Somatic Counseling Sessions

Counseling is an avenue for developing self-awareness and supporting your inborn drive for growth. Through the exploration of experiences, identities, narratives, thoughts and emotions, you can develop a greater understanding of where you have come from, who you are because of it and how you would like to show up in the world. 

What is Somatic Counseling?

The word “somatic” is derived from the Greek word “soma” which can be translated as “living body” or “the living body in its wholeness”. ⁣At its core, somatic counseling is an integrated and holistic approach that is grounded in the relationship between the mind and the body.⁣

 

The body can be a powerful ally in counseling. Along with talk therapy, our sessions may also include embodiment practices, Yoga Therapy, Somatic Experiencing and other somatic approaches. By incorporating the experience of the body in session, we can provide space for the innate wisdom of your body to communicate with more clarity. Over time and with practice, it is possible to re-connect with the body as a place of safety, worthiness and belonging. 

 

As each individual is unique in their experience and needs, each session and the way in which tools are utilized will vary. For some, sessions may be primarily talk therapy. For others, sessions may include movement or breathwork. As this is your journey, you can choose to explore various approaches over time and together we will periodically reflect on how to continue forward that best supports you.  

Please note that these sessions are also available as adjunct therapy to support your work with an established counselor or other healthcare provider. 

What is embodiment practice?

Embodiment practice utilizes somatic approaches that center the body as a medium to get to know ourselves, embody our values, heal, grow and transform.⁣ Combining movement, mindfulness, imagery, and breath, this approach:

  • supports the development of awareness of the body, the senses, sensation, felt-sense and emotion⁣

  • is a process of re-learning to listen to and trust the body and the wisdom it provides⁣

  • is a radical reclamation of what is rightfully yours (your body and all its wisdom) and the release of what is not (including trauma and internalized oppressive forces)⁣

  • supports the re-inhabiting your physical form as a place of belonging (both within yourself and within the collective whole)⁣

What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga Therapy is an integrated healing modality and approach to wellness that is anchored in the ancient tools of yoga, yoga philosophy, meditation, mindfulness, and Ayurveda. Please see below for more information. 

What is Somatic Experiencing?

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. SE was developed by Dr. Peter Levine and is designed to support the nervous system in processing and discharging unresolved trauma responses. Trauma may arise from an acute event (such accidents, invasive medical procedures, assault, birth trauma, etc.) or result from cumulative stress (such as repeated abuse, neglect, ongoing fear, etc.). SE aims to support the recalibration of one's nervous system and ability to function with resilience and ease. For more information, please visit: https://traumahealing.org

Somatic Counseling can be beneficial for addressing a variety of issues, including:

  • anxiety and stress

  • depression

  • grief and loss

  • body image and disordered eating patterns

  • chronic pain and illness

  • PTSD and trauma

  • identity and existential explorations 

  • periods of transition and personal growth

These sessions may be supportive for those looking to:

  • Explore family dynamics and interpersonal relationships

  • Develop self-awareness and tools for growth

  • Explore emotional and behavioral patterns and develop ways of being that align with personal values and goals

  • Improve communication and interpersonal skills

  • Increase self-acceptance and recognition of worth

  • Develop tools to support stress, anxiety, loss and more

  • Explore identities (such as race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc) and the ways in which they impact life experience

  • Increase capacity for flexibility, openness, and ownership of choice

 
 

Individual Yoga Therapy Sessions

Yoga Therapy is an integrated healing modality and approach to wellness that is anchored in the ancient tools of yoga, yoga philosophy, meditation, mindfulness, and Ayurveda. Yoga Therapy also draws upon contemporary knowledge of kinesiology, physical therapy, neurobiology, and Western psychology. In addressing overall health, Yoga Therapy reinforces that the wellness of the whole person is achieved by integrating the health of the physical body, mind, heart, and spirit. 

Yoga Therapy can support many different systems in the body, including the heart and cardiovascular system, the lungs, muscles, and the nervous system. Additionally, it can also improve function of the digestive system, foster psychological well-being, and improve resiliency to stress. For more information, please visit: https://www.iayt.org

Please note that these sessions are not a substitute for seeking professional mental health counseling. If the need arises to seek a mental health professional, I am happy to provide referrals.

 

Sessions may incorporate one or more of the following tools:

  • Discussion and personal reflection

  • Mindfulness and meditation instruction

  • Breath awareness and breathwork

  • Guided imagery

  • Yoga postures (dynamic, gentle and restorative poses)

  • Myofascial release exercises

  • Hands-on support and guidance

  • Somatic Experiencing

  • Written reflection

  • Assigned home practice

Yoga therapy can be beneficial for addressing a variety of issues, including:

  • anxiety and stress

  • depression

  • PTSD and trauma

  • chronic pain/illness (such as low back pain, autoimmune diseases, cancer, etc)

  • chronic tension

  • pelvic pain/dysfunction

  • insomnia and chronic fatigue

  • rehabilitation from surgery or injury

  • self-exploration of the mind, body and spirit

These sessions may be supportive for those looking to:

  • Begin or refresh a home movement/yoga/meditation practice

  • Supplement therapy or other healing modalities

  • Develop skills of being in the present moment

  • Develop tools for nervous system regulation and managing stress

  • Increase capacity for listening and responding to the needs of the body 

  • Re-learn how to disengage, relax, and recharge

 

Couples Yoga Therapy Sessions

These sessions are an opportunity for two people to share practice and provide opportunities to explore and deepen communication, trust, playfulness and intimacy.

Please note that these sessions are not a substitute for couples mental health counseling. These sessions may be utilized as adjunct therapy for couples currently in counseling. If the need arises to seek a mental health professional, I am happy to provide referrals.

 

These sessions are open to:

  • romantic partners of all sexual identities

  • family members

  • friends

 

Practice may include a combination of:

  • individual movement

  • partner poses

  • mindfulness and meditation practice

  • breath awareness and breathwork

  • personal and joint reflection

A word about the incorporation of yoga

 

Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice of self-realization that has deep ties to Hinduism and South Asian culture. In the west, the practices of yoga have been sterilized, diluted, glamorized and appropriated for commercial gains. The process by which western yoga has gained such recognition (dating back to the 1960s) is at its roots due to larger forces of racism, colonialism, and oppression. The ways in which western yoga has focused primarily on the physical practices has disembodied the practice of yoga and too often ignores the multifaceted spiritual nature of the eightfold path. 

 

As a white person, I am offering practices that evolved in a country I have only visited and learned afar from primarily white teachers. Over the years, I have gained personally and financially from these practices. I am committed to my personal practice and the potential of these practices to support others while also seeking guidance from teachers of color. I am committed to my continued evaluation and education of how I can honor and respect the origins of yoga while minimizing harm. This is an ongoing process, as is the practice of yoga, and I am open to receiving constructive questions and reflection from others. 

 

Lastly, while sound can be healing, it can also cause harm. I have made the personal choice to not use Sanskrit in my sessions as these words carry meaning far deeper than my understanding is able to reach and honor. 

 

For further reading:

 

Yoga and the Roots of Cultural Appropriation By Shreena Gandhi and Lillie Wolff

 

8 Signs Your Yoga Practice Is Culturally Appropriated – And Why It Matters by Maisha Z. Johnson and nisha ahuja

 

Unpacking Cultural Appropriation (podcast episode) with Susanna Barkataki

Why white people need to stop saying 'namaste' By Kamna Muddagouni

We Are Not Exotic, We Are Exhausted: South Asian Diasporic Youth Speak by South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America

A note about telehealth

With current circumstances, all of my sessions, groups and workshops are taking place over video. I am accepting new counseling clients currently living in the state of Washington. I am able to accept new yoga therapy clients regardless of where you live. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me via the contact page

(206) 395-8002

connect (at) jessjarris (dot) com

Seattle WA