Integral Somatic Psychotherapy (ISP), developed by Raja Selvam, is a somatic intervention for emotional embodiment, which can bring a powerful and effective therapeutic outcome for trauma resolution and physiological symptoms that have their roots in psycho-emotional challenges. Also, the work can greatly assist personal growth as well as relationship improvement as it fosters the emotional capacity, mental clarity, and empowered decisions toward whatever we experience in life.
The emotional embodiment has been recognized as one of the essential doorways to optimize the well-being of body, mind, heart, and spirit. This is because many of the chronic physiological symptoms as well as psychological traumas are deeply connected with the unintegrated emotional experiences.
Today, neuroscience informs us how our cognition (ability to understand), emotion (capacity to feel), and behavior (choice for response) are experienced and processed inseparably not only in the brain, but also in the body. Therefore, when there is a difficult emotion which is hard to be with, we shut down both the brain and body. We build physiological defenses to decrease the experience of the feeling, but this also compromises the function of the brain and body and brings body into a more stressed and dysregulated state at the same time. Therefore, the impact of cultivating the capacity to fully experience the emotions in our body, especially the ones that are difficult to be with, is immense, because we can then restore cognition, emotion, and behavior, and grow our ability to stay in our authentic self and power to be with any life circumstance and relationship dynamics that life presents us.
The reason why there is an intolerable intensity or dull numbness to be with certain emotions is because they are experienced in very limited parts of our body. Like it is much easier to carry 50lbs of luggage with two hands than one hand, as we expand the area of our body and brain for experiencing these emotions, it becomes much more tolerable and accessible. Consequently, this usually enables us to increase the ability to understand our emotions as well as their context, even their relation to our past experiences. Also, it allows us to choose alternative behavior to respond to the situation rather than react from our impulses.
ISP is a holistic approach to facilitate clients to expand their emotional experience into greater parts of their body. In a session, clients are supported to make greater space in their physical body to allow the emotions to be experienced deeply and fully. The use of awareness, intention, imagination, self-touch, verbal and non-verbal expression, and/or movement are often incorporated to maximize the potential of the therapeutic outcome and to stay in the present moment. The practitioner guides the process by attuning into client’s physical body, subtle body, as well as the resonant field to make the embodiment easier, while supporting the nervous system regulation.
After the session, clients often express more vitality and energy and/or calm and spaciousness in the body, as well as new emerging clarity towards one’s experience, and sense of empowerment.
“When we expand the body by working with defenses against emotions to expand the painful emotions in the body, it can help the body to get regulated and remain open and connected to the brain as well as to the other people and the environment. In that way, our symptoms can resolve.”
~ Raja Selvam