When we talk about body-oriented work or somatic work we intend to focus on the connection between body and mind. We believe that the relationship with ourselves, with others, and the world around us is strongly conditioned by this connection. One of the basic elements of this approach is that the person experiences itself not only in the mind but above all through physical sensations and feelings. We can consider this a “bottom-up” approach because it starts from exploring the physical and emotional perceived and then subsequently access the processing of the mental arena.
Essential concepts of this work:
• Body, mind, and emotions are always in interaction. We can consider them three intelligences that influence each other.
• The body can be a guiding tool in inner growth.
• Physical sensations, emotions, images, thoughts, or reasonings can represent a map through which the person in this approach can get to know him/herself.
• The body through its posture and the tonicity, tensions, or stiffness represents an armor that defines either a physical structure or a character structure that is correlated.
• The person is animated by energies (mental, emotional, and physical). The well-being of the person lies in the natural flow of energy loading and unloading. When the natural flow comes disturbed, interrupted, or altered, one can experience physical, emotional, and relational stress or dysfunctions.
• The body records and maintains memories of lived experiences including traumatic ones. When these experiences are not integrated and processed, they are created, physical blocks, held emotions, physical dysfunctions, and relational dysfunctions.
How does the method used in Feel Free work?
In both individual and group meetings, the person who wants to work on a topic starts by exposing it. During the exposure work, we try to bring attention to what is happening in the present moment and in the body. In observing the body, the person is asked to: slow down, avoid getting lost in a long description of its history and draw attention to any physiological changes caused by tensions, contractions, or sensations of release or expansion during sharing.
The intent is to accompany the person in an exploration of himself, of the held emotions, of his physical state, of the awareness of the body-mind connection. This exploration is intended to support restoring a greater sense of inner expansion and well-being.
Depending on the physical and character structure of the person and on the theme expressed, the work may be accompanied by body movements, breathing exercises, listening exercises, physical sensations, interior dialogue, and the meanings attributed to one’s own experience. The proposed work is carried out based on the person and what they can contain and process.
The techniques, exercises, and work methodologies used within the session can be different: from Gestalt therapy to Core Energetics work, to the techniques used in somatic experiencing, to the use of conscious breathing, mindfulness, and meditation.
Who can this experience help?
In this holistic view of the person, physical or mental discomforts or disorders are considered on the same level of importance. Many of the issues of emotional distress have somatization in the body and acting on the body, they can be transformed into an experience of well-being for the person who does the work of inner growth.
Often chronic pain, insomnia, poor digestion, physical and mental fatigue, apathy, anxiety, the difficulty in creating satisfying and healthy relationships, are all signs of discomfort or trauma not yet completely elaborate and could benefit from somatic work.
What benefits can this work bring?
This work helps people to be more present in themselves and more aware of it. Thoughts, physical and emotional sensations, and our behaviors are all connected. It allows us to move more easily from a state of emotional disturbance to a state of greater inner stability. When we work on traumatic past episodes it allows us to manage the sense of emotional overwhelm and to re-establish the state of stillness and centeredness more easily. Increase our resilience and ability to tolerate the complexity of daily challenges. It increases the sense of inner security, creating greater confidence in oneself and in life.