I would also describe my approach to psychotherapy as ‘embodied’ or ‘somatic.’ Embodiment is fundamental to the human condition. There is nothing unusual about this. Your brain is connected through the nervous system to your entire body. The gut, for example, has the second largest number of neural networks after the brain. The heart, too, contains neural networks. The truth is that we cannot experience a thought or an emotion without making some kind of impact on the body. And the relationship is reciprocal. Our experiences in the body affect our thoughts and emotions.
Furthermore the part of the brain known as the ‘emotional brain’ is also very much connected to the body. This should come as no surprise. After all, where else do we experience our emotions if not in the body? This part of the brain, usually in the right hemisphere, stores embodied or implicit memory. Have you ever had the experience where you smell a particular scent and it brings back a vivid memory? It’s as if the body remembers the scent and due to the integration of the two hemispheres in the brain, the explicit memory of the event comes rushing back. Sometimes this can happen without knowing what the trigger was. We see something out of the corner of our eye, it reminds us of a past event and our emotional experience changes.
An embodied approach to psychotherapy means trusting that the body can be used to access and process implicit memory, making what is implicit explicit. In other words, making what is unconscious conscious. Or simply becoming more aware and responding with awareness.