Somatic Techniques

Somatic Techniques


Moshe Feldenkrais and Tom Hanna contributed to the use of Somatic techniques and how the methodology can be used to relieve tight muscles. There is a relationship between the body and mind which has the potential to initiate muscle relaxation. By understanding how nerve sensors direct the brain and muscle function the patient will know how to control their mood and nervous energy. There is an area of the brain that controls sensation and muscles. If there is impairment in communication the subconscious is then in control of nerve sensors which is why they contract. Clients learn Somatic techniques in psychology or therapeutic sessions which lead to relaxation in their body and mind.

Goals of Somatic Techniques

After patients learn the techniques they can fulfill their innate needs. Counselors teach clients how to implement the methodology through somatic awareness and practice throughout the session. The goal is to learn how to reflect on the event, emotions and experiences which will release traumatic energy. Once the patient builds trust with the counselor they will then possess the ability to communicate about what may have caused their physical tension. Once the technique has been learned the patient goes through a transformative process that deepens the awareness of their conscious ability. This requires embodiment and purpose which is found during Somatic care. Once the individuals notice their own sensations and stay in touch with them it allows for the exploration of healing and the elimination of anxiety or depression.

When are Somatic Techniques Used?

Somatic Techniques are used when an individual is having a difficult time controlling the tension and discomfort of their muscles. It is the result of memories or traumatic experiences that have been repressed and forgotten about consciously – although, the subconscious has yet to deal with the experience. They are used when memories have caused physical discomfort, depression, anxiety and worrisome patterns. Being that there is a direct relationship between the brain and the body, patients can learn the techniques and become aware of the body so that tension and emotions are eliminated completely. They are most often used on those who have dealt with trauma and associated emotions.

How Somatic Techniques Work

The methodology can be applied through awareness and breathing techniques which allow the individual to control the muscle groups. The counselor teaches the client how to relax in a stretched position. By focusing on the muscle and breathing given areas of the body will soon relax. This is explained in detail throughout sessions and exemplary breathing. After the client has learned the technique they will then repeat it until the muscles continue to let go and release tension.

It is the role of the therapist to be supportive and focus on the progress made toward awareness. When the counselor provides feedback it perfects their techniques and allows the patient to use them effectively. There are times during a session in which the patient becomes impatient and angry toward a subject or area of the body. Anger is the result of repression and it is then that the counselor has the opportunity to speak about the emotions.

During treatment the person will become aware of their senses which also points to physical manifestations. The cues that acknowledge discomfort also tells the client that there is something wrong between the conscious and subconscious mind. When the patient becomes aware of these cues they can use the techniques that have been learned to overcome the relationship between their body and mind. If an individual is out of touch with their feelings they do not know often know what is affecting them emotionally and physically. Due to the fact that they are not focusing on what’s wrong it results in physical baggage and the subconscious mind is then in control of the body. Although the client is aware that they are uncomfortable, they may not be sure as to what the cause is. By learning Somatic techniques and becoming aware of one’s own sensations the client can recover from trauma and burdensome aftermath. The awareness can also lead to success in relationships and other situations that require a calm state of mind. If the patient is in control of their muscles they have learned the methodology and can overcome the trauma.

Criticism of Somatic Techniques

Experts argue that some therapy professionals do not focus on the initial diagnosis of the patient when exploring the cause of their discomfort. They may treat it too soon instead of figuring out whether or not the condition is chronic or situational. If the patient has a chronic condition and is unaware of it, it is necessary that they see a physician initially before receiving therapy treatment.


Healing trauma through the body. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mind-body psychotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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