Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Somatic Counseling and Eating Disorders

Body Psychotherapy in Eating Disorder Recovery What is Somatic Counseling? Translated literally, “soma” means body. Somatic counseling is a form of psychotherapy that views the body as an integral part of the counseling process. Body psychotherapy is considered to be one branch under the larger umbrella of somatic counseling. Somatic counseling is derived from a rich lineage of psychologists, clinicians, bodywork practitioners, psychologists, dancers, and philosophers. The theories and perspectives of psychoanalysis, existential, humanistic, and gestalt psychology, expressive arts, neuroscience, and Eastern philosophy and spirituality all contribute to the practice of somatic counseling today. The founders of somatic counseling observed that the body often holds key wisdom that can be invaluable in understanding the psyche and in facilitating personal growth and transformation. On both subtle and overt levels, the body has witnessed and experienced all that has happened in each person’s life and holds its own memories and insights about these experiences. Accessing and honoring this information from the body in psychotherapy provides a wealth of knowledge that may not be part of more traditional “talk therapy” sessions. The information held within the body may also not readily be available to conscious awareness, though it may be influencing a person through illness, overwhelming emotions, or a sense of “stuckness.” Allowing the body to have a voice in somatic counseling through using specific techniques allows this information to enter cognitive awareness and provides an opportunity to process and work with it in a deep and profound way. Somatic counseling encourages a true integration of body, mind, and spirit in therapy. (Source: United States Association for Body Psychotherapy) What are the...