1994)). Since then Dr. Levine has created a worldwide training foundation educating countless SE practitioners in his somatic methodology. My training is in a similar approach, designed by Staci K. Haines and known as Somatics and Trauma.

    What do all the somatic approaches have in common?

    • We believe the body records trauma, holding it at cellular level

    • We believe trauma shapes our way of relating in the world - to self and other

    • We believe the body benefits from the presence of a professionally trained practitioner, assisting, encouraging, guiding the body to release trauma in a safe environment, gradually, at its own pace

    And there, perhaps, is the rub. Much as we may want to believe healing trauma can be neatly parcelled in x number of sessions, it's been my personal and professional experience that the body takes its time. Some need months, some need longer. Actually, I prefer to think of trauma recovery from a different perspective - that it's over a lifetime, reflecting our personal circumstances, developmental capability, capacity, time and financial resources. My personal experience has been this: a deep dive into healing work in the early days, tapering off as I increasingly embodied recovery in the broadest sense of the word, maintenance work in the mid-years, with occasional periods of fine-tuning latterly. Your journey may be similar, or may be different. We each have a unique fingerprint, and equally unique needs when it comes to a process of recovery.

    There are other somatic methodologies as well, ones I'm aware of include:

    Sensorimotor (an article on the difference between sensorimotor psychotherapy and SE) founded by Dr. Pat Ogden

    Hakomi established by Dr. Ron Kurtz

    NARM designed by Dr. Laurence Heller

    TRE (TRE in the UK) courtesy Dr. David Berceli

    EMDR founded by Dr. Francine Shapiro (and here an interesting article by someone who practices EMDR, Brainspotting, Hakomi and Sensorimotor)

    If you're not quite sure where to start and would like an obligation-free conversation with me to get the ball rolling, please email or contact me.