Somatic Therapy: New Approaches to Trauma Treatment (Arielle Schwartz)


Explore the science of embodiment and learn skills to help clients process stressful and traumatic events through breath and movement.

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Somatic Psychology emphasizes body awareness as an essential part of psychotherapy. This is especially beneficial in the treatment of PTSD when symptoms involve physiological distress, affect dysregulation, or dissociation.

Traditional approaches to therapy attend to the cognitive and emotional aspects of clients’ lives, while the somatic experience is often left out of the room.

Our bodies need to process stressful and traumatic events through breath and movement. Unfortunately, we are often taught to sit still and override movement impulses. As a result, the biological effects of stressful or traumatic events tend to persist long after events have passed.

“Talk therapy” can perpetuate this culture of stillness unless the therapist has the training and skills to integrate the body into psychotherapy. Interventions to enhance embodiment in trauma treatment expand the therapeutic experience beyond where words can take a client.

In this course that explores somatic therapy, you will learn the science of embodiment and why somatic psychology is essential for helping clients work with dysregulated affect and arousal states that accompany PTSD. We will discuss the key common factors of somatic psychology which are rooted in interpersonal neurobiology and polyvagal theory. We will also discuss the difference between “top-down” and “bottom-up” interventions and how they can be used to strengthen clients’ readiness for trauma reprocessing.

Without interventions that incorporate somatic awareness and movement, many therapeutic approaches are limited in their ability help clients fully release the impact of traumatic events. In other words, we cannot simply think our way out of traumatic activation. Through the intervention shared in this training, you will learn to help clients not only cope with their wounds but also find greater resolution.

What You Will Learn In This Workshop

  • Discuss the theoretical and scientific bases of somatic psychology.
  • Discuss the window of tolerance as it relates to dysregulation and dissociation.
  • Understand applied polyvagal theory in psychotherapy.
  • Explain neuroplasticity as it relates to trauma resolution.
  • Learn how to help clients build affect and sensation tolerance.
  • Explore the importance of mutual regulation and co-regulation in therapy.
  • Integrate somatic psychology into the tri-phasic model of trauma treatment.
  • Practice at least three interventions for developing somatic resources for safety and stabilization.
  • Practice at least three interventions to enhance embodiment in trauma treatment.
  • Explore somatic psychology as it relates to preverbal wounds and attachment trauma.
  • Understand the relationship between unresolved developmental adversities and health concerns in adulthood as it relates to somatic psychology applications for chronic pain and illness.
  • Explore how somatic psychology can be applied for clinician self-care to reduce vicarious traumatization.

US CE credits pending. Click here for details about CE credits..

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