What is somatic coaching—and how can it change your life?

einstein my story somatics Sep 08, 2022
Hands in Water Somatics

Picture this: you’re T-minus 30 seconds away from presenting your work to a client/going on your first IRL date with your crush/having that big heart-to-heart with your friend. 

As you’re psyching yourself up mentally, you suddenly notice your heart racing. Your palms are sweaty. Knees weak. Arms heavy. You’re nervous but on the surface you look calm and steady. (Sorry not sorry for quoting Eminem.) Why, you think to yourself, why can’t my body just chill out already?

You may have seen the word ‘somatic’ on the workshop flyers at your yoga studio or heard it in well-intentioned corners of the internet. And you might be wondering in that big, beautiful brain of yours, “What does it mean and how can it help me?” 

The word ‘soma’ comes from the Greek sōmatikos and means ‘of the body’; Richard Strozzi-Heckler wrote that “to work somatically with someone is to work with the unity of their being.” And there are plenty of somatic approaches to personal development: from Hakomi (the method I’m trained in*) and various types of somatic coaching, to somatic experiencing and beyond. 

The way I think about somatic coaching falls into two categories:

1) a present-moment awareness of your being, including your body and how it connects to your emotions, thoughts, memories, and beliefs; and  

2) your ability to experience and create your life from a fully embodied place. 

I could go on at length about what others have said about somatic work. Instead, I’ll tell you first-hand about my experience as a client of it. I hope my personal account will bring some of the fuzziness of somatic coaching into clearer focus for you.

In my feelings…physically

By my thirties, I’d worked with all types of healers and helpers: from coaches, therapists, and Rolfers to reiki masters, astrologers, and Akashic record readers. And when it came to the talking-it-out kind of help, while I usually found it useful at a superficial level, more often than not it kept me in my head, spinning in circles, and not making lasting change. 

I don’t remember where I first heard the word ‘somatic’, but when I did, it made an intuitive kind of sense. I grew up dancing, so I knew how healing and empowering moving my body could be. I had no clue what a somatic approach looked like. All I knew was I needed the gerbil-wheel-on-speed sensation in my brain to stop. So when I found someone who specialized in it, I took the plunge. 

Here’s where it gets real: I found my first session a little confusing. I didn’t understand what I was meant to be doing—wasn’t I supposed to be just spilling my guts as per usual, so that I could be told what was wrong with me, what to do next, and go on my not-so-merry way? 

Much to my surprise, that’s not what happened. 

I was guided to do things like turn my attention inward, pay attention to my breath, and notice what sensations were showing up within me. Sensations? I thought. Is awkward a sensation? Cuz that one is coming through loud and clear.

I was not at all used to someone else just being present with me, warmly witnessing me, and inviting me to slow down and be. I felt an immense pressure to do something, say something, make something happen. Even worse, I felt *gasp* vulnerable

But by the end of the session, as unfamiliar as it was, I felt calmer and more connected to myself. I was somatically curious before my session; now, I was hooked. I had to know what this was all about, and something inside me knew to keep going. 

As my sessions went on, we often explored my physical gestures or facial expressions, which tended to be connected to the topics I talked about—though I was completely unaware of the connection. 

Once, I was talking about something painful and it was pointed out that I was touching the left side of my neck with my right hand. I had no idea I was doing it. We then studied the awareness of me touching my neck to explore what it might mean—and it turned out, my body was instinctively protecting me. 

That realization in itself damn near blew my mind. 

I learned to become more aware of what was happening in my body as I was speaking, and that awareness led to thousands more massive insights. I never knew my body had so much to say or so much wisdom to share with the rest of me. But it did, and it still does. 

Thinking about thinking about thinking…

If this sounds out there to you, I get it. Consider the culture we live infor most of you reading, Western culture. Every culture has values, and Western culture rewards intellect, independence, and individualism (lots of “I”s), often revering our cognitive abilities above all else. 

We separate the mind, body, and spirit into separate categories. We champion the mind and mental productivity; our bodies are vehicles to cart our brains around, objects to be sexualized, molded, and whipped into shape, not rewarded and loved simply for being. And often the spiritual is completely ignored or outright mocked.

I am not anti-thinking. Not at all. But I believe the emphasis we place on thinking as the most important function of being human has created an imbalance as we heavily over-index on ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’, and it leads to serious consequences. 

On an individual level, sometimes that looks like walking around experiencing the world like you’re a balloon on a string, barely tied to the earth. Collectively, it can look like feeling trapped inside our minds and trying to think and think and think our way out of problems, instead of exploring less misery-inducing ways.

So answer this: what if you could be deeply in tune with the information your body was giving you, instead of ignoring it? What if you could trust your body as a source of truth and give it what it needs, when it needs it, instead of constantly forcing it into subservience? How might that change how you experience life?

To misquote Albert Einstein, who never actually said the following but the sentiment of which I like very much:

Einstein didn’t actually say this but we love him anyway.

In fact, I’m going to push this concept one step further and suggest that we can’t solve many of our own problems by *thinking* at all.
Or at least, not thinking by itself. Our cognitive abilities aren't the only way we can work through our challenges and create lives we love. They’re just one path inward. 

And, I’ve found, our bodies know so much more than we give them credit for.

To recap

Somatic coaching can help you release stress, fully embody the best version of yourself, and develop inner peace with yourself and the world around you. 

Is there a learning curve? Sometimes. 

Is it worth it? In my eyes and from what my clients have said, without a doubt. 

If you’re interested in exploring somatic work with me, I’d love to hear from you. Book a free discovery call with me and we can talk about your goals, your dreams, and what might be getting in the way.  


To your full and joyful embodiment,

Caitlin “Awkward Is Definitely A Sensation” Clarke



*Hakomi is a mindfulness-based somatic psychology that uses a body-centered approach and combines somatic awareness with experiential techniques to support growth and transformation. You can read more about it here: 



Want to break free from the limiting beliefs that are holding you back?


You can.


Join my email list for thought-provoking insights, heartwarming encouragement, and plenty of LOLs.

I work with women and feminine-of-center folks of every race, ethnicity, age, ability, and orientation. You belong here in all your gorgeous individuality.

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].