Somatic Transformation: Healing from trauma through empathic relationship and natural wisdom. Somatic Transformation, a relational model for the healing of trauma, has been developed by Sharon Stanley, Ph.D. Sharon Stanley is a scholar-practitioner in the field of somatic psychotherapy. Her theories and practice have been honed in 25 years as a licensed psychotherapist and graduate-level educator of mental health clinicians.
Somatic Transformation is based on Dr. Stanley's doctoral research on traumatized children and the development of empathy. Over the past thirty years, Dr. Stanley has practiced as a psychotherapist in Gig Harbor Washington, Victoria B.C and Bainbridge Island. As an educator, Dr. Stanley has developed and taught courses at Greater Lakes Mental Health in the Suicide Prevention Project, the University of Washington, Tacoma and the University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. in the graduate program for Counselling Psychology. In the last eight years, Dr. Stanley has taught hundreds of individuals the principles and skills of somatic psychotherapy throughout Canada, the United States and Israel. Participants have included First Nation’s bands, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, physicians and other health care professionals.
Somatic Transformation builds on the principles of empathic attunement, phenomenological inquiry, somatic interventions and reflection on lived experience. This dynamic trauma model gently explores, with a trusted other, the trauma as well as the systemic, natural healing process in the context of interpersonal relationship. Sensations in the body, movement, emotions, imagination, archetypes and other unknown elements of the right hemisphere of the brain are brought into awareness, amplified, and oscillated to form new patterns in the mind, body and spirit. Creative new meaning emerges as the trauma healing integrates the elements of the brain stem, limbic system and cerebral cortex. This integration restores the regulation of the autonomic nervous system and intense emotions while strengthening the capacity for intimate relationship.
Somatic Transformation engages the constructivist tradition in psychotherapy to facilitate a synthesis in a variety of disciplines, theories and practices. Inspired by phenomenology, emerging research of Interpersonal Neurobiology, trauma research, practices of somatic awareness and mindfulness, and the Regulation Theory of Dr. Allan Schore. This model seeks to examine cutting-edge neurobiological findings related to trauma healing and respond with creative, artful and congruent practices of somatic psychotherapy. Drawing on inspiration from indigenous healing practices, Somatic Transformation honors the energy of the natural world and its matrix for human existence.
Sharon Stanley, Ph.D., has been named as the recipient of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors' President's Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Discipline of Counselling Through Teaching, Research and Advocacy (2010-20