Do you need a refresher on everything to do with somatic psychotherapy? How does somatic therapy bring another level and layer to working with clients and helping them to transform their lives? What are some easy somatic tools that anyone can use to deepen their awareness and recovery?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how somatic psychotherapy helps the brain with Maira Holzmann.
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Meet Maira Holzmann
Maira Holzmann, LCSW passionately works at the intersection of being a seasoned therapist running a thriving group practice and a business coach for soul-aligned therapists who want to thrive more in their private practice. With her extensive training in empowered somatics, healing trauma, and nurturing resilience Maira is dedicated to helping psychotherapists create a successful, soul-aligned private practice that allows them to charge premium fees for their services, do good, and live large.
FREEBIE: Check out the Somatic Therapy Partners Free Resources and Videos!
In this Podcast
- The quick masterclass on somatic psychotherapy
- Small somatic tools
- A seasoned practice owner’s advice
- Maira’s advice to private practitioners
The quick masterclass on somatic psychotherapy
Somatic psychotherapy basically uses the body as an ally in the healing process. A lot of psychotherapy is built on a top-down [approach] … In somatics, we are also listening to the body because the body expresses itself far differently from the mind. (Maira Holzmann)
Almost all of psychotherapy is structured with a top-down approach where emphasis is placed on the mind, thoughts, and the way that we speak to ourselves and trying to change that in an attempt to redirect and change our lives. The way that you relate to life can drastically be improved when you change the way that you perceive the world around you with your words, but the same can be done when you change your relationship with your emotions, and what and how your body feels.
When we’re listening to the body and incorporating it as part of the healing process, we are paying attention to sensations, and the way that our physiology changes based on what we’re talking about … Basically what we’re trying to do is [to] bring our nervous system into that balance where the sympathetic arousal system and the parasympathetic settling system are both being used in equal measure. (Maira Holzmann)
Usually, when trauma occurs, one part of the nervous system starts to dominate. For example, if you’re stuck in your sympathetic system, you may experience anxiety or PTSD. On the other hand, if you are stuck in your parasympathetic system, you could experience depression, apathy, or lethargy. In the therapy room, Maira brings attention to what happens in the body to deepen and strengthen the therapeutic response in the client, helping them to move out of a reactive physical response to one that they learn to choose, and can regulate more effectively.
Small somatic tools
It would be much easier for someone to do deeper work alongside a psychotherapist, but there are some somatic tools that you can use in your daily life to practice self-regulation and become more aware of how your body responds to a potentially triggering event. An easy way to track how your body responds to an event is to notice whether there is a sense of constriction coming up.
Typically what I’m seeing in my clients is that their shoulders are up by their ears, they’re barely breathing, and if they are breathing then it’s not very rhythmic or smooth, and they’re clenching some part of their body, or unnaturally still. (Maira Holzmann)
As another portal into your body, look for pleasant sensations. Ask your clients, “What are you liking about this [somatic] session?” Encourage your clients – and even yourself – to look for at least one pleasant experience that happens each day.
When clients learn that they can experience their bodies in a pleasant way, it opens the door for them to want to become more embodied because for most clients who’ve experienced trauma, coming into their body is the last place they want to come into … So that little piece of homework that endures throughout our work together – looking for pleasant-enough sensations – is what I start with with most clients. (Maira Holzmann)
A seasoned practice owner’s advice
Hiring requires forethought, planning, and discernment, and it’s much easier when you incorporate your values into the process as well.
Now we have a whole system set up on training, hiring, and questions … The whole flow and that feels very good, that’s what came out of learning things the hard way. (Maira Holzmann)
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Learn from the people around you, and join a community of like-minded therapists who are in the same place as you, trying to go down the same path. Join one of the Practice of the Practice membership groups to connect with your peers, learn from experts, and lay the foundation for your future success.
Maira’s advice to private practitioners
Lead with soul, which means to lead with joy. Look for glimmers, the moments of joy in life where you feel in sync with yourself and the world around you.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:
- Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.
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Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Check out Practice of the Practice Memberships!
- Visit Somatic Therapy Partners and connect on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Check out these additional resources:
- Apply to work with us — a decision-making matrix for your next steps
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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