How To Become A Somatic Healer
Updated: Mar 31
The mental health field is in a transformative moment. New understandings of how to heal from trauma and create lasting emotional wellbeing is changing the way that we look at mental health and therapy practices. Somatic Therapy is a big umbrella term used to describe therapy modalities that use a body-based approach to healing emotionally and can range from mindfulness practices and yoga therapy to combinations of dialogue and bodywork or body-based (somatic) talk therapy.
The first step in becoming a Somatic Healer of any kind is to start experiencing the work yourself. You can't take anyone anywhere you haven't been yourself is a good motto to live by when working within the body. Some great modalities to search for in your area are Somatic Intuitive Healing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Rubenfeld Synergy, Alexander Technique, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Somatic Therapy, Hakomi, Yoga Therapy or Feldenkrais Method. Start exploring practitioners and see which modalities resonate with you the most.
Because Somatic Therapy is a blending of bodywork and counseling, the field is not yet governed by one licensing board or regulatory organization. This means that there is no "somatic therapist license". People working in somatic therapy come from a variety of professional backgrounds. From massage therapists and yoga teachers to talk therapists and naturopathic doctors, somatic therapy can be offered from a variety of perspectives. This is why it is so important to start to experience this kind of work for yourself. Depending on what resonates most with you, you can begin searching for the right program for you, your background, and your interests.
The first consideration is whether you are drawn to doing a more traditional route of education or following an alternative path. There are pros and cons to both but either route is a worthy pursuit. The traditional education route will take you through a Masters graduate program and depending on whether you already have a BA, this will take 2 - 6 years. If you are looking to get licensed, you will likely have to go through a supervision/intern period that can be anywhere from an additional 1-3 years post graduation. You will not be a licensed somatic therapist but rather a licensed counselor with training in somatic therapy. This route can cost upwards of $100,000 or more. These can create barriers for many which is one of the reasons some seek out alternative educational routes. For those that are looking to go through a more direct path, there are many training programs that offer certification in a specific somatic therapy modality. Some are designed as secondary education programs that you would take after a foundational training program of some kind like massage school, yoga teacher training, or counseling degree. So if you are already licensed or trained in another kind of wellness modality, secondary education programs like at the Somatic Intuitive Healing Training Center are great as they are often a lower cost and less time. Some programs are designed to be train practitioners who are just starting out or transitioning careers. These programs tend to be 2-3 years in length and as such have a higher cost.
Once you have decided on a training program that is right for you, complete your studies and begin your practice. The work is needed now more than ever. Helping to support your community in getting past old stuck trauma patterns and regulating their nervous system can be a rewarding and satisfying career.
Jessica Garay is creator of the Somatic Intuitive Healing™ Training Center and Moon Vibe Sanctuary in Portland, Oregon. Jessica offers professional training and certification programs in biodynamic somatic therapy and craniosacral therapy in Portland, Oregon and around the world online. She is also passionate about helping other healers create sustainable and easeful businesses through holistic business coaching services. Learn more at www.somaticintuitivehealing.com & business coaching and personal healing at www.moonvibesanctuary.com