Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Felicia Washington Sy, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


Somatic Psychotherapy is a contemporary embodied, experiential therapeutic modality that is difficult to understand by reading theory alone and without the benefit of direct personal experience. In this autoethnography, I aimed to illuminate the therapeutic change process in somatic psychotherapy from my perspective as a client. In reflecting on my experience as a client, I also strove to more deeply understand my own healing process to become a more effective and ethical somatic psychotherapist. The data consisted of my direct participation in four professional workshops related to somatic psychotherapy, as well as my personal experience as a continuous client of somatic psychotherapy. I then developed evocative narratives based on my somatic psychotherapy sessions that highlight the process of how somatic psychotherapy functions between client and therapist and illuminate how I experience personal transformation. I also interwove my reflections of the related workshop experiences with salient theoretical literature to further elucidate my understanding of how somatic psychotherapy engenders self-transformation. Ultimately, I found that the intersubjective relationship between client and therapist is inherently embodied and moreover becomes the transformative healing agent in somatic psychotherapy. I additionally found that self-transformation occurs through the delicate and simultaneous moments of grace and precision that both profoundly ground the client in the present moment, and connect them to a sense of all that is available within and beyond them.

Included in

Social Work Commons