How Somatic Therapy Differs from Traditional Talk Therapies

Experiencing a traumatic event in life can result in trauma that can make a certain place within our bodies at the cellular level. Therefore, understanding what this means for an individual—and the best ways to heal from severe traumas encountered in life is necessary. Somatic therapy is a relatively newer form of mental health counseling that helps individuals get rid of trauma.

There is a growing public awareness that trauma can profoundly affect people. However, to date, somatic therapy has not matched cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and related techniques in terms of understanding, usage, and research demonstrating its value.

In this blog post, Maureen Donohue LCSW, an LCSW who offers Online Somatic Therapy, aims to help you understand this therapy and improve your overall well-being. Keep reading!

Understanding Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy was a less-known treatment option in the past. However, this mind-body treatment has become a mainstream intervention like other mind-body approaches, such as mindfulness meditation, mind-body stress reduction (MBSR), and others.

Somatic therapy is a holistic approach that recognizes the deep interconnection between the mind and body and seeks to facilitate well-being, personal development, and healing through this integral connection. Instead of solely addressing cognitive or emotional aspects, somatic therapy immerses itself in bodily experience, recognizing that physical sensations, tensions, and ailments reflect our emotional history.

Understanding the Core Concept of Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy is an intervention that focuses on the body and how emotions manifest within it. It is argued by somatic therapies that the body holds and discloses experiences and emotions; however, traumatic events or unsolved emotional problems may be “caught” in it. Somatic therapy is like Reiki Healing, which also releases physical and emotional blockages by recognizing the body’s role in storing trauma.

This innovative approach that is booming today integrates conscious body practices that include the body in the process of listening, self-knowledge, and emotional regulation. This holistic experience includes body, emotions, thoughts, and pre-reflective experiences, enabling a deeper and more integrative “realization.”

A somatic therapist, as an Intuitive Healer, can help awaken the wisdom and medicine of one’s being-body, fostering profound healing and personal growth.

Individuals Who Can Benefit from Somatic Therapy

Since disturbing feelings often manifest in the body in a debilitating way, somatic therapy aims to drain those emotions of their power, relieving pain and other stress manifestations, such as disrupted sleep or inability to concentrate.

These kinds of emotions can arise from a variety of conditions and circumstances that somatic therapy can help alleviate, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Experiencing a traumatic event can result in distressing memories and anxiety.
  • Complicated grief: It refers to a persistent and forceful sorrow that usually happens once a loved one is lost.
  • Depression: It means an individual feels desperate and disinterested in activities that persist for weeks.
  • Anxiety: Having fear and worry about the prospective concern can create a sense of persistent unease.
  • Trust and intimacy issues occur when an individual has harsh past experiences that make it difficult to form close relationships.
  • Self-esteem problems: An individual with a negative self-image and self-doubt due to losing confidence and self-worth.


Anxiety refers to anticipation of or forecasting a potential problem and is directly related to muscle tension. A typical consequence of anxiety is the development of avoidance behavior in an individual. When fear develops as an emotional response to an immediate threat, an individual may quickly tend to a fight or flight reaction – either staying to fight or leaving to escape danger.

Anxiety can cause muscle tension, especially in the neck, shoulders, jaw, and back. It can cause a lot of discomfort, pain, stiffness, and problems with daily activities. If we experience chronic anxiety or distress, it’s almost like having the foot on the accelerator. It’s not a panic attack, but… we never feel a respite, and there’s a constant wear on the body.

Understanding the Differences Between Somatic Therapy and Talk Therapies

Most often during typical talk therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) carries out interventions on the brain only that do not include activities nor sensations; they cautiously invite people to replacing annoying ideas about their behavior with positive thoughts.

However, in somatic therapy, the body is the starting point for achieving healing. This form of treatment cultivates awareness of bodily sensations and teaches people to feel safe in their bodies while exploring thoughts, emotions, and memories.

Cognitive-behavioral therapies focus on conscious thinking and work on challenging thoughts related to anxiety and behaviors, helping to desensitize people to uncomfortable sensations. However, somatic therapy is more about relieving tension than desensitizing people.

Even mindfulness meditation, which some experts consider somatic in nature, differs in a key aspect from somatic therapy. Mindfulness meditation allows any feeling or emotion to enter our mind without judging, rather than specifically focusing on the bodily sensations that are happening.

Somatic Therapy Session Overview

Individuals may seek help from a body therapist when they feel certain emotions that have been trapped within their physical selves for too long and need to be released. This kind of therapy is somatic therapy, which involves using different techniques that involve both the mind and the body.

Other techniques are equally integral but not as common. Some on this list include:

  • Body awareness helps people recognize tension points in the body and evoke calming thoughts.
  • Pendulation moves people out of a relaxed state into their traumatic experiences’ emotions, then moving them back to a relaxed state.
  • As titration concurrently attends to the corresponding bodily reactions, it takes individuals back through intense moments, thus assisting them manage their emotional hurt.
  • Resourcing assists people in recalling resources in their lives, making them feel calm.

Considering Somatic Therapy: Key Things to Know

Although only a few studies are on somatic therapy, this treatment options offers numerous benefits. This perhaps the main factor you are always recommended CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Somatic therapy has numerous advantages, as mentioned earlier, it is not yet as supported well by research studies as CBT and some other therapies.

Health insurance is more likely to cover somatic therapy when a person is dealing with extreme mental trauma symptoms, such as seizures. In other words, insurers are more likely to pay for known treatments such as CBT.

Furthermore, it is not easy to find a skilled somatic therapist. Fewer people are trained in somatic therapies than in CBT. So, finding an experienced practitioner is definitely a complicated process. A helpful resource is the Maureen Donohue LCSW, which offers an experienced somatic therapist at your service – Maureen Donohue who possess 20+ years of experience. If you ever need Online Somatic Therapy, contact Maureen Donohue LCSW to start living the life you choose!

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