Somatic Therapy Chicago

Understanding the Benefits of Somatic Therapy in Chicago

somatic therapy Chicago

Somatic therapy has many benefits as it aims to lessen the functional impact of trauma and emotional distress, therefore improving the individual’s daily functioning and quality of life. Areas such as sleep, mood, physical health, ability status, alertness and social connection can all be positively impacted by somatic therapy. A common benefit is the reduction in pain or tension in the body, which can have several positive trickle down effects for the individual, leaving them feeling lighter in their bodies and more capable of engaging with their life. 

What is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy focuses on the body first, helping to gain awareness and explore emotions and body sensations with the goal of healing from trauma and unresolved emotional concerns. Somatic counseling is based on the idea that emotions, memories and trauma all live in the body, and can be healed through a body focused treatment method rather than putting sole focus on the mind.

How does Somatic Therapy work?

A somatic therapist will first assess the individual to gain an understanding of their body, their mental health and history. The treatment plan is completely individualized and is carried out with full collaboration and consent. Techniques utilized in somatic counseling include movement in the form of stretching and dance, acupuncture, mindfulness of body sensations, relaxation techniques, and imagery of safe people and places. If the individual has a trauma history, they might be encouraged to verbally process their trauma while focusing on their body and relaxing any tense areas that respond to the emotions of the trauma, therefore helping to release the trauma from the body. 

Who can benefit from Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy benefits anyone who has experienced trauma or intense emotions that seem to be getting in the way of daily functioning. Symptoms such as disrupted sleep, muscle tension, pain, fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) respond well to somatic therapy. Diagnoses that are benefited by somatic therapy include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and grief. 

How to choose the right somatic therapist in Chicago?

There are two steps to choosing the right somatic therapist. First, make sure the therapist is highly trained and has experience using somatic therapy in their practice. Asking questions like “how much somatic training have you completed?” and “how often do you use somatic therapy principles in your work?” will shine a light on the level of experience and expertise a therapist has. 

Second, the therapist needs to be experienced at treating the individual’s specific concerns. For example, if past trauma and complex grief has left an individual with IBS and insomnia, they would want to find a therapist who has used somatic therapy techniques to treat those concerns before. Being honest about symptoms, goals and expectations up front opens up a clear line of communication and ensures that it will be the right fit.

Somatic Counseling Resources

Somatic Experiencing International is an organization with a fantastic website full of additional information and resources. There are many books and workbooks to choose from to learn more, but “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk is perhaps the most highly regarded book in this field. It examines the connection between traumatic experiences and the body itself, and outlines how our bodies remember and re-experience trauma if it is not properly processed. 

Somatic Therapists in Chicago

if you’re looking for a Somatic therapist in Chicago, cityscape counseling would love to work with you.

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