SOMA-Embodiment, english version

Conceived and developed by Sonia Gomes, PhD, SOMA-Embodiment offers diagnostic skills, touch and movement tools, and haptic awakening to transform emotional, developmental and shock trauma.

The SOMA-Embodimenttraining program re-envisioned from its predecessor SOMA. It includes technical aspects of the Structural and Movement Integration of Dr. Ida Rolf, as well as Tonic Function and Movement Analysis from Hubert Godard. Soma-Embodiment is infused with psycho-physiologic understanding of trauma from Dr. Peter A. Levine, supported by the Polyvagal Theory of Dr. Stephen Porges and the contributions from Ecological Psychology as set forth by Dr. James Gibson. The work of Henri Wallon, Donald Winnicott and André Bullinger also shape the program.

Students of SE®, SE Practitioners or professionals who work with Trauma are welcome in this program.

The fundamental concept of SOMA-Embodiment

In any type of trauma there is a rupture of sensorimotor coordination; this can happen at any stage of human development. Therefore, before renegotiating emotional trauma, the body needs to find physical stability.

SOMA-Embodiment practitioners help clients re-navigate trauma territory through attention to the Social Nervous System (Porges) and Movement Re-education (Godard, Rolf) to restore physical stability, perception and proprioception. Practitioners titrate the release of bound trauma energetics and patterns to optimize client physiologic function, orientation and resilience (Levine) which reflects in a greater capacity for personal agency, appropriate relationship, ease and joy.

SOMA’s contribution

In order to work with traumatized clients, therapists need to offer their own embodiment as a model. This embodied presence enables clients to re-navigate trauma territory in safety.

SOMA offers participants supportive and guidance protocols that promote structural reorganization, facilitating the body’s orientation in relation to gravity and space. This results in restored perception and proprioception, with increased stability and grounding – pre-conditions for the negotiation of emotional trauma. Participants work on self-regulation and learn to use resonance and intuition with greater confidence in the clinical setting.

The support and safety bonds developed through SOMA helps the therapist to initiate the release of the shock caused by trauma; in this way, clients can become aware of and open to feelings and sensations that were previously silenced by the freeze response. Fixating developmental elements that are not fully mature can lead the client’s body to present a postural defensive pattern, revealed by early developmental movements or emotional attitudes that provide clues for the therapist to perceive where and how the body, mind and the nervous system are trapped in the freeze response.

Participants learn how to apply specific procedures to different types of trauma, learning to uncouple the distorted perceptions of the emotional layers that have been internalized and repressed in the past. By exploring the haptic system, it is possible to assist those affected by trauma to exit their internal conditioned environment and explore elements of the external environment through the senses. By touching and being touched by the therapist in mutual resonance, a natural internal movement of the body’s innate intelligence is evoked.

Dr. Sônia Gomes
Dr. Sônia Gomes

Dr. Gomes brings her wealth of clinical and teaching experience to SOMA-Embodiment as Advanced SE™ Faculty, Clinical Psychologist and Advanced Structural & Movement Rolfing Practitioner. The program complements the Somatic Experiencing work of Dr. Peter A. Levine while her knowledge from graduate studies in several modalities of Body Psychology, and her training with Hubert Godard add generously to the program content. Her dynamic and heart-full teaching style complements the interactive experiential nature of the SOMAEmbodiment learning environment.

Dr. Gomes is grateful for the substantial support from her colleague and former business partner, Marcelo Muniz, in the creation of the first SOMA training program, and to Dr. Urs Honauer, Educator and Advanced SE Trainer for the encouragement and initial platform to develop SOMA and now SOMA-Embodiment.