What is Somatic Therapy?

After studying therapies for many years, I have found that body centred psychotherapy is the best way to help people with emotions like stress, anxiety and depression.

Body psychotherapy (also known in the USA as Somatic Psychotherapy) is a type of counselling that considers both the mind and the body as one. It helps the individual to reduce their emotional distress by addressing physiological tensions and experiences.

All of your experiences start in your body. If stress or discomfort is ignored, it can become overwhelming or affect parts of your life disproportionately.

In our body psychotherapy sessions in Bristol, we focus on your experiences and ways to express yourself. We might talk things through or use other methods like movement, body exercises, touch or art to help you move towards recovery and healing.

This type of somatic therapy can help you communicate without just using words. The body offers a whole new aspect of yourself, and connects you to your true nature.

Body Psychotherapy in Bristol

D. H. Lawrence

The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive…

D. H. Lawrence

How does Somatic Psychotherapy help with anxiety or depression?


  • Research has found that the mind is present in the whole body. Information is stored in every cell, and each cell can talk to other cells. We study this valuable information.
  • Paying close attention to your body's experience can invoke a shift.  You can move on, simply by paying attention.
  • The recent discoveries about the brain in Neuroscience also provide new ways to feel less anxious or happier.
  • In Somatic Therapy, we work on changing your hidden beliefs by focussing on the body. We examine strong beliefs like "I am not important" or "No one cares about me," with gentleness, understanding and compassion.

Listen to my podcast here how body psychotherapy works

What does a body psychotherapist do?

Somatic Therapy often involves being guided in the following:

  • Becoming aware of and sensing your body's experience.
  • Naming and labelling your sensations and feelings.
  • Bringing compassion and honour to your experience
  • Digesting and integrating
  • Paying close attention to your vitality and resources. In body psychotherapy, we look to tap into your body's ability to heal itself.
Body Psychotherapy in Bristol

Does body psychotherapy help with trauma?

Body Psychotherapy in Bristol

One of the ways trauma is addressed in somatic psychotherapy (carefully and over time) is through discovering a genuine experience of safety.

During trauma, the body has an instinctive nervous system threat response. This response can get stuck in the body, leaving you on stress alert or depressed.

Somatic psychotherapy aims to rediscover the possibility of having a different response. Freeing you to embrace life and relationships from a position of safety.

Shelley talks about the trauma of jury duty on ITV West here.


I needed to process several years of traumatic experiences and I needed to regain some strength in myself… Your approach really helped me, I find you really warm and supportive and also really smart and insightful.



Thanks for helping me to make better friends with my body.



This Therapy has cut through the crap for me. Something happens in every session. What I’ve got from it is a sense of myself.



I feel enlightened by the discovery that my inner sense can be my guide.

Body Psychotherapy

A brief word about touch in somatic therapy

People often naturally assume that body oriented therapy involves touching the client.

This is not necessarily true. As with other psychotherapeutic approaches, the use of touch is very sensitively handled, and will only be used in the most ethical of circumstances, with trust and assured permission.

Although touch, as well as noise and movement, may also be important in the healing process. Many people have been severely deprived of loving touch. But it will only be used very carefully here. Despite being a trained massage therapist, your psychotherapy sessions with me are extremely unlikely to involve massage or physical manipulation.

Shelley Treacher BACP Accred is trained in working with trauma with body centred psychotherapy and works to a strict ethical framework.