The Work

talks

Somatic Psychotherapy is an integrative (integrating psychodynamic and somatic theory and praxis) experiential therapy designed to address a person’s ‘character’. This term really refers to the whole constellation of adaptive and maladaptive traits, inherited and acquired, that create a particular identity, you! It is particularly those maladaptive traits, which are defensive in nature, that prevent and distort the expression of the ‘primary’ or undefended personality and identity. Hence somatic psychotherapy is a contemporary version of character analytic psychotherapy which locates itself in the character analytic tradition of psychoanalysis and is more suited to medium and long-term work.

Much like psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in general, contemporary somatic psychotherapy is also particularly influenced by a range of more recent disciplines. These include Attachment Theory and Child Development studies, and, to an extent, Neurobiology. It also draws on philosophical inquiry, in particular Intersubjectivity and Phenomenology.

This mixture means that clinical work is necessarily an ongoing integration of a wide range of theory and practice, hence somatic psychotherapy really does become a philosophy, art and science.

The areas that I am specifically trained, experienced and supervised in are as follows:

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of therapy with over 100 years of thought and development behind it. It is researched and has shown itself to be equally effective as other psychological therapies for many issues in life, and more effective over the longer term for more complex issues. It aims to create emotionally real insight and self understanding. It achieves this by focusing on both conscious and unconscious aspects of thought, feeling, relating and behaviour, fostering awareness of the way that the self formed and continues to re-form and the ways that it continually represents and relates itself, both to itself and to others.

For a good read about this well researched approach, I highly recommend Jonathan Shedler

Somatics (somatic enquiry)

This informs and orientates the psychodynamic work to the felt sense, the gestural field and the whole range of non verbal communication in the here and now, and fosters a deeper sense of self and a mindful experience of underlying psychological process’ as they manifest in real time. To learn more about this area, a good resource is the International Body Psychotherapy Journal (IBPJ)

EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing is a safe, well researched trauma resolution technique that acknowledges the somatic, cognitive and behavioural/perceptual elements of the way trauma is held in the mindbody and the need for these elements to be engaged in its resolution. To learn more about EMDR, then follow this link to the EMDR Association of Australia.