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Module: Somatic Psychology

In our work with the body we experience the deep interrelationship between soma, psyche and spirit. Somatic Psychology seeks to give language and meaning to the fluid and organic experiences of somatic process, enabling us to dialogue and interact meaningfully with material arising from the unconscious in bodywork and movement therapy practice.

Tutor: Jane Okondo
Dates: 5 long weekends over an academic year.

  • 2023: 5 – 8 Oct (4 days), 1 – 3 Dec,
  • 2024: 16 – 18 Feb; 19 – 21 Apr; 14 – 16 June.

Times: 10:30am–6:00pm; Sundays 10am – 5.30pm.
Venue: Near Totnes, South Devon, UK.
Cost: £1425 (£300 Deposit to secure your place, plus 9 monthly payments of £125 (due on 1st of each month, Oct 2023 – June 2024); or the EARLY BIRD fee of £1275, when paid in full to be received by 1st July 2023)

This Module has started and is now closed to new participants.

The next opportunity to join the Diploma training is in autumn 2024, with Infant Movement Development.

If you are interested in this, please join us for one of the introductory workshops and sign up to our mailing list to receive updates.

Details of our Module Application Process Here.


Participants will have completed either the Infant Movement, Authentic Movement, and/or the Embodied Anatomy modules of the Diploma Programme. The Somatic Psychology Module can also be taken as CPD by professionals and students in related fields of practice (you will have studied for at least 100 hours in some other approach to somatic movement or dance movement therapy). Please apply with details of relevant study and professional practice and join us for an intro workshop.

The module will explore:

  • embryology and the roots of the sense of self and attachment patterns
  • psychological models emerging out of somatic and perinatal process, including both theory and practice.
  • the role of the therapist and their embodied presence in relationship to the client, including basic skills of listening, supporting, witnessing, containing, processing and integrating.
  • Setting up a Professional Practice, ISMETA Scope of Practice & Code of Ethics, information about Final Presentation & Written Case Study.

1. Embodiment of Spirit: an Embryological Journey

  • The process of development from conception through the first few weeks of embryological life.
  • Movement and body meditations to explore the embodiment of cells, membranes, tissues and fluids, engaging with the unfolding of form through which the embryonic sense of self begins to emerge
  • Asking what embodiment means to us as human beings, we will consider how the human embryo embodies spirit
  • The origins of relational patterns as they manifest in the unfolding patterns of movement will be explored

2. Body, Feelings, Mind: Embryology and the Body Systems

  • The splitting and integration of body, feelings and mind, with reference to the embryological layers (Boadella) and the expressive and shadow functions of the body systems.

3. Perinatal Process: Development of Sub-personalities

  • The influence of perinatal experience on the development of the will and personality patterns, with reference to Grof’s basic perinatal matrix
  • The development of sub-personalities, their somatic manifestations, and methods of working with them through inner body dialogue, identification and dis-identification, and movement process

4. Development of the Sense of Self: Neuroscience and Trauma work

  • The development of the senses of self, with particular reference to Stern’s work, in relation to Infant Movement Development and Authentic Movement practice
  • Attachment theory and neuroscience; how early experiences of attachment and loss affect brain development: the implications for bodywork and somatic movement therapy
  • Working with trauma

5. Movement Process Work: the Body as Shadow

  • The body as shadow: movement Process Work and the theory of the Dreambody (Mindell)
  • The Role of the Therapist and their Embodied Presence
  • The dance of relationship: the therapist’s embodied presence as container and as information: transference and countertransference will be addressed
  • The many levels of listening: gathering information from verbal and non-verbal messages, holding creative tension, and creating a context for the work
  • Empathy, compassionate witnessing, resonance and clear seeing.

For details of ‘Somatic Psychology: Mody, Mind and Meaning’ by Linda Hartley, please see the publication page.




For more information the other modules, please click the links below:

Infant Movement Development

Authentic Movement and Therapeutic Presence

Embodied Anatomy and Movement Re-patterning