Body-Focused Therapies

There are a few body-focused therapies and approaches in modern psychotherapy that include work with the body sensations as the gateway to healing unresolved traumas.

Anything that was experienced as a threatening event can cause PTSD-like symptoms. Shortness of breath, red spots, sweaty palms, tension and numbness in the body, racing heart, distressed stomach  are uncontrollable reactions of the body when we feel overwhelmed. 

These reactions might stay long after the trauma-inducing event is over as if the original threat is still present. Body-focused therapists believe that the traumatic experiences are ‘trapped’ deep in the body if it was too overwhelming for your nervous system to process at the time of the event. 

Trauma that is ‘stuck’ in the body shows up when triggered by a similar event or a situation. It’s kind of reminder of what happened a long time ago and you react as if the danger is still eminent. 

Body-based therapies are focused on these bodily responses and help to re-set the nervous system, calm the body and give the signal to the brain that the threat is over. 

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Sensorimotor therapy is a ‘body-based talk therapy’, it works well with developmental trauma as well as sexual, emotional or physical abuse.

During a traumatic event, our body reacts in a way that is associated with survival, such as fight, flight or freeze response. This body-centered approach helps clients to heal through re-experiencing physical sensations associated with a traumatic event in a safe environment.

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy was developed by Peter A. Levine. He who noticed that animals in the wild recover fully from life-death situations through the process of experiencing the process of noticing, reacting and reacting to the dangerous event. In the human world, we often are not able to process fully the traumatic event. As a result, the energy of the trauma is ‘stuck’ in the body. Through SE the therapist helps the client to discharge this chemical discharge by shaking off, running away, trembling. When you re-experience the past events where you run away from the predator your mind resets the mind and body and restores the nervous system to the normal cycling between alertness and rest.

As Part of EMDR therapy

Working with bodily sensations is part of EMDR protocols. EMDR work combines beliefs, feelings, emotions and bodily sensations. We had success in reducing actual physical pain in the body. We observe the reduction of the intensity or modification of the pain in most cases.

Focusing 

Focusing therapy is used to deepen clients’ experiences through the body, allowing the bodily sensations to lead the therapeutic process. The focus of this process is ‘felt sense’

As Part of Ego states therapy

Besides standing alone body-based therapies working with bodily sensations is part of many approaches in modern psychotherapy.

Reiki

Besides standing alone body-based therapies working with bodily sensations is part of many approaches in modern psychotherapy.

body-focused-therapies-reiki

Therapeutic yoga

Therapeutic yoga brings together movement, breathing, relaxation and mindfulness. Studies show therapeutic yoga practice can relieve stress, reduce blood pressure and cortisol level, stabilize breathing and heart rate. Therapeutic yoga is not the same as your yoga class in the nearest studio though. A practitioner must be professionally trained in therapeutic yoga trauma-informed and have training in anatomy and physiology, have knowledge of drugs and surgical procedures, psychology and mental health.

Although rare therapeutic yoga has some side effects, so consult with your doctor before practicing therapeutic yoga. A qualified yoga practitioner also will be able to suggest modifications to your practice.