Somatic Experiencing as a Holistic Treatment

Holistic treatment is a phrase encompassing many approaches. At the root is an appreciation of the complex interconnectedness of mind, body, emotion and spirit--both within an individual organism and between organisms--human, animal, plant and earth in general.

Somatic Experiencing as a holistic treatment has its roots in the early work of Pierre Janet, WIlhelm Reich and Carl Jung, each contemporaries of Freud whose works diverged into unique contributions to body awareness and energetics at a time when the Victorian socio-political environment was not as open and favorable as it is now.

Until the late 60’s and early 70’s, character analysis via the psychoanalytic method was the preferred mode of treatment, giving greater consideration to one’s thoughts and emotions as being independent of the physical body in which they arose.

Somatic experiencing is an “embodied psychotherapy”, one in which there is an implicit and inherent wholeness to one’s being in the world, opening up pathways to integrating what is called SIBAM--sensation, image, behavior, affect and meaning. As a holistic treatment, somatic experiencing is well suited to alleviating a wide range of presenting problems, including post traumatic stress disorder, symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. Due to a greater understanding of neurological structure and functioning, along with the importance of attachment theory, somatic experiencing as a holistic treatment is the natural outgrowth of those early studies of Reich, Janet and Jung.

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