First, let’s dive into a deeper understanding of ‘somatic’ in general. Mental health practices have moved significantly beyond talk therapy (psychotherapy). Many different forms of complementary and alternative healing practices are rising in:

  1. Awareness
  2. Efficacy
  3. Popularity

When the central nervous system is calm and safe, the mind becomes clearer. Life becomes more effectively lived. Thriving becomes possible. Everything that shows up in the physical body is feedback. The body is always talking to us, it is our job to learn to listen, honor and respond. The Somatic Practitioner Certification Course trains and equips you to help people more effectively deal with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and a number of other emotional and physical health issues.

What is Somatic?

“Somato” refers to all the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissues, and organs. Soma means body in Latin, so most simply put, somatic means ‘of the body’. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of Somatic is – of or relating to the wall of the body.

Somatization is the word used to describe when emotional distress is expressed in the physical body through physical symptoms. Experiencing some levels of somatization are normal, natural and part of everyday life such as a racing heart, muscles becoming sore or tight when you experience stress or tension and even the feeling of uneasiness in your stomach when you feel anxious or nervous.

Somatic memory, also referred to as body memory in its simplest terms is a memory being stored not only within the brain memory but also the body memory. Many body workers, energy healers and mental health therapists explain this phenomenon as memories being stored in fascia (the thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place) or musculature (the muscles of all or a part of the animal body). However these somatic memories can be experienced as feeling like they are within the organs, organ systems and even skeletal structure as well.

Somatic or body memory is the concept that the body itself can store memories, as opposed to only the brain. This concept has begun to gain notable attention in the field of research and study of cellular memory. Cellular memory is a much more expansive understanding of somatic memory stating that every cell in our bodies hears, listens, and remembers.

Somatic memory is also sometimes referred to as State Memory. However ‘state’ refers to the state of something triggering somatic or body memory.

“Somatics is the study and practice of exploring and understanding the fabric of your soma through your internal awareness.” – from The Somatic Therapy Workbook by Livia Shapiro

Somatics describes any practice or modality that uses the mind-body connection to help a person connect to their internal self or internal landscape in order to listen to signals the body sends about areas of pain, injury, discomfort, or imbalance.

A few examples within the Somatics fields are yoga, somatic massage, Integrative Somatic Practitioners, Somatic Therapy, Somatic Massage Therapists. Somatic practices help people to access more information about the ways they store and experience memories, stress, stuck emotions, and past situations (like trauma) in their body. 

‘Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The term is used in movement therapy to signify approaches based on the soma, or “the body as perceived from within”, including Skinner Releasing TechniqueAlexander technique, the Feldenkrais Method, and Rolfing Structural Integration.[3] In dance, the term refers to techniques based on the dancer’s internal sensation, in contrast with “performative techniques”, such as ballet or modern dance, which emphasize the external observation of movement by an audience. Somatic techniques may be used in bodywork, psychotherapydance, or spiritual practices.’ –

While ‘somatics’ is the field, the actionable services offered within an Integrative Somatic Practitioners practice would qualify as ‘somatic work’.

  • Somatic Work

“Somatic practices include movement and meditative techniques that invite you into a deep awareness of what it feels like to be inside your own skin as you inhabit it, whether in motion or in stillness. Somatic practices develop your embodiment and awareness–your proprioception, how your body moves in space, and your interoception, the experience of your body’s internal sensations and movements.” – from The Somatic Therapy Workbook by Livia Shapiro

Somatic work is when what we as practitioners put into action. It is all of the tools, techniques and approaches we either apply with clients via hands on techniques, through education and re-education, teaching of exercises and techniques for independent client applications and/or incorporated into classes.

Integrative Psychotherapy defines somatic work as “: helping the body re-negotiate events on a body-based level so you can experience relief. This is because past events get trapped in the body and play themselves out with intrusive images, thoughts, tension, panic, unhealthy relationships and a feeling of sadness or despair. –

  • Somatic Practices

Somatic practices encompass a series of movement forms or techniques that can be drawn together through their shared focus on body awareness through reflection on movement habits, expanding movement capacity, minimizing, or relieving pain and developing self-directed or guided personal movement styles. This would be a series of tools, techniques that one might use in their somatic work – an example would be an entire series of yoga poses, a series of somatic techniques for bodywork or a series of somatic tools and techniques used within a session or series of sessions in a structure.

The term ‘somatic practices’ can also be used similarly to the terms ‘self-care practice’, ‘spiritual practice’ or ‘mindfulness practice’. A client can develop their own somatic practice based on what they learn working with you. This practice can be the work you do solely together within sessions but would ideally also be practiced within their daily routines and integrated into their lifestyle.

Somatic therapy practitioners as well as Integrative Somatic Practitioners use mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help clear and release stuck negative emotions, traumas, and stress within the mind-body that negatively affects a client’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Practitioners of somatic therapy address what they see as a split between the body.

‘Somatic psychotherapy is a unique therapeutic approach that embraces the interconnection between the body, emotions, cognition, and sense of self. It is applied in the treatment of psychological and physical responses to trauma and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as in responding to a vast range of life issues including depression, anxiety, and attachment disorders. Somatic approaches draw from scientific evidence that feeling, sensation, expression, movement, and emotions are embodied through the course of development, in patterns impacting how we function including how we relate to ourselves and others. AUSB’s highly experiential learning environment offers specialized training in addressing trauma-related symptoms, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)’. – Antioch University

Somatic work is not mental health therapy and is not somatic therapy, it is also not a replacement for mental health or medical care. It is a complimentary and alternative mind-body modality that supports healing.

Somatic psychotherapy is a very different modality than the somatic work conducted by Integrative Somatic Practitioners. Unfortunately within the expanding industry of somatic work the lanes of practice are often not communicated clearly and can leave both practitioners and their clients unclear about the services, benefits, and ethical scope of practice. We will outline this in great detail later within the course. Somatic psychotherapy is somatic work combined with talk therapy and requires mental health training and licensure in psychology, social work, or other forms of licensed therapy. If you are taking this course and you are a licensed therapist, you will be able to offer Somatic psychotherapy after successful completion of the ISPC and being certified through Integrative Wellness Academy. If you are a certified life coach, you can also integrate in Somatic work into your coaching practice. If you are a body worker, fitness trainer, nurse, or other health/wellness practitioner you too can also integrate somatic work into your practice. If you are not certified in any other modalities, you will be able to practice as an Integrative Somatic Practitioner offering the services, techniques, and exercises that you have learned within this course once you have successfully completed the ISPC and gained certification through IWA as an Integrative Somatic Practitioner.

As a certified Integrative Somatic Practitioner you can legally practice world-wide, both in-person as well as virtually. The ISP certification can be practiced as a stand-alone business or can be easily integrated into any mental health, life coaching or body work practice. that will transform your business! Certified Somatic Practitioners help their clients gain freedom, peace of mind as well as grounded balanced approach to their lives and daily stressors.

Somatic practitioner practice is different than somatic therapy and is an unregulated industry as is life coaching. Upon successful completion of the Integrative Somatic Practitioner Certification Course (ISP) you will be certified through Integrative Wellness Academy as an Integrative Somatic Practitioner and legally able to practice worldwide.

Somatic practitioners specialize specifically in releasing trauma, stress and negative emotions from the body. It also incorporates some elements of coaching within it.

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates will be able to:

  • Effectively work with clients in-person or virtually around the world
  • Effectively apply this material to somatic practitioner services in private practice
  • Be certified through IWA as a Somatic Practitioner
  • Use the following initials after your name: CSP (Certified Somatic Practitioner)

For more information on IWA’s Integrative Somatic Practitioner Certification Course, here is a full course description: