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  • Writer's pictureMatt Stewart

Bridging the Gap: Healing the Soma and Psyche

The missing link in healing is often found in the divide between mind and body. Many coaches and healers fall into one of two camps: "team mind" or "team body." This binary approach misses the opportunity for deeper integration and healing by not addressing the entire organism that is the human being.

My issue with traditional psychotherapy is that it often involves too much talking and not enough feeling. I spent over 20 years under the care of psychologists and psychiatrists, some of whom were the directors of entire psychiatry wings in hospitals. All this did was allow me to talk myself in circles and receive a steady supply of doctor-prescribed pills. They only delved into the realm of the "psyche," or the storyteller, and never addressed what I was feeling, where I was feeling numb in my body, where I was hiding, or how much pain I was in. Only when I left their care did I begin to heal.

I then worked with shamans, bodyworkers, energy healers, coaches, and mentors. Through these experiences, I was able to heal on a different level, allowing myself to process the emotions I was hiding from and the trauma I didn't dare explore in talk therapy. I healed a lot, especially with my anxiety and depression. These modalities were great at healing the soma, or the body, but they did nothing for the mind.

Humans tend to think in binaries: the world is either black or white. The belief is that you either need to heal your mind (psyche) or your body (soma), and everything will fall into place. What everyone was missing is that there is no literal separation between the body and mind, or soma and psyche. A human is one whole organism with no separation.

So, how does one integrate the parts of themselves they discover while feeling into the body? How does one integrate the mental constructs they uncover through a left-brained approach to healing or coaching? The answer lies in combining both soma and psyche work at the same time. By addressing both the mind and body simultaneously, we can achieve deeper healing and true integration, unlocking our fullest potential and living a life aligned with our true selves.

Understanding the Soma and Its Importance

Fun fact: language is amazing but also extremely limiting. Massive concepts are often condensed down into a single word, losing much of their meaning. Take the Buddhist word/concept of "Dukkha," for example. The literal translation is "suffering," but it actually refers to the inherent dissatisfaction, pain, and impermanence of life arising from attachment, craving, and ignorance. Reduced to a single word, much of the nuance is lost.

Similarly, "soma" is derived from ancient Greek and is often translated as "the body." However, the ancient Greeks saw no separation between the body, mind, and spirit, unlike modern perspectives. The "soma" represents your living wholeness and your felt sense of being.

Anatomically speaking, the soma encompasses two of the older parts of your brain: the reptilian brain and the mammalian brain. The reptilian brain is responsible for instincts and the memories inherited from your ancestral and personal survival. The mammalian brain governs emotions and the memories inherited or developed for societal survival. Together, these parts of the brain contribute to your physical, emotional, and instinctual experiences, highlighting the interconnectedness of your body and mind.

Why Healing the Soma is Essential

Healing the soma is crucial because it addresses the physical manifestations of stress and trauma that can impede your overall well-being. When you experience trauma, it often gets stored in your body, leading to physical tension, pain, and various health issues. By focusing on the soma, you can release these physical blockages, which in turn helps to alleviate emotional and psychological distress.

Understanding the Psyche and Its Importance

The "psyche" encompasses our mindset and the stories we tell ourselves, shaping our perception of both the internal and external world. It involves the neo-cortex, a newer part of the brain developed through evolution. The psyche is a complex interplay of various components, each playing a crucial role in how we think, feel, and behave.

Components of the Psyche

Conscious Mind: The conscious mind includes thoughts, perceptions, and awareness. It’s where active thinking and decision-making occur. Functions of the conscious mind involve rational thinking, problem-solving, planning, and maintaining conscious awareness of the present moment. It processes immediate information and makes deliberate decisions.

Unconscious Mind: The unconscious mind contains thoughts, memories, and desires not currently in conscious awareness. It stores repressed memories, latent desires, and automatic skills, influencing behavior and emotions indirectly. This deeper part of the psyche plays a significant role in shaping our actions and reactions without us even realizing it.

Subconscious Mind: The subconscious mind acts as a layer between the conscious and unconscious mind, holding information that can be readily accessed with some effort. It houses memories, knowledge, and experiences that can influence current thoughts and behaviors. The subconscious mind bridges the gap between what we are aware of and what lies hidden beneath the surface.

Ego: The ego mediates between the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind. It represents our sense of self and identity. The ego balances desires, morals, and reality, being responsible for self-control, defense mechanisms, and reality testing. It constantly negotiates between the basic desires of the id, the moral standards of the superego, and the demands of reality.

How the Psyche Operates

Mindset: The mindset is the established set of attitudes and beliefs that shape how an individual perceives and reacts to the world. Influenced by experiences, upbringing, education, and culture, the mindset filters perceptions and influences responses. For example, a growth mindset sees challenges as opportunities for growth, while a fixed mindset may see them as threats.

The Storyteller: This aspect of the psyche constructs narratives to make sense of experiences and events. It creates coherent stories to explain and integrate past experiences, current realities, and future expectations. These narratives shape identity and influence decisions and behaviors. Positive narratives can foster resilience and well-being, while negative ones can perpetuate stress and anxiety.

Interaction Between Components

The interplay between the conscious and unconscious mind is crucial. The conscious mind processes immediate information and makes deliberate decisions, while the unconscious mind influences these decisions through underlying motivations and past experiences. The psyche uses memories from the subconscious and unconscious mind to construct personal narratives, helping maintain a sense of identity and continuity. Additionally, the ego employs various defense mechanisms (e.g., repression, denial, projection) to protect the psyche from distressing thoughts and feelings.

Why Healing the Psyche is So Important

Healing the psyche is essential because it directly influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, which in turn affect every aspect of our lives. The psyche shapes how we perceive the world, how we interact with others, and how we respond to life's challenges. When the psyche is burdened with unresolved trauma, negative beliefs, and unhealthy narratives, it can lead to a range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and chronic stress.

By healing the psyche, you can transform these negative patterns and create a healthier, more balanced mindset. This process involves uncovering and addressing repressed memories and emotions, reshaping limiting beliefs, and developing positive narratives that support resilience and well-being. Healing the psyche allows you to break free from the past, make more conscious choices, and live a life that is more aligned with your true self and your highest potential.

The Purpose of the Soma + Psyche Program

The purpose of the Soma + Psyche program is to help you heal from the stress and trauma that prevent you from expressing your truest self and fulfilling your purpose. You may have lived a life of quiet desperation, always conforming to what others think is best for you. Perhaps you have been a people-pleaser, self-saboteur, or self-abandoner. This program is designed to release the "chains" that hold you back, keeping you from speaking up for yourself, achieving your goals, and overcoming feelings of worthlessness and overwhelm.

How the Soma + Psyche Program Works

Through the Soma + Psyche program, you will release emotional and physical tension throughout your body, reconnect with your intuition, and learn to trust yourself. This empowerment allows you to make decisions aligned with your highest self, focusing on long-term success rather than immediate gratification.

By discharging tension throughout your body, you will enter a state of safety, moving away from sympathetic arousal or the fight-or-flight response. When this shift occurs, your mind can make clearer decisions, and you will find it easier to focus on one thing at a time. The sense of overwhelm will disappear, and your perception will shift to seeing the world through a less threatening lens.

The Holistic Transformation - Soma Psyche

This approach ensures a holistic transformation, addressing both your physical and emotional well-being, helping you achieve a balanced and fulfilling life. The Soma + Psyche program takes a dysregulated nervous system that only sees threats and obstacles and shifts it to a regulated state where it sees safety and opportunity. From this space, relationships with yourself and the world around you become infinitely easier. Creating a purposeful life moves to the forefront of your world, giving you the power to reflect and respond, instead of react.

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