When To Use Somatic Psychotherapy In Practice

Somatic psychotherapy is a part of the overall discipline of psychotherapy which is concerned largely with body movement. It is a discipline which has now been part of psychotherapy for over a hundred years, yet there are still arguments as to how effective it can be in dealing with certain types of mental disorder, and there are many modern disorders on which it has scarcely been tried. In the realm of behavioral and educational difficulties in children, for example, a lot more research would be needed before we could determine any potential benefit.

The use of the body in therapy is not a new idea, and there are some sources who believe it was used hundreds of years ago. In the modern psychotherapy movement, we can go back over a hundred years to find the pioneers of the technique. It has never been popular in most schools of Western psychotherapy, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is only limited evidence to show that movement of the body has any profound psychological effect. There is also the consideration of potential ethical difficulties, given the proximity of the two parties. Very few therapists want to run the risk of being exposed to this type of issue.

There are limited numbers of people who can be treated with this type of therapy. It works best with those who have been subjected to trauma, and who have buried negative emotions. The use of the mind and body techniques can help to bring repressed memories to the surface, and the practitioner will need to know what to do in case there is an exceptionally emotional or violent reaction. This type of training is best carried out with another practitioner who has experience of those type of therapy, after you have completed your basic training and qualified to hold a license.

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There is no specific training which will get you licensed to practice somatic psychotherapy, so you will need to take part in a general psychotherapy course. This can give you not only the experience and the qualification you need to practice this type of therapy effectively, it will also give you a rounded background of knowledge you can use to employ a variety of therapies. The courses which are most respected are those which are run through the traditional college system, and having this on your resume could be useful if you want a partnership or a job in teaching.

There are also courses offered by independent learning providers which can help you break into psychotherapy even if you are unable to devote years to a residential program. Only a small part of the course will concern mind body therapies, but you will need to go through everything to achieve the qualification you will need. This may take more time, but it will be a good thing in the long run as you will have a far better idea of when the therapy should be employed. The most effective practitioners are those who can offer different therapies.


You will have to decide for yourself whether or not to use somatic psychotherapy. Make sure you understand exactly what you need to get the patient to do before attempting to give them directions, and be sure above all else that you have picked the right patient. A therapist who chooses wisely, and who knows when to use other therapies instead, is likely to have a far higher success rate than someone who uses the therapy indiscriminately. There are always going to be times when you will be uncertain, but if you pick your times carefully you can achieve good success with somatic psychotherapy.

Author: Marc Knox






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