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What Is Somatic Therapy?

Anda Vintila is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and Somatic Psychotherapist. She is devoted to supporting people in processing and healing their trauma through Soul-Led Inner Work which often consists of gentle nervous system rewiring, dream exploration, fostering relational and emotional safety, and re-aligning with one’s personal Truth.

Executive Contributor Anda Vintila

Somatic psychotherapy is a practice of increasing body-mind awareness in order to fully process and integrate our experiences. It is a practice of turning our attention inwards to check in with our inner state in the present moment. 

a woman laying on a bed holding her hand up

When we check in, we may notice that our shoulders are tense, we may be holding our jaw tightly, and our breath could be shallow. We may also catch ourself wanting to avoid noticing these sensations, or fearing that we will become emotionally and sensationally flooded if we slow down and allow ourself to feel. Instead of jumping into feeling everything you notice or completely avoiding your inner state, how about we first notice if there is a part of your body that feels neutral or pleasant? Or, can you bring to mind a time in your life where you felt connected to yourself, or immersed in an activity? How does your body respond to this memory? And, if we go back to whatever we were thinking about before from a perhaps a more conscious and regulated place, what do you notice now? Oftentimes, we can track a shift in our sensation, showing us that in any moment we can feel unstuck. 

What types of experiences are often brought into sessions to process?

The experiences can range from difficult ones such as: childhood neglect and abuse, shock trauma from vehicle accidents, medical trauma such as surgeries and procedures, injuries, relationship dynamics, grief related to all types of loss and transitions, pervasive disconnection from the Self and one’s purpose… to more pleasing and health-oriented experiences such as: creating or adjusting to new relationships founded on safety, security, and reciprocity, developing a deeper intuition and a greater sense of Self post crisis, and increased capacity to stay grounded in triggering situations. 

The nervous system can become re-shaped by each internal and external experience we have – change is always possible. 

Cultivating internal awareness supports integration of each step in our transformation.

The inner work does not solely center on changing our mindsets because our patterning is embedded in our minds and in our bodies – to re-pattern, we need to begin learning the language of our nervous systems. 

Somatic work is the journey of becoming aware of how our thoughts and experiences affect us through sensations and emotions, and how our sensations and emotions impact our thoughts and the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our environments. You can see this as a feedback loop!

Becoming more aware of our internal experiences and learning how to ride emotional and sensory ups and downs grows our capacity to contain and move through discomfort. 

As our capacity grows – we can viscerally feel a sense of empowerment and self-trust that also grows. This can be referred to as self-regulation and resilience – the capacity to return to a greater sense of internal safety and wholeness over and over again. 

On a personal note, the longer I walk this journey of cultivating awareness of my sensations, emotions, instincts, and longings – and letting them move through me while being witnessed and held by an attuned and authentic therapist, I have developed a deeper capacity to access the flow state for longer periods of time or finding my way back to it. 

What can you expect a somatic therapy session to look like?

Somatic therapy can look and feel quite different depending on the therapist you are seeing. However, there are certain commonalities you will most likely experience such as:

  • Processing trauma and overwhelming life events through the body and the mind i.e., holistically paying attention to sensations, emotions, images, and thoughts related to an event (different parts of an event hold a different nervous system response) or presenting issue 

  • Support in noticing sensations in the body and linking those sensations to emotions i.e. feeling our chest & throat constrict and perhaps identifying that as sadness or grief emerging

  • Tracking sensations and emotions in the present moment & feeling them release – noticing how they often shift and morph contrary to our fear convincing us that a state will “last forever”

  • Developing internal & external resources to support grounding and a greater sense of safety when things become too much or when we experience shutdown and numbness

  • An increase of deep support (from the self and from the therapist) in allowing both the mind and body to express multiple layers of the stories we hold & learning to pay attention to and hear our instincts 

Thank you for being here! I hope this article provided some insight and sparked more curiosity about your healing journey.

For more info, follow me on Instagram or visit my website if you are curious about working together!

Read more from Anda Vintila


Anda Vintila, Clinical Counsellor & Somatic Psychotherapist

Anda Vintila is a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She owns a private practice in Vancouver, BC where she regularly sees clients who seek a deeper way to heal from their trauma, patterns, and conditionings. Anda weaves different body-centered modalities that focus on supporting the nervous system and body to have greater capacity in moving through difficult emotions and sensations in order to feel safer in one’s self and within relationships. Anda believes the inner work is ultimately led by the Soul. She is passionate about shining awareness on aspects of the self that obstruct one’s access to flow and life-force energy and creating room for newer perspectives to emerge.



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