Somatic Articles

Volume II


Psychotherapy through the Body: Engaging the

Body in Somatic Psychotherapy
by Bill Bowen, MFA, LMFT

"Direct experience is experience of the embodied self, and not experience of the complex conditions associated with thoughts, meanings, styles, actions, and the limiting issues and situations of various kinds related to a limited sense of self-identity. Therefore, direct experience, especially as a result of the use of touch, can support awareness of experiences underlying the stories that are connected to one’s limited and imaginary interpretations of who that person thinks him or herself to be. Conversely, interpretive experience often takes one deeper into the center of one’s story. This can be useful in resolving issues within the story, but it can also anchor one deeper into that story. The more we focus on understanding, on thoughts and knowing, the more we can get lost in the cognitive mind. It can certainly be useful to have some amount of understanding, but then one must let go of this focus and come back to actual physical experience, back to conscious awareness that has its seat in the here-and-now body."


Increasing Aliveness Through Positive Feedback Loops

(Notes on Somatic Psychotherapy)

by Marenka Cerny, LMFT

"One sign of the absence of felt internal boundaries is the perpetual need to turn toward whatever promises ease and pleasure in order to escape pain and difficulty. Practicing selectively permeable boundaries for the containment of feelings empowers self-regulation. “Selectively permeable” suggests the ability to make choices about the tone and the intensity of the ever-present internal dialogue, as well as what is exchanged between self and others—what is received into and given from the self. The kinesthetic sense of selectively permeable boundaries is a basis of self-identity and provides others something to push up against. Our boundaries, as opposed to defenses, signal the message we are substantial: I am here. You can push on me, but you may not push me over."


Volume I


Development of Awareness: Language and Breathing

as Essential Elements in Somatic Therapy

by Colleen Millen

"What would being in this constant state of shallow breath feel like? Perhaps, since digestion and elimination are interrupted the client could develop an emotional pattern, as is commonly stated, of not being able to let go. If the heart rate and blood pressure are high while the breath is insufficient, the client could feel an implicit fear of taking in more breath and an increase blood pressure, while getting signals from the body regarding not getting enough breath to live. These are merely hypotheses, and, to be sure, there are other aspects of observation and diagnosis that need to be considered to form a holistic picture of the client."


Childhood Development Through Somatic and Sensory Awareness by Kelsey A. Holt 

"As I played with Ned and Sophie, I asked them some probing questions about why they made certain decisions in their storylines, and sometimes I suggested an alternate storyline. Their responses to my questions and suggestions greatly informed my scope of their development. I will reveal as much of their development as I can infer through two theoretical paradigms. These lenses enable me to bring to light and create structure to hold what I know of the vast spirits and personalities embodied in these two children."