What is somatic therapy?

The word “somatic” derives its root from the Greek word soma meaning “living body” and refers not only to our physical body from an external perspective but also to our internal experience of it as pertains to our perception of who we are from the inside. There are many ways in which we may come to feel disconnected from our sense of who we are. The aim of somatic therapy is to restore an authentic and integrated relationship with our core self via embodied approaches like therapeutic touch, movement, mindfulness of bodily sensations, breathing techniques, vocal expression, etc.

Who can benefit from somatic therapy?

Anyone who would like a stronger sense of connection to their authentic self can benefit from somatic therapy. Specifically, those who place a high value on creativity and soulful living—writers, musicians, dancers, teachers, visual artists, athletes, seekers, philosophers—will seek out ways to connect to their wellspring. Somatic therapy quite often facilitates this.

In addition, somatic therapy is ranked as one of the most effective ways of resolving the effects of traumatic stress and as such, can be the main catalyst in healing lives disrupted by any kind of trauma. Overt forms of trauma include (but are not limited to):

  • being involved in a serious accident or other form of physical assault
  • chronic exposure to abuse or neglect,
  • witnessing violence at home or in a community
  • sexual abuse of any kind
  • suffering debilitating loss as in forced immigration or death of a loved one
  • experiencing a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane

Trauma can also occur in more subtle forms that, over time, can eat away at a person’s ability to be confident and at home in their body. Somatic therapy is effective at resolving forms of traumatic stress anywhere on this spectrum.

What determines the hourly rate for somatic therapy?

Like most industries, the field of somatic psychology is influenced by a variety of factors in terms of what a practitioner can charge for a session. Of primary influence is the extent of education and clinical hours required to obtain the necessary credentials to practice in this field. In Jenny’s case this includes 900 credit hours for a license in massage therapy, two years in a graduate program for a master’s degree in somatic psychology and the completion of a three year post-graduate training program in trauma resolution therapy.

Nationwide, the hourly rate ranges from $80-$150+ per hour and is heavily influenced by the economy of the local market. In the Salt Lake Valley, somatic therapy is priced between $100-$125/hour depending on the practitioner’s specific credentials and/or experience.

Will my insurance pay for somatic therapy?

The answer to this question can be complex and will vary depending on the kind of coverage offered in a particular plan. Salt City Bodyworks does not currently bill health insurance companies on behalf of its clients for many reasons. However, it is possible that a client may receive reimbursement from her or his particular insurance company for services offered here. Feel free to inquire for specific information on how this may apply to you.

I usually undress when I get a massage. Will I be asked to do the same for somatic therapy sessions?

No, a client remains clothed for all forms of somatic therapy.

What is meant by “therapeutic” touch?

In the context of somatic therapy offered at Salt City Bodyworks, the word “therapeutic” indicates that touch is

  • optional
  • incorporated in a session with the intention to facilitate healing
  • used only with the client’s informed consent
  • governed by the requirements of ethical conduct as set forth by the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy (USABP)
  • conforms to the requirements of Utah law

In the field of bodywork there is a specific modality called “Therapeutic Touch” not to be confused with the more generic term of “therapeutic touch” used here.

I am averse to being touched. Can somatic therapy still work for me?

Yes. An essential element in somatic therapy is for the client to feel safe enough to connect with their inner processes. For some people, touch is soothing and can facilitate this. For others, it is quite the opposite. The therapist and client collaborate together in order to create the optimal environment for the client’s individual needs, whatever those may be.

How many sessions will I need?

The answer will vary widely and depends primarily on the client’s particular objectives. Somatic therapy can be used as an adjunct to other forms of therapy and as such, can be utilized as often as is beneficial to the client. In cases of where a client has been affected by “acute trauma”—a one time traumatic event such as a car accident—the number of sessions tend to be fewer, especially where there is no or low prior history of traumatic stress.