What is Somatic Therapy?
Somatic therapy addresses what a person thinks and feels and how it’s connected to the physical symptoms they experience. When a person has a mental health disorder or undergoes a stressful experience or series of events, it can surface as physical and medical problems. The person may become overwhelmed by emotions that come with disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders. They find themselves experiencing symptoms like headaches, gastrointestinal distress, high blood pressure, a change in sleep patterns, and more. While talk therapy helps address the initial disorders, adding somatic therapy can provide even greater relief.
Somatic therapy for eating disorders uses grounding techniques that utilize the five senses and breathing to help a person identify the emotions they are feeling. When they understand how their emotions can directly influence physical maladies, they can heal in both areas. Breathing techniques in particular can prove helpful because breath itself is a direct link between a person’s voluntary and involuntary nervous systems. Through breathwork, a person can signal to their body and brain that they are safe and decrease levels of anxiety and physical ailments.
Types of Somatic Therapies
Several types of therapies fall under the heading of Somatic Therapy. These include:
- Somatic Experiencing
- Sensorimotor Therapy
- Biofeedback and Neurofeedback
How Does Somatic Therapy Treat Eating Disorders?
Somatic therapy for eating disorders helps people understand how their bodies and minds are interconnected. Somatic therapists show the individual how they communicate emotional distress through physical symptoms. Someone with bulimia, for example, can learn the correlation between having a painful emotion or difficult experience and how they attempt to seize a sense of control by using an eating disorder behavior. When they release their tension via somatic therapy exercises, it lessens their drive to purge or use other eating disorder behaviors.
Different types of somatic therapy exercises include:
- Dance and movement
- Physical and grounding exercises
- Voice work
Somatic therapy also helps people learn to identify stressors and tolerate any accompanying discomfort. They learn they have the power to express their feelings and choose healthy new ways to cope. The better the individual becomes at practicing this, the less they will automatically reach for bulimic behaviors to avoid unpleasant emotions or try to feel a sense of control through their eating disorder.
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Benefits of Somatic Therapy for Eating Disorders
Participating in somatic therapy for eating disorders brings about several benefits. People with bulimia exist in a constant state of stress and anxiety. They worry about what they ate, what they will eat, how to attempt to control their weight, and more. They become hyper-focused on distracting thoughts and end up feeling extremely stressed out from this cycle. Somatic therapy helps greatly reduce a person’s anxiety levels, which creates a better ability to focus on recovery tactics.
People with eating disorders are at constant war with their body image. Participating in activities like dance, yoga, and movement exercises helps them establish healthy relationships with their physical selves. This provides a much-needed benefit of entering a more peaceful relationship with the person’s body.
Somatic therapy helps people relearn to recognize and respect natural hunger and fullness cues. They develop a better understanding of what their bodies need. This begins to replace the previous unhealthy behaviors used that ignored when a person needs to eat and when they have consumed enough food.
Somatic therapy for eating disorders also provides other benefits. These include:
- Reduced feelings of depression
- Helps regulate emotions
- Learn to communicate with others more effectively
- Enjoy healthier relationships with family and friends
- Improved self-esteem
- Better self-awareness
- Acceptance of their body types
Begin Somatic Therapy for Eating Disorders in Los Angeles, CA
When a family member knows that someone they love suffers from an eating disorder, they want to find modern, effective help. It can be hard to know where to turn to help someone overcome these complex mental health disorders. Trellis Recovery Centers proudly provides somatic therapy for eating disorders as part of an overall program for men and women. Our highly trained staff includes therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, nurses, and registered dieticians. Each clinic assists our patients in moving toward permanent recovery.
Are you ready to find the right treatment program for someone who needs residential care for an eating disorder? Contact us today and see how easy it is to get started.