A holistic approach to your mental wellbeing
Somatic psychotherapy, movement therapy and anxiety counselling
While your mind is important, it’s just one part of the solution.
Choice, collaboration, empowerment. Somatic Psychotherapy sessions follow a 3-stage trauma-informed approach using a combination of talking, movement and music in a safe and supportive environment. First we teach you how to self-soothe and self-regulate. When you feel ready we can unlock your inner knowing, to feel and perhaps mourn past hurts. We may not even talk about hurtful events – we can simply work with your bodily sensations. Finally, we look at how life might look for you going forward.
What kind of issues do I help with?
My holistic counselling approach can be applied to many issues we face in life. This list is not exhaustive, but these are the kinds of issues that I help clients like you with:
- Anxiety and panic attacks;
- Depression, low motivation and feelings of worthlessness;
- Relationship issues;
- Wanting to be in a relationship;
- Wanting to leave or end a relationship;
- Intimacy issues;
- Loneliness and isolation;
- Abuse (sexual, emotional or physical);
- Emotional crisis;
- Life transitions;
- Grief and loss (humans and pets);
- Psychosomatic illnesses;
- Stress management;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Workplace issues e.g. bullying.
I have several different types of psychotherapy tools in my toolkit and use them interchangeably depending on your preferences and what’s happening in your session. You don’t need to choose which one we’ll use, but below you’ll find some information about each. If you prefer you can book a complimentary call with me where I can suggest which techniques I would recommend specifically for you.
When you’re overwhelmed by big emotions, when you’re anxious or depressed, you feel it physically as well as mentally. Your racing heart, your short breath, that crushing feeling in your chest. These are all physical sensations in the body, which tells us that there is an intrinsic link between the mind and body. It makes sense then to work with both of getting in you better.
The word ‘somatic’ means ‘of the body’. Somatic psychotherapy integrates talk therapy with movement, breathing, and mindfulness to help restore your mental and emotional wellbeing. It is a whole-body approach to feeling better. This blend of counselling and body-orientated therapy promotes deep healing for anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, relationship issues, and more.
What are the benefits of Somatic Psychotherapy?
- Grounding and centering exercises teach you to self-soothe and self-regulate. They also help you become aware of sensations in your body. Giving you a sense of congruency, of wholeness of self.
- Breathing exercises bring life back into your body which helps you regain your energy and motivation for life.
- Somatic psychotherapy helps you let go of physical and emotional tension you have unconsciously been holding in your body and your mind, helping you feel less anxious.
- Somatic psychotherapy gives you an improved ability to express your feelings and to tolerate big emotions when they arise.
- Through movement and breathwork, we regain contact with memories stored in your implicit memory, and work with unmetabolized feelings held in your body.
Dance-Movement Therapy, also known as Somatic Movement Therapy, improves your mental well-being by bringing awareness to your body, bringing you into contact with your inner world, your unconscious. (Understand the neuroscience here). Through movement, we tap into the wisdom of your body. In a 1:1 session we may not even dance – just move your body and breathe more generously. Perhaps just changing your posture is enough. It gives your body a chance to express what’s going on in your internal world, without having to find the words.
Humans are creatures of habit. We get stuck in patterns of movement and thinking. In somatic movement therapy, we change the patterns of movement in your body and change the possibilities for your life.
- Improving your connection with your body and body awareness.
- Increasing your range of motion in your body and in parallel an increase in range in your personal life.
- Establishing a place of safety in your body, feeling you can trust your body and yourself.
- Deepen your respiration.
- Release physical and emotional tension.
- Promote deep relaxation
- Enlarge your self-expression and promote self-confidence
Compassion Focused Therapy
Do you ever feel like you show kindness to everyone else but yourself? The way we speak to ourselves is usually nothing like we would dare to speak to others. Yet we continuously beat ourselves up and tell ourselves we’re not good enough. Compassion Focused Therapy is a form of counselling that seeks to change that, rewiring the way we mentally and emotionally relate to struggles like anxiety, anger, shame and self-criticism. CFT helps you respond more practically to situations that previously made you turn your anger inwards at yourself. CFT covers aspects like appreciation, mindfulness and compassion-focused imageries.
- More self-compassion and self-acceptance. Even of the parts of yourself you find difficult to accept.
- Reduced stress, anxiety and depression.
- Silencing our inner critic so we are able to feel more confident and empowered
- More emotional resilience, strength and inner resourcefulness.
- A better quality of life and more positive relationships with others.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) encourages us to accept who you are and commit to leading the life you dream of. ACT bridges the gap between counselling and somatic psychotherapy by getting you to focus on your beliefs and action, but also noticing sensations in your body. It helps you look at the fears that have been holding you back, and the things you do to avoid uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. The techniques help you to sit with those uncomfortable feelings with more ease. You learn not to obsess over things that are out of your control and focus on the things you can control instead. You start to understand that negative thoughts are not ‘bad’, they are a natural part of how your brain works. You’ll stop fighting with your thoughts and instead make peace with them.
- The ability to tolerate unpleasant emotions with more ease.
- A reduction in stress and feelings of overwhelm.
- An increase our mental pain tolerance – such as with chronic pain.
- Getting clarity about how you want your life to be (and seeing where you have been holding yourself back in the past).
- Making peace with your past and being able to move on with your life instead of constantly ruminating and feeling depressed.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most widely used therapy for anxiety. This is a counselling therapy that works with the mind only, working on how our thoughts and actions affect the way we feel. It’s really practical. It works on identifying unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and how to challenge them so we can develop better coping skills and feel more emotionally stable. Part of CBT involves using calm breathing (slowing down the breath) and progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and relaxing different muscle groups) – so even though it is a mind-focussed therapy, it still involves your body.
- Challenging your thinking and helping you see where you’ve been (unconsciously) using faulty logic (we all do this!) This gives you the ability to reshape negative thinking and see the bright side of life.
- Learn coping skills that you can use throughout your life after your therapy period ends.
- Feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings.
- The ability to calm yourself down when you spiral into anxiety.
Don’t want to work 1:1?
I offer the following other options.
Group somatic psychotherapy
Group therapy is an opportunity for you to take your personal process deeper by sharing and processing within a safe, therapeutic group environment. It’s also a chance to connect with like-minded people in your community and feel a sense of belonging.
Sarah’s therapeutic groups involve somatic movement therapy (based on dance-movement therapy and somatic psychotherapy theory), followed by self-reflection and sharing in the group.
- Your personal growth within a group setting is often more powerful than individual work as you will feel the support of your peers.
- It gives you an opportunity to see how others affect you, and how you affect others. You may find a group member’s process moving, triggering your own emotions and allowing you to express whatever needs to come up.
- Through interaction with group members you get to discover and accept previously unknown or unacceptable parts of yourself.
- Group members learn that they are not alone in dealing with certain emotions/situations.
- In addition, the members learn self-understanding from the feedback of their peers. The group becomes a mini-version of the outside world where the person gets to try out new behaviours and get feedback. New neural pathways are created!
I am currently running an online group programme for women called Evviva! This program is designed to help you deal with the f*ckery of mid-life and find your joy, confidence and aliveness again! To find out more click the gold button again
I offer free videos, complimentary audio recordings as well as online training courses helping you connect to your body and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. They are a cost-effective way to get support and are perfect for you if you are self-motivated and enjoy learning!
You can learn about all my free and paid resources by clicking here!
Book a free 15 minute discovery call
A commitment-free way to learn how Brisbane counselling or somatic psychotherapy can help you