Joe Soma, MA, MS, LPC

Joe Soma View Specialties

     Thank you for considering my bio.  Therapy is such a powerful practice, so choosing a therapist is a big deal.  Research suggests the two most important elements of therapeutic change are client readiness, and the person of the therapist… much more than the therapeutic technique used.  Since you are looking, client readiness is active, thus the therapist you choose becomes an important part as well.    
So in this bio, I seek to convey to you the essence of me in a way that informs this important decision.  First, I have not arrived at being a therapist in an easy fashion, I never, ever thought this is what I would be doing.  Now that I am, I simply love it.  I love the intense and rewarding work with clients.  I wouldn’t trade this with anything.
My path to getting to be a therapist has been a winding one… scientist, roadie, landscaper, stage crew, business owner, manager, software engineer, bartender, salesperson, painter, teacher, coach, project manager, and for the last 14 years, therapist.  My experiences, with all their ups, downs, struggles, successes, I believe, enables me to really resonate with both the sacred and the profane that may bring you into therapy.  Again, the dark places I’ve been in on this path are now in the gift phase where they become not a seed to self-aggression, but the gift for the benefit of others.  I am quite able to sit with the darkness, the light, the boredom, the rage, the trauma… whatever you bring in as it is both the block and the gift that allows the move forward.  One of my first questions is often, “what is the wisdom of …” whatever block brings you to therapy.  The wisdom of the struggle, the addiction, the activity, the habitual patterns.  We do not do things for no reason, thus insight into that reason helps us to tend to the underlying, core needs that are seeking to be met.
     Some of the elements that I work with are; 

The mind/body.   I approach this work in two ways, bottom up, and top down.  Bottom up means that in response to a stimulus, the body responds first, it then informs what we feel, which in turn informs what we think.  For example, I look at my phone and see that a friend has not responded to a text by the end of the day (the stimulus).  My stomach drops a little, my chest tenses (physiological/body response).  Next I feel annoyed, angry, and a little mix of shame (emotional response).  Then I imagine they don’t care, that I don’t matter enough, that they are showing little respect because I respond to them right away… (thought/narrative response).  While all of this feel simultaneous, it happens in that order, body – emotions – thought.  Our work together will seek to apply interventions at the level of the body to the initial stimulus.  That will ultimately make the cascade of response less habitual, and less intense.
Top down means that out thoughts effect our emotions, which in turn effect our body/actions.  I believe that this is so.  The top down, and bottom up approach used together make for a potent response to whatever it is that is bringing you into therapy.
I have both an undergrad, and graduate degree in biochemistry, I’ve taught neuroscience, nutrition, and chemistry classes.  I have a deep and abiding interested in and respect for physiology, science, and functional health.  If some therapy, or some intervention, or some aspect does not make sense
I have a hard-won relationship with by body, with mindfulness, with movement and action.  I know many of the blocks to insight, to effective action, to nourishment, and to relaxation and satisfaction that exist.  In my work with clients, I use the mind/body in all aspects of our work.
Transpersonal.  We are more than the sum of our parts.  We are not simply programmed by nature and evolution.  As complex beings, we have the ability for meaning making, symbolic reasoning, past and future based thinking, ability to relate to the nonphysical realms.  All of these are fair game in therapy.  We bring our multigenerational history in the door with us.  We bring our God, our belief system, our energy.  All part of the mosaic of who we are.  I don’t require any person to adhere to what I think things are… your beliefs and experiences are welcome just as they are.
Nature.  We are ecopsychological beings.  We cannot separate ourselves from nature… we are nature.  Our relationship to land, to the earth, to animals, and to human society all matters, and is all part of nature.  We are similarly affected by society, animals, the earth, and the land.  To ignore these aspects of self limits what we see.  As part of my work, I am open to non-traditional approaches to counseling that can consciously include nature as part of our work.  Whether indoors, or out.  If this is important to you, then by all means let’s use it.
Homework/practices.  I believe that change happens through repetitions.  Whatever we do a lot of, will persist.  So, having practices that are learned in session are important.  What you do the other 167 hours of the week matter as that is where the repetitions occur. 

Joe Soma Reaches

Boulder CO