Home > Free Essays > Psychology > Applications of Psychology > Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy

Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: May 20th, 2019

Awareness is one of the greatest characteristic of all successful actions by man. The ability to act with full conscience helps an individual to overcome distractions by expectations, habits, or even uncertainties (Schuyler, 2010). This indicates that every human being must be trained to act according to strong psychological conviction as well as deep guiding principles of life.

Leaders are particularly expected to demonstrate outstanding value systems that can be sustained over a long period of time. Different approaches of training people’s mental capacities have been developed and have proved very efficient especially in psychotherapeutic interventions. This essay will discuss somatic interventions from a broader perspective.

It will then elaborate in detail the somatic experiencing (SE) interventions following the impact of disasters among social workers and also the understanding of somatization and meaning for abuse victims. The essay will then focus on somatic interventions for the treatment of trauma.

For a long period of time, many organizations have used similar approaches to train their organizational leaders. Organizational consultants have employed various methods of training executives to help them become better leaders and enhance their performance in general.

Some consultants, however, have been making a lot of attempts to explore other interventions that may help in the enhancement of organizational performance. Schuyler, a renowned consultant, has made various attempts to conduct research that does not only focus on the training of the mind, but also on the mind-body relationship, particularly as one matures (2010).

Earlier researchers pointed out a very key element of knowledge development and leadership: that the most significant learning can be traced to bodily experiences. However, most organizational consultants have ignored the significance of embodied knowing and this is what Schuyler sought to explore.

He supports the assertion that well formed leaders can live with extreme levels of stress as well as personal understanding of system dynamics (Schuyler, 2010). The exploration of the physical foundations of integrity is also part of Schuyler’s research. Integrity is defined as the capacity of an individual to hold together and resist the temptation and pressure of external forces.

Research findings have revealed that bodily experience-based learning originates from the increasingly known domain of brain plasticity. Different parts of the world, as neuroscientists argue, have varying ways of training the mind and hence significantly different levels of the ability to control the functions of the brain (Schuyler, 2010).

In his article, Schuyler presents a comprehensive approach to developing leadership which includes the use of somatic awareness and deliberate training of the mind with an intention of enhancing integrity. This somatic approach incorporates different embodied learning practices and eastern ways of mind training.

Many researchers appreciate the fact that somatic approach is still a developing field which seeks to put more emphasize on the role of first hand experiences of an individual in relation to scientific and medical importance.

There are two major somatic practices that are recognized internationally for transforming people of all ages. There is the Feldenkrais Method and the Anat Baniel Method. A significant number of researches have been conducted in different parts of the world, especially on medical, physical therapy, or psychotherapy perspectives.

Somatic interventions have been found to be very effective since they result in decreased pain and enhances function, improves functioning after strokes, there is enhanced functioning after spinal injury, as well as increasing balance among the elderly, and decreases levels of perceived stress.

Moreover, there is reduced anxiety among people with multiple sclerosis, increased self-confidence, and improvement in the quality of life in general (Schuyler, 2010).

The primary objective of the research conducted by Feldenkrais was the development of flexible minds and not bodies. However, he ended up exploring the development of the physical bodies. It is these somatic approaches that Schuyler applies to organizational consultancy, particularly in the development of leaders with integrity.

The Feldenkrais’ approach to learning involved complex processes that were aimed at enhancing the learning and performance among students. He designed a method for controlling how students learnt and moved. This method ensured the distribution of movement through the entire body especially the spine and the ribs. This ensures that no single part of the body bears the extra burden.

These key considerations helped him in realizing that the human nervous system and the role of the brain in movement is crucial and work closely with other aspects of a person, for instance feelings, perceptions, and ambitions in life.

The two methods used non-habitual movements to help learners to detect how to move with less effort and powerfully to facilitate both physical and broader change. These approaches enable learners to control their use of force and hence avoid unnecessary force.

The practitioners of these methods help learners through the use of more complex patterns of movement similar to the learning among young children which relies mostly on the brain plasticity. Schuyler (2010) used these two major experiential approaches in creating awareness and training the mind. The somatic approaches have been known to help learners focus keenly on their movement, breathing, and their states of mind.

For a long time, leadership has been known to primarily involve cognitive and conceptual aspects where language is used to conceive actions. Such training has been found to be very effective in training people. It can be concluded that the use of both mind training and somatic learning can foster integrity and self-awareness which in turn leads to appropriate action (Schuyler, 2010).

Somatic interventions, apart from shaping the desired behavior, can be used in addressing different distressing situations in life. People undergo different experiences especially in times of disaster and will most likely need treatment measures in order to enable them live normal lives (Leitich, Vanslyke, & Allen, 2009). In the United States, for instance, social workers survived the hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

These workers, even as they offer post-disaster services, they would need to overcome the post-disaster symptoms which they encountered during the disaster.

Leitich et al. (2009) investigated the role of somatic interventions using the Trauma Resiliency Model in the treatment of post-disaster symptoms among social service workers. This approach employs the Somatic Experiencing (SE) skills. Before the participants in the research were taken through the treatment process, they were first given psycho-education.

The research findings by the researchers revealed that there was significant improvement among the social workers since posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms decreased.

The findings, therefore, support the importance of the brief intervention methods inspired by the Somatic Experiencing. It demonstrates the need to appreciate the fact that no one is immune from such high magnitude disasters, even the social service providers and hence must be given treatment just like the ordinary people (Leitich et al., 2009).

There are two major types of effects of disaster and trauma: those occurring in the immediate aftermath, known as threat effects, and those that extend over several weeks, months, or even years, and are known as the disruption effects. Research has established that if these traumatic stress reactions are left untreated, they can result in long-term undesirable mental effects.

Over some time, the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been used in the treatment of trauma. However, apart from psychological trauma, survivors of disasters experience somatic or physical symptoms like, increased heart rate, loss of bladder and bowel control, and trembling and shaking (Leitich et al., 2009).

Furthermore, many people have been found to be survivors of different forms of abuse. Researchers have established that such clients always experience various physical or somatic complaints. In most instances, there are no physical causes except for serious psychological problems (Arnd-Caddigan, 2003) which in most instances are difficult to treat.

These difficulties in treatment have led to the need for somatization in the survivors of abuse which helps in the understanding of the physical symptoms with unknown physical causes. This approach combines two perspectives which were initially controversial: the deficit and conflict models of psychopathology.

This is the approach that has been used extensively in the treatment of somatic symptoms among adult survivors of abuse. The clinician is expected to first assess the client for deficits in the levels of meaning, the use of interventions which are appropriate to specific levels.

The meanings should be broad enough to prevent any conflicts from arising. Hence all interpretations of experiences must be within the client’s “zone of proximal meaning”. Meaning has been known to exist in three levels- the social context, individual conceptualization, and cultural consensus. Any treatment approach must lie within the meaning espoused by the client in relation to the three levels (Arnd-Caddigan, 2003).

Researchers have found that somatic problems are at the center of a person’s traumatic experiences as well as the post-traumatic symptoms which the individual manifests. It is therefore important to note that the understanding of a person’s physical state which is known as body awareness is crucial in the treatment of trauma (Rothschild, 2000).

Disturbance and or ineffective physical motions have been identified to contribute to traumatic symptoms and hence sensorimotor psychotherapeutic intervention models are necessary. Trauma affects the body as well as the nervous system. The outcomes of trauma psychotherapeutic interventions, according to Rothschild (2000), have been progressive, particularly in the treatment of traumatic stress.

The essay has elaborated on the broad concept of somatic interventions in the various fields of organizational leadership and other bodily-based learning. It has discussed two types of somatic practices.

Moreover, the essay has focused on the use of Somatic Experiencing interventions following the impact of disasters among social workers and also the understanding of somatization and meaning for abuse victims. Somatic interventions for the treatment of trauma have also been discussed.


Arnd-Caddigan, M. (2003). Maintaining an illusion: abuse, somatization, and the elaboration of meaning. Clinical Social Work Journal, 31 (2), 107-121

Leitich, M. L., Vanslyke, J. & Allen, M. (2009). Somatic experiencing treatment with social service workers following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. National Association of Social Workers, 54 (1), 9-18

Rothschild, B. (2000). The body remembers: The psychophysiology of trauma and trauma treatment. New York: W.W. Norton

Schuyler, K. G. (2010). Increasing leadership integrity through mind training and embodied learning. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62 (1), 21-38

This essay on Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2019, May 20). Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy. https://ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/


IvyPanda. (2019, May 20). Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/

Work Cited

"Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy." IvyPanda, 20 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/.


IvyPanda. "Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy." May 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/somatic-intervention-in-trauma-psychotherapy-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Somatic Intervention in Trauma Psychotherapy'. 20 May.

Powered by CiteTotal, online reference maker
More related papers