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s o m a t i c



In every moment, both the body and the mind are oscillating between states of expansion and contraction, accentuated by the occasional pause. In body-mind states such as trust, curiosity, joy, generosity, and forgiveness, we tend to expand. We return towards neutral when we slow down, pause, exhale. There is a tendency for contraction with insecurity, suspicion, fatigue, disappointment, avoidance.


Alternating states of expansion and contraction is how muscles, bones, and joints, along with the nervous system, move the body through space and time; how the body transports nutrients from one system to another; how the eyes adjust to light; how the heart circulates blood. We can loosen our mind’s white-knuckled grip for security and increase the feeling of being physically grounded by engaging the sensations of our body directly. This is one of the valuable offerings of somatic psychotherapy to the larger field of psychotherapy. Learning the language of the body is a gift to the conscious mind, and to our relationships

Learning the language of the body starts with a few principles. One is that certain conditions are necessary for optimal movement, such as an active dialogue between stability and mobility. To expand without stability can be ungrounding or chaotic. To contract without trust can be to recoil in fear, to harden in judgment or freeze in self-consciousness.


Adverse core beliefs about yourself and about life contribute to enduring patterns of internal tension. These deeply ingrained feedback loops can be extremely challenging to change on your own. It is with those situations, beliefs, thought patterns, and relationships that you don't know how to evolve on your own that we attend to in somatic psychotherapy.​

For the optimal oscillation of expansion and contraction, the felt experiences of support, alignment, flexibility, and balance need to be present. These conditions contribute to an experience of an internal, stable ground that you can rest into and be supported by, in order to let go with confidence into the unknowns of being alive.

Marenka Cerny, MFT

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