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What is Somatic or ‘Body Wisdom’ Coaching?

By Robbie Steinhouse first published on NLP School website June 2nd 2021


The body never lies” – Martha Graham


Somatic Coaching is a way of utilising both the words and movements of a client within a coaching session. It also teaches the coach how to become aware of how their own body communicates – both to the client, and to themselves, giving powerful insights and intuition. Somatic Coaching provides an alternative way to bring about change by ‘teaching’ a client to understand the significance and structure of their own movements. Once a client grasps how their movements also express their needs, wants and fears, a range of techniques to bring about lasting change can be implemented.


“You can see beliefs in the body”

Learning to interpret and sense a client’s limiting beliefs is often expressed in a client’s posture; for example, the sunken posture of the classic ‘Atlas’ client who literally holds the weight of the world on their shoulders. Another example is that of the intellectually orientated client who attempting to overcome their negative feelings with logical thinking, gets locked in a downward spiral of analysis paralysis; this can sometimes be witnessed as the ‘turtle effect’, where the client literally tries to suck in their head in some ancient genetic ritual to rid themselves of this painfully repeating cycle.


Somatic coaching opens a profound and liberating way to help a client make sense of their world and how to access their body’s wisdom: learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings is often the unexpected and liberating effect of accessing this new wisdom.


“Knowledge is only a rumour until it is in the muscle”

Somatic change work has gained popularity in recent years and Judy is one of the original creators in the field. Since the early 1970s, Judy’s work grew independently alongside other practitioners such as Peter Levine founder of Somatic Experiencing. Judy’s work will enrich therapist and coaches already familiar with some of these approaches.

A metaphor for a change worker or those who want to experience deep personal change is that of ‘an iceberg’. The vast majority of the iceberg’s mass lies under the water, with only a small percentage revealed on the surface – so it is for the change worker – it is essential that your own understanding of a subject is deep so when you work with a client, they instinctively know that what you are showing (the tip of the iceberg) is back up by something much deeper and more substantial (the rest of the iceberg).


Likewise, this knowledge is significantly enriched when further backed up by your own personal experience of the change processes. As Judy often quotes, “Knowledge is only a rumour until it is in the muscle.” If you’re looking to integrate somatic learnings into your coaching, NLP School has the privilege of having a new set of e-learning programmes by Judy – Somatic Coaching and Advanced Somatic Coaching – so if you’re looking to integrate somatic learnings into your coaching, these programmes are ideal for you. Plus, with code JUDY21 you get 65% off your Somatic Coaching course booking.

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