Somatic Psychotherapy



 Authentic Movement
 Somatic Psychotherapy
 Professional Background
 What I Offer
 Contact, Location, Links
 Healing into Wholeness




“Wounds never heal completely, perhaps mysteriously protecting who we are becoming because of our
experience of our past.”

Janet Adler






" a pathway
opening up before you
as you step." 

Mary Whitehouse








We are born knowing how to be - our baby selves, our instinctual selves know spontaneously how to feel ‘at home’. As we grow older, we may for many reasons lose something of this inner certainty. We sometimes come to feel estranged from ourselves, not ‘comfortable in our skin’, with no ‘ground under our feet’, experiencing many different troubling feelings. Old stories, old patterns of being and relating, painful or traumatic life circumstances can hold our bodies, literally, in their grip, restricting our capacity to live fully, to live in the present moment. While verbal exploration of difficulties can bring understanding, it is at times essential to listen closely to the stories in our bodies, maybe to move them, in order to bring them to consciousness and to feel the shifting, the changing from old patterns to new ways of being.

Our bodies speak our history, personal and collective — our experiences, feelings, memories. Our bodies also carry burdens that our psyches cannot consciously carry. If these burdens become too much to bear we may close off sensation. The process of re-inhabiting the body — living within and relating from our body — is the work of somatic psychotherapy.

So often the parts of ourselves where we feel the most shame or fear or hurt can actually help us when we get to know them better — help us to stay with ourselves and to feel more compassionate towards ourselves, more complete.

In private sessions we work in a variety of ways, depending on what feels right for each person. We may sit and speak the whole time, while paying attention to what is happening in your body, or we may shift between words, body awareness and movement. Perhaps we follow a posture, a gesture, an image, a dream, a fear or a longing into movement and let it take form that way. Sometimes we play.

The medium of movement gives us access to our creativity, a natural human process, and leads us into new places, new dimensions of ourselves, “like a pathway opening up before you as you step” (Mary Whitehouse).

For some it can be very helpful to follow physical impulses into movement in a less intentional way, with eyes closed, letting them move us without self-censoring. In this way we may meet invisible parts of ourselves. The Discipline of Authentic Movement is a practice that I often teach people as it allows less conscious aspects of our being – and deeper levels of knowing - to emerge.

People are often unfamiliar with somatic psychotherapy and don’t know if this is right for them or not. In a first session we get to know each other a little and I introduce something about this way of working. Then we decide whether it feels right to embark on work together. How long we continue our work varies, depending on the needs of each person.

There is no need for any previous movement experience. It is very common to feel shy initially - the therapist gives careful attention to enabling a feeling of safety. Sessions are 60 minutes long and people wear ordinary clothing that would be comfortable to move in.

Underlying our work in the studio is respect for each person’s experience, trust that we are each doing the best we can, and a readiness - and a curiosity - to stay in not-knowing, in order to learn together what needs to happen next, what needs to unfold next in life.

All content copyright © Fran Lavendel, Photos Adam MacLean and Isabel Nicholson.     
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