Relational Somatic Therapy is rooted in:
The field of Somatic Psychotherapy
Somatic Psychotherapy is a body-centered therapy that differs from cognitive and analytical models. In somatic psychotherapy, the body is seen as ‘the holder of all information – historically as well as current’. The somatic approach is therefore based on mindfully listening and witnessing the body. Clients are guided to slow down and observe body responses, in particular: sensations and movement impulses. Somatic awareness is used in sessions to study how information is experienced, felt and sensed through the body. This awareness practice gives access to a different kind of knowing, and is based on the principle that energy follows awareness. At times, movements, sounds and images are utilized to express and sequence. In this way, limiting imprints and life depleting feedback loops are witnessed and receive new information that opens up more choices in life. This process offers more empowered, present time awareness since we cannot change the past, but we can change how our body is holding it. Even though the guidance of the therapist is simple and speaks to the sensing body – somatic psychotherapy is deeply informed by complex ‘leading edge’ research in the fields of neuroscience, attachment theory, and trauma work. In recent years somatic psychotherapy/counselling has been endorsed as one of the most effective kinds of therapy and trauma resolution approaches by leading researchers like Allan Schore and Bessel van der Kolk.
“It is through embodied, lived, relational experiences that we build new neural networks that result in detectable changes in the brain”– Dr. Allan Schore
An informed understanding of the psycho-biology of trauma and trauma renegotiation
Somatically based trauma work recognizes that talk therapy alone does not resolve trauma. It is based on the understanding that imprints of trauma do not reside in the verbal and understanding part of our brain but in our biology. Therefore, it focuses on allowing the body to speak by cultivating observation and description (versus explanation or interpretation) of body experiences. With a strong emphasis on kind observation, the capacity to observe ‘what is’ is cultivated, and curiosity is invoked.
Since a sense of safety is compromised in clients seeking trauma recovery, this approach focuses on working with building and strengthening access to resources. Traumatic energy is broken into smaller and tolerable pieces to keep this process safe and manageable and therefore available for support, and open to new information.
It is not necessary to remember or re-experience the event to access and free trauma energy that is trapped in the body experience. As our bodies open up to move between traumatic activation and more expanded and resourced-based body connections, trauma naturally begins to recede. In this process, incomplete survival responses of fight and flight emerge and are supported to find completion within the body experience.
Trauma that is stuck can create a spectrum of symptoms. This approach works with the physiology underneath the symptoms. It is in the process of re-engaging with life and becoming more available to the present moment that symptoms ease and trauma transforms, reuniting us with the experience of wellbeing and connectedness – our human birthright!
Trauma is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
We humans have the natural capacity to ‘thaw’ those frozen moments and move on with our lives. We do not have to cling to our past, reliving devastating events again and again…. As we unbound from the past, a future abundant with new possibilities unfolds. Our ability to be present expands, revealing the timeless essence of the ‘now’. Trauma can be hell on earth, transformed it is a divine gift.”– Peter Levine
Founder of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy
A strong focus on relational attunement and attachment repair
The relational focus of the approach is anchored in the understanding that the origins of trauma are in a relationship and therefore the outcome of working with trauma has to be relational. Building a therapeutic alliance and being an active participant in the therapeutic process is central to the Relational Somatic Therapy approach. It is only in a safe holding environment when the client feels felt by the other, that undigested experiences can enter awareness, and be shared as bodily and emotional experiences to be held and witnessed. In this process, a new relational input is available and painful relational imprints can be felt, processed, integrated and also be updated.
“Attunement is how we focus our attention on others and take their essence into our own inner world …noticing not just their word, but also their nonverbal patterns of energy and information flow”– Daniel Siegel
As a Registered Clinical Social Worker, I have been in full-time therapeutic practice for over a decade. Mariah Moser’s Relational Somatics training has informed and guided my clinical framework in a way that has profoundly expanded my effectiveness in working with individuals, couples, families and groups. I now know in my mind and my body what it means to be therapeutically attuned and committed to relational holding when I engage with my clients.
With heart and dedication, Mariah draws on her extensive professional training and experience to emphasize the foundational importance of building genuine connection and respectful relationships with our clients.
Through the training, therapists are empowered to work in a way that allows clients to reclaim a positive sense of themselves. Meaningful and safe relationships with others are a way of being in life that is affirming and an appreciation for their capacity to make it through the most difficult challenges one can face.
The training helps therapists facilitate a therapeutic process whereby clients can connect and reconnect to the tenderness, the courage, the strength and the resilience of our human hearts and spirits.
I am certain that how Mariah facilitates advanced level skill-building around supporting client’s renegotiation of different forms of trauma – ranging from single incident PTSD to the most complex trauma – is unprecedented.
The work is incredibly effective, and Mariah’s training has taught me how to do it!
Many genuine thanks to you Mariah Moser.
I give you my strongest recommendation,
Riel , MA, MSW, RSW