• Ryan Cooney

What is somatic consulting all about?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

My experience and how I practice draws from many different sources, but my training comes from Somatic experiencing® or SE™ for short. SE™ was established by Peter Levine PhD. There are videos in the resources page for more about SE® and Peter Levine. How I work is a culmination of all I have learned from many different sources. I want to bring you to a better understanding of what I would consider the core features how I work.

1) The body is a living organic system capable of self healing. Although western science loves to break things down into parts, when talking about people, we need to understand that we are the whole of those parts. Every part of us working together and communicating through complex systems. One of my favorite analogies is comparing an individual to an orchestra; with the brain as the conductor. The parts work on their own, they are capable of adapting, and organizing on their own to create a functioning system, and when they communicate well the system is healthy and thriving.

My role is to support your body's natural ability to regulate and self heal.

2) Our system works through communicating from our brain giving orders to our bodies and our bodies informing and influencing our brain. Our senses take in the outside world and our internal world. Without any conscious action our minds combine our feelings and senses from our experience and creates our world. Through years and millions of experiences we form reactions, habits, and beliefs. Our bodies respond to our beliefs and our minds respond to our bodies.

My role is to help you system communicate efficiently. By assisting clients in assisted self study and mindfulness we can slow down experiences and study it.

3) Many of our beliefs and feeling patterns are developed early. We learn these management strategies to get what we need to survive. We need physical contact, secure attachment with a caretaker, and ways of communicating our needs to get them met. Some children are met with healthy relationships and develop healthy ways of communicating. Majority of others find ways to get their needs met by shutting down their needs or learning how to fend for themselves using different strategies.

This is where difficulty can come in. When the reactions and behaviors we have no longer serve us in the in the present. How do we change what has been embodied and reinforced over years of practice, especially when the beliefs that created the reactions is out of our conscious awareness?

My role is to notice the management strategies. By bringing these strategies into awareness we can begin to find ways of getting the needs met in more functional ways.

4) To create a lasting change it comes down to needing to change core beliefs. Talking about life can only go so deep. Theories can be doubted, but what really impacts our lives are experiences. When we work in a slow and mindful state, tracking the nervous system, we touch into the old patterns our nervous system employs to get through life. When the client is able to bring awareness and curiosity to these patterns they touch into core beliefs.

I help provide a safe and nurturing environment to explore these core experiences and assist the client in renegotiating the experience in the present.

From a body-centered perspective, to really change, you need to first step into the role of the witness. This is where mindfulness comes into the work. Now, there are many different beliefs and definitions about what mindfulness is. The mindfulness in body-centered work, is summed up best by Greg Johanson in an article he wrote, “In general, a mindful state of consciousness is characterized by awareness turned inward toward present felt experience. It is passive, though alert, and exploratory. It seeks to simply be aware of what is, as opposed to attempting to do or confirm anything (Mindfulness, Emotions, and the Organization of Experience, Johanson www.usabp.org 45 USABPJ Vol. 10, No. 1, 2011.).” Mindfulness allows you to become a witness to your experience.

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences…. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind. (as cited in Osho 1994, p. 2)

When you are able to stop participating in your conditioning and begin witnessing what is happening in the present, then the unconscious begins to reveal itself. Once the unconscious is in our awareness it is free to reorganize and change. If you can bring your attention to your present without judgement you can take away the reactions and be able to experience something in a whole new way. You take away the power of the response and you are left with possibilities. You free yourself to respond in the present in the way you want.

compassion is a profound sense of the interdependence of all things.

-Thomas Merton

My role in all of this is to provide a safe space for you to explore and be curious about yourself. You are not a problem to be solved, and so I simply allow you to be just who you are, with the intention of supporting you in being mindful and in the present. The goal is to learn and be curious about the experiences and behaviors you wish to change. We work together to notice how your mind and body has learned to respond to situations. By tracking the felt experience in the present we can understand a deeper meaning of behavior and provide support for an expansion of choice and self direction. Your body has an innate wisdom and the goal is to provide support to bring more life and resiliency to your system so that you can live the life you long for.

I hope this gives you an idea of what our time together will look like. Thank you for taking the time to be curious and please feel free to explore more and reach out to me with any questions.


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