Title

Somatic Psychotherapy: Illuminating an Embodied Experience of Self-Transformation through Autoethnography

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2015

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Felicia Washington Sy

Abstract

Somatic Psychotherapy is a contemporary embodied, experiential therapeutic modality that is difficult to understand by reading theory alone and without the benefit of direct personal experience. In this autoethnography, I aimed to illuminate the therapeutic change process in somatic psychotherapy from my perspective as a client. In reflecting on my experience as a client, I also strove to more deeply understand my own healing process to become a more effective and ethical somatic psychotherapist. The data consisted of my direct participation in four professional workshops related to somatic psychotherapy, as well as my personal experience as a continuous client of somatic psychotherapy. I then developed evocative narratives based on my somatic psychotherapy sessions that highlight the process of how somatic psychotherapy functions between client and therapist and illuminate how I experience personal transformation. I also interwove my reflections of the related workshop experiences with salient theoretical literature to further elucidate my understanding of how somatic psychotherapy engenders self-transformation. Ultimately, I found that the intersubjective relationship between client and therapist is inherently embodied and moreover becomes the transformative healing agent in somatic psychotherapy. I additionally found that self-transformation occurs through the delicate and simultaneous moments of grace and precision that both profoundly ground the client in the present moment, and connect them to a sense of all that is available within and beyond them.

Keywords

somatic transformation, autoethnography, somatic psychotherapy, attachment, intersubjective field

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.