Somatic Psychology: Intro and Chapter 1 Notes

Psychology and the Body

· Elimination of symptoms does not necessarily mean elimination of cause.

· Somatic practices such as bodywork and body psychotherapy strive to address unconscious patterns held within the body.

· Somatic practices are useful because they address they treat the individual on all levels: physiological, psychological, social and spiritual.

· “For healing and growth to be deep, enduring, and meaningful to the client, all aspects of his or her being must be engaged” (Hartely, 3)

· Infants live through embodied experience but as humans grow older we begin to differentiate emotion, sensation and thought leading to the mindbody split.

· The split becomes perpetuated through pain, trauma and social conditioning.

· Thomas Hanna was the first to introduce the term somatics.

· Hanna defined Soma as ‘the body experienced from within.’

· The split between mind and body happened early on:

· In the late 16th century the study of the human body was sectioned into 2 compartments: psychology and somatology

· The divide became even more pronounced when anatomy and physiology developed later on, severing science from psychology.

· Somatics also known as somatology refers to practices that help to cultivate integration between mind and body through enhanced awareness.

· Somatic-movement therapy and hands-on bodywork are the two primary forms of somatic therapy

· German Psychologist, Alfred Adler, focused on the relationship between psychological and physical imbalances; mainly how psychological states can affect the central and autonomic nervous systems.

· What he found was that respiration, circulation, muscles, endocrine glands, and bodily organs are all affected by psychological tension.

· Psychologist’s Reich and Jung both believed that valuable, unconscious information was held and could be expressed through the body.

· “The body; like the dream, holds the seeds of healing and growth, and though exploring the body, its chronic contractions, and pains, and symptoms of disease, we may access this healing sources. The healing is already known within the symptom. The hope is that, as the body as shadow is acknowledged, owned, understood, and its processes integrated into consciousness, the body becomes a guide and a teacher in our development, indicating where we are out of balance, where we have strayed too far from our path, where we have overstepped our limitations or not met our basic needs, and where wrong attitudes are keeping us stuck and immobilized” (Hartley, 26).