What is somatic movement?
Somatic movement is mindful movement that connects your thinking brain with your feeling body for intentional and authentic living. Through somatic movement education, you discover healthful, expressive and communicative movement for your unique soma, the Greek word for “living body.” It is a whole-body, drug-free approach to physical and emotional wellness and wholeness that emphasizes personal discovery and empowerment.
My therapeutic approach comes from my training in Dynamic Embodiment™, “which integrates skilled touch, movement and compassionate dialogue to help people of all ages and abilities relieve their own stress, find enhanced expressiveness, and balance all aspects of the body and psyche.” Modalities of Dynamic Embodiment™ include Bartenieff Fundamentals, Laban Movement Analysis, Body-Mind Centering®, mindfulness techniques and dance.
While practitioners have used somatic movement for centuries, the term “somatic education” did not become more widely used until around 1976.
Is this an exercise program? Will I have to buy supplements or follow a diet?
My somatic approach addresses physical and emotional healing using what you already posses — your body. There are no supplements or equipment to buy or diets to follow. Somatic movement is an appropriate holistic alternative to prescription drugs for many physical and emotional ailments and conditions. My belief is that feeling alive in your body and good about your body does not require “fixing” the appearance of your body. That being said, you may see changes in your body over time or notice you’re eating better by choice. Your body is intricately connected to your brain and your emotions. Mindful movement does more than restore your body; it recalibrates your organs and state of mind.
How is Somatic Movement Therapy different than traditional talk therapy?
Human bodies hold tension and trauma, past and present. For those interested in emotional healing without talking about the past, somatic movement therapy is an appropriate option because the methods go directly to the emotional source: the body. A trained somatic movement therapist keeps the client physically grounded in the present moment for safe release of emotionally ‘held’ areas of the body. Verbal processing can accompany the physical experience if desired, but it’s not emphasized. Connecting body with brain, somatic movement calms the nervous system and boosts endorphin levels, allowing for drug-free treatment of anxiety and depression. Somatic movement therapy can compliment traditional talk therapy or sometimes be a appropriate alternative with equally effective results. I’m happy to communicate with your psychotherapist to offer you integrative care.
How is Somatic Movement Therapy different from Somatic Experiencing Therapy?
While the two sound similar, they are actually quite different. Somatic Movement Experiencing Therapy is a particular model of psychotherapy that emphasizes the sensing of bodily sensation for emotional healing. Somatic Movement Therapy, which I practice, emphasizes movement for both physical and emotional healing. My particular approach emphasizes movement repatterning and movement communication in addition to the sensing of bodily sensation. I do this by guiding you in physically moving your body through space with awareness and intention, incorporating skilled touch, rhythm, movement dynamics and embodied understanding of the body systems (particularly muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory and endocrine). As a Certified Movement Analyst, I also provide comprehensive analysis of your particular movement patterns in order to offer appropriate intervention for your healing.
How is Somatic Movement Therapy different than traditional physical therapy?
Physical therapy addresses the function of the body, while Somatic Movement Therapy addresses the function, expression and communication of the body. I will always recommend starting with traditional PT for acute injury. Following PT, Somatic Movement Therapy can get you back into mindful, full-body moving to prevent repeat injury. Somatic Movement Therapy is especially effective when the healing requires emotional support as well as physical. In the case of chronic injury or pain, a Somatic Movement Therapist can identify and address problematic movement patterns that impede ease of motion and overall wellness. Some clients choose to work with me while working with their traditional PT and reap great results. I’m happy to communicate with your PT to offer you integrative care for your specific injury.
Where do sessions take place?
At the present time sessions can be in-person or virtual. In-person can take place in the comfort of your own home (greater Grand Rapids and Holland, MI), with an additional $5 to $15 travel fee, depending on location). Any size space will work, as long as the selected space is distraction-free with a smooth and gentle floor surface. Nearby parks are also possible, weather permitting. Stay tuned for updates on a permanent location in Holland!
You mention God throughout your website. Why?
My practice is grounded in my Christian faith. I believe God designed our bodies and minds to be resilient, communicative and self-healing. That being said, you don’t need to have my same faith, and we don’t need to focus on faith. You will have the opportunity to communicate your preferences at our first session and, if you wish, to change those preferences along the way.
How many sessions will I/we need?
I recommend a minimum of eight sessions, but you may find the results you are looking for more quickly. There will be check-ins at the beginning of our sessions so that you will clearly know when your goals have been met.
What should I/we wear?
Please dress in comfortable clothing that allows you to lie, sit, stand and move.
What if I have a disability or injury?
Somatic movement is an appropriate option for those with disabilities, chronic injury/pain or chronic illness because the approach respects individual abilities and wellness and treats the whole person – physically, mentally and emotionally. Prior to your first session we will discuss any issues or concerns to ensure a plan that works for you.
Do you take insurance?
I do not take insurance.
Payment and cancellation policy
- Schedule a complimentary phone consultation.
- Explore personalized goals for wellness and wholeness.
- Move with me weekly to listen to your body, wake up your senses, repattern your movement and clarify your physical communication.
- Start a new chapter of physical and emotional freedom.