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Introduction to Somatic Learning-
A Journey Within for Mental Health Counselling

Traditional mental health and well-being approaches have often focused primarily on cognitive processes and verbal communication. However, a profound shift is occurring, guided by a holistic understanding of human experience. Somatic learning represents a significant change that can unlock the connection between the mind and body, leading to deep healing and personal development. Somatic learning is based on neuroscience and psychology and goes beyond traditional therapy methods. It provides a distinctive approach to overcoming psychological issues by utilizing the body's knowledge in healing.


Unveiling Somatic Learning: Beyond Words and Thoughts


Somatic learning encapsulates that the body is an integral vessel of experience, carrying memories, emotions, and patterns that intertwine with cognitive processes. Unlike traditional therapeutic models that primarily rely on talk therapy, somatic learning invites individuals to explore their sensations, bodily responses, and movements as gateways to emotional awareness and healing. This paradigm recognizes that trauma, stress, and even joy are embodied experiences imprinted in the mind and the body's nervous system.


The Scientific Benefits of Somatic Learning in Mental Health Counselling


Integrating somatic learning into mental health counselling brings a treasure trove of scientific benefits complementing traditional approaches. Research supports this approach, revealing the complex link between the body and mind, which provides a solid basis for its effectiveness.


1. Trauma Resolution and Regulation:

Research indicates that trauma is stored not only in memory but also in bodily sensations. Somatic learning offers an avenue for safely processing and releasing trauma, supporting clients in navigating overwhelming emotional experiences. By engaging with the senses, individuals can learn to regulate their physiological responses, effectively reducing symptoms of trauma-related disorders.


2. Enhanced Emotional Awareness:

The body often provides early signals of emotional states preceding conscious awareness. Somatic learning fosters heightened emotional awareness by teaching individuals to tune into these bodily cues. This improved emotional literacy enables clients to identify and address underlying issues obscured by cognitive defenses.


3. Stress Reduction and Resilience Building:

Somatic practices have been linked to reduced stress levels and improved emotional resilience. Through mindful movement and breathwork, individuals can modulate the body's stress response, fostering a sense of relaxation and well-being. We offer clients practical tools to help manage stress in their everyday lives.


4. Embodied Empowerment:

Somatic learning empowers individuals to become active participants in their healing journey. By cultivating an intimate connection with their bodies, clients can develop a sense of agency, enabling them to navigate challenges with greater confidence and autonomy.


As we delve deeper into somatic learning, it becomes evident that it promises to transform mental health counselling into a more holistic and integrative endeavor. The scientific underpinnings and the growing body of research underline the potential of this approach to create profound shifts in individuals' well-being. By embracing somatic learning, mental health practitioners embark on a journey that bridges the gap between mind and body, offering clients a more comprehensive and embodied path to healing.



1. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Penguin Books.

2. Levine, P. A. (2010). In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. North Atlantic Books.

3. Price, C., & Hooven, C. (2018). Interoceptive Awareness Skills for Emotion Regulation: Theory and Approach of Mindful Awareness in Body-Oriented Therapy (MABT). Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 798.

4. Payne, R. (2002). Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health. Da Capo Press.


5. Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy.


6. Van der Hart, O., Nijenhuis, E. R., & Steele, K. (2005). The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization.


7. Price, C. J., & Thompson, E. A. (2007). Measuring Dimensions of Body Connection: Body Awareness and Bodily Dissociation.


8. Payne, R., & Crane-Godreau, M. A. (2013). The preparatory set: a novel approach to understanding stress, trauma, and the bodymind therapies.


9. Cornell, W. F. (1990). The felt sense: Polyvagal theory and the spiritual dimension of trauma.** This paper discusses the relationship between somatic experiences, polyvagal theory, and spirituality in the context of trauma.


10. Ehrenreich-May, J., Bilek, E. L., Buzzella, B. A., Kennedy, S. M., & Glenn, J. J. (2018). The integration of mindfulness and somatic awareness in the treatment of anxiety disorders.


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