Episode 179 Effective Somatic Interventions In Therapy Sessions: Interview With Kim Bevans

May 1, 2024

How do you integrate somatic interventions with traditional talk therapy approaches? What are some common misconceptions about somatic therapy, and how do you address them with clients?

MEET Kim Bevans

Kim Bevans is a body-oriented therapist and Embodiment Expert. Kim received her master’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling. Kim is a Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Massachusetts. Kim provides therapy to women who over-intellectualize, spend too much time in their thinking minds, and feel emotionally overwhelmed. Kim helps women hear the call in their bodies and hearts to facilitate deeper connection, understanding, and healing within themselves. Her private practice is in Boston, Massachusetts.  Based on her years of embodied clinical experience and ongoing learning, Kim provides education and consultation for therapists who want to level up their mind-body toolbox. 

Find out more at Kim Bevans, and connect with Kim on Instagram

Check out her Top 6 Somatic Intervention, a quick reference guide of dependable somatic skills to deepen your sessions by bringing your client into embodiment now


  • Somatic Therapy Vs. Traditional Therapy 4:00
  • What are the different kinds of Somatic interventions? 6:04
  • What role does a therapist’s own embodiment play in facilitating Somatic interventions? 14:30

Somatic Therapy Vs. Traditional Therapy

  • Understanding the difference between Somatic therapy and body-oriented therapy
  • Integrating multiple modalities into a session

What Are The Different Somatic Interventions?

  • The importance of movement and body sensations in session
  • Learning to put words to how we feel in our bodies
  • Understanding the client’s individual needs
  • What is a “verbal run?”
  • How to teach your clients to tap into their own movement

What Role Does A Therapist’s Own Embodiment Play In Facilitating Somatic Interventions?

  • The importance of understanding how movement feels to you as a therapist
  • Helping your clients understand what Somatic therapy is
  • Understanding your client’s specific needs
  • How to educate your clients in Somatic intervention
  • What are the challenges when integrating Somatic interventions into sessions?

Connect With Me

Instagram @holisticcounselingpodcast


Join the private Facebook group

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Sign up for my FREE email course: How to Build Confidence As A Holistic Counselor

Self-Care for the Counselor: A Companion Workbook: An Easy to Use Workbook to Support you on Your Holistic Healing and Counselor Self-Care Journey … A Holistic Guide for Helping Professionals)

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Kim Bevans, and connect with Kim on Instagram

Check out her Top 6 Somatic Intervention, a quick reference guide of dependable somatic skills to deepen your sessions by bringing your client into embodiment now


Chris McDonald: Have you ever wondered about how to integrate more somatic interventions into your sessions? Or perhaps you've had some hesitancy about the effectiveness of those body based techniques. Our guest today not only demystifies somatic interventions, but also shares their personal journey of integrating these practices into their therapeutic work, illuminating the profound impact it can have on healing.

Today's episode is packed with insights and thought provoking discussion aimed at both seasoned practitioners and those new to the concept of somatic therapy. So tune in, get comfortable, and let's explore the dynamic world of somatic interventions together. This is one episode of the Holistic Counseling podcast you don't want to miss.

Stay tuned. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice. This with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey. Welcome

to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. In today's episode, we're shifting focus to the use of somatic interventions and therapy. Somatic interventions evolve, tapping into the body's wisdom. To facilitate emotional healing and integration, there's a lot of different ways that we can do this, but we'll explore the principles behind it, the effectiveness in addressing trauma, and we'll discuss some interventions that therapists can integrate into their sessions to promote this holistic healing.

Joining us today is Kim Bevins. She is a body oriented therapist and embodiment expert. She provides therapy to women who over intellectualize, spend too much time in their thinking minds, and feel emotionally overwhelmed. Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, Kim. Thank you so much. Thanks for

Kim Bevans: having me on, Chris.

It's great to be here.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Can we start with what first interested you in a somatic approach to therapy?

Kim Bevans: So I, as a therapist, arrived, uh, through the potty, we might say. Um, so I'm a dancer first and I came there and found counseling that way. So the only way I know, Therapy and counseling actually is with a somatic approach.

So as I mentioned, I was a dancer and then coming out of college, looking to see what my path was going to be. And I read an article about dance movement therapy. And so that's what I went to grad school for. So all of my training has been completely embodied and completely from. a Soma, a body perspective.

Yeah. And so the, the psychology piece for me, the counseling pieces are really on top of the body knowledge. So I think, yeah, those of us who came from that direction, we've got, uh, that's so interesting. Really baked in. Yeah, exactly. And so it's great that everyone's more on board now because now, isn't it

Chris McDonald: awesome?

Kim Bevans: Yeah, it's really, really great. And that's what we've been swimming in and that's what we've been doing. That's what we've been practicing and it's so much more popular and so many more therapists and people are interested in. So it's a wonderful, wonderful time.

Chris McDonald: I love seeing that shift from traditional talk therapy to more holistic realms and using the body more.

Cause I think the more and more we learn about the brain and trauma. The more we have to include the body in those trauma sessions. Oh my Lord.

Kim Bevans: Right, exactly. And this is where we, it's where we come from, right. It was my kind of personal journey, but as, as humans, right. We have such a deep history of using our bodies more, you know, more than.

we do now in our very kind of heady culture. I'm kind of overgeneralizing here, but you know, we come from roots of moving together, dancing together, right? Playing music together. And that's where there was traditional therapy. You know, we healed in all of these ways. So to me, it's sort of reclaiming and re, you know, designing almost, you know, how we use these parts again, that are very sort of innately human and, and bringing them to a modern

Chris McDonald: perspective.

Yeah. So how would you describe what is somatic therapy as opposed to traditional approaches? Cause some listeners may not be familiar with what we're talking about.

Kim Bevans: Yeah. Well, I always like to distinguish to that. You mentioned the therapy piece that there is somatics and there's body oriented approaches in therapy, like psychotherapy.

And then there are also the body approaches that don't have that psychological counseling component. So that's sort of the first thing that I know I am often clearing up with people in these conversations, or even when clients come in for services, right? So they may be getting some other type of energy work, or they may be getting massage therapy, and there's, you know, so many other things.

And those can have psychological benefits, but that those are different than when we're combining, you know, counseling or therapy with, with the body. Now, I appreciate that distinction. Yeah. Yeah. I think I, I, that's one that I repeat like again and again and again, because, uh, yeah, I mean, we, you and I, we do this all the time, but for people who don't, I think it's a good reminder and just kind of separating out these circles, almost like a Venn diagram, like where they overlap and where they're separate.

So for me, I also love that it's, it can be sort of all encompassing and depending on how a therapist was trained, they may be bringing different things in, even if they're all, you know, kind of using terms like holistic or even they're using somatic therapy. So for me, it really is about using the body in some way.

And then, for example, if you're looking for a therapist or you're looking to work with a therapist or getting trained from another therapist, you want to see where they're coming from basically, right? And seeing if that aligns. Okay. So I know as a therapist, my therapy website, you know, outlines again, sort of my origins, right?

I'm coming from this dance woman therapy place. I also do EMDR. I consider that under this umbrella of somatic therapy, right? We're incorporating and we're paying attention to the body in therapy and you know, how we use it is again, going to be a little different depending on, you know, what a therapist has been trained in, but it's really about, you know, that body approach.

Chris McDonald: What kind of therapeutic somatic interventions do you like to use with clients?

Kim Bevans: Yeah. So I would say that always at the front for me, I'm always looking in every session to have some connection with movement and with body sensations. Now, it's not necessarily in that order. It's really depends on who. the client is in front of me.

But when I say movement, the, the range of what that can be is very, very large. So that can be noticing what gestures, you know, so I'm kind of moving my fingers forward right now can be, you know, somebody talking with their hands or are they making a gesture as they talk about something that's really difficult or there's something they're really excited about.

And that's all the way in my case, I do use dance at times in my individual therapy sessions,

Chris McDonald: which is amazing. Yeah,

Kim Bevans: it's really fun. It's really exciting. And I'm just there to honor right wherever a client is right on this really big spectrum of really small movement. So I mean, even some, it could be a change, a very subtle change in their body posture, but we're always at least calling attention to or we're doing more interventions that come from some sense of movement.

So that's, that's always key for me. So, cause even though I come from this place and get really easy to get sucked into the verbal aspect, right. And that's usually where we're used to really connecting with people so that, you know, it's, it's just always present for me. So that, that that's what we're doing.

And sometimes it's easier than others to really pull that. But we're always doing that. And so the other thing is just identifying body sensations. And that's really developed for me over the years. I think as the years have gone on, noticing that it's just a skill that needs to be built for most of us, I would say, and this is how we bring the body and mind together is what exactly, what the heck am I feeling?

And can I put words to that? So here's where these two things really get combined. So, you know, are we, that could be, it depends on the client, whether I'll start with more exteroception, you know, paying attention to the outside or the interoception. So I have to assess, you know, where they're at, but, you know, can you feel yourself sitting in the chair?

You know, that's a really common one that I use, you know, are we focusing on that where that contact is, the exteroception. So it could be identifying how it feels on the outside or using the senses. That can also be what does a client see in the room? Can we identify something that is pleasant, a color that they like, um, a shadow from the, the window, a light that's streaming in?

Can we name that? And then, including in there, the interoception, how does that feel on the inside? So the visceral organs, including, you know, the heartbeat and the breath, but also what are those little things that we are feeling those shifts. And that can be just how they arrived, or that can be, again, I saw that beam of light come in from the window.

So then I felt a little bit of lightness in the body. Again, can I name that? Can I name that lift? Can I name that lightness? So again, tying those things together. with the words. And I know just, there's a lot more research being done about this and how that can really help, especially I think anxiety has really been researched a lot.

When we know these things about ourselves, we have to know where we are, right? This is how we know where we are. So we, that helps us know where we want to go. So those are those two kinds of basic paths, sort of big umbrellas, I would say that I'm always looking at. When I'm in session. And then again, it's really, really tailored to who's in front of me, what we're doing, but that's how the body is.

There's lots of directions we can go, but the body is always present in those ways. And when I

Chris McDonald: could always present, I know with brain spotting a lot of times too, when they're processing and something comes up, well, you often check into the body. So just notice that where's that kind of feel it. Yeah, I don't know.

EMDR is a little different. I know. Cause we can have that fixed eye position, but, but it just, I feel like this can transform how you are as a therapist too, just to even allow that and just checking in. So if they bring up something in session, I often will do this too. Just be like, let's just sit with that for a moment.

Cause a lot of times clients just want to go on and on and on and I'm not. Pause. But let's slow down. Let's go back. Let's know. Right. Do you think it is slowing down to with somatic approaches?

Kim Bevans: I do. Yeah. Yeah, I absolutely do. Or one thing I have different phrases that I use for like the kind of verbal running away.

Uh, sometimes I use it. You said verbal running away. When

Chris McDonald: is that when people keep clients keep

Kim Bevans: talking

Chris McDonald: and talk?

Kim Bevans: Yes. Yes. And this wrote a verbal run. And so, yeah, I agree. There is a slowing down. So quite literally There can be a slowing down in word, and then it's also slowing down in content, right?

Whatever content that we are working with, right? What we can be not wanting to feel or get in touch with, of course, right? Is what's going on under here, right? And so that's a skill that just so many people develop. So we don't have to feel and like whatever that triggers being aware of the body sensations.

But, you know, to your point of, yeah, let's check in with that. Let's see what's going on there, right? That's an experience. And that's a skill. skill that I mean, most of the people who walk into my office, that's a skill that needs to be built. I mean, I know there's certain areas of my life and it can feel foreign for them because they're not used to that.

Right, right. Exactly. So yeah, it's, I would definitely say it's a slowing down. And then of course, I'm sure you've experienced that too, right? That little bit of titrating sometimes of like, well, what, what can they handle? Right. We're really paying attention to. you know, what they can tolerate within the body, right?

So we're using all of our skills and our, and our mirroring, right? And all that paying attention to see, cause some can't tolerate very much of that. So, you know, the verbal rod might start again, right? And you might have a little bit of a start and a stop, right? So just really watching for that. Right. I think that's some of that kind of trauma informed to just kind of safety approach of just slowly increasing their capacity to really,

Chris McDonald: yeah.

Yeah, increasing that window of tolerance and so they can, but sometimes push, I always say pushing the edge too. So sometimes it's hard to know where that is, but, but we do have to, and that's sometimes with yoga, we can do that too. If we do a side stretch, let's just stay there a little longer than you're used to see what comes up and notice, right?

That distress tolerance. So it's all, it's all interconnected.

Kim Bevans: Right. Yeah. I was just, I just came out of a session. So one thing for me too, it's really big is using the client's own movement, right. And assessing, you know, where to do that and where to, like you said, maybe have a specific intervention, you know, like yoga is a good example of that.

But we were in this last session, we were coordinating the breath. It was the client's own movement and they were a collaborator in this. We were kind of shifting the weight and going into the body and expanding the breath because the breath didn't feel good. It was really shallow for them. So we were expanding that.

Yeah. I made her do it again to your point of that. And right. And I was like, I can sort of feel from them. And this was even in a telehealth session. We could have gone on, but I was like, all right, we're going to do this again. And we could deepen the process, right. By repeating it and right. Slowing that process at the session.

So yeah, to me, that was an edge that we kind of pushed up against. And in this case, right, again, we don't really know. I was watching the cues, watching the signals. It was a helpful thing to do, right? We expanded that again and the client could tolerate that and got a lot out of it. And we could do some processing from there.

Chris McDonald: Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed as a counselor? Do you struggle to be consistent with your self care practices? You are not alone. Introducing the ultimate tool for your well being created by a fellow counselor. The Self Care for the Counselor Companion Workbook, designed specifically for counselors like you.

This fillable workbook is your first step towards rejuvenating your practice and your life. Embrace a holistic approach to self care with strategies that easily blend into your hectic schedule. From interactive activities to enriching bonus content. This workbook is packed with resources to guide you on your journey towards self renewal.

Plus you gain exclusive access to video and audio resources for meditation and yoga practices to enhance your experience. Start prioritizing your well being today, go to hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook. That's hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook to discover how your journey to self care begins today.

So I was wondering what you thought about this. So what role does a therapist's own embodiment and presence play in facilitating these somatic interventions?

Kim Bevans: To me, it's everything. It's absolutely everything. We're totally on the same page there. And I get, and again, this is maybe through the lens of clients sometimes, but I would say, so people at this point, people come to me specifically to work in the body.

So if they're showing up right in session with me, like that's what they're there for. That wasn't always the case, you know, working community mental health and whatever, but at this point that's where it is. So I will hear sometimes. Oh, my therapist just told me to do a body scan, or they just kind of did a body scan, but then they didn't know what to do after it.

And so, you know, I get the sense of that sometimes, at least from the therapist's point, or the client's point of view, they're having this experience of like, therapist is trying it on, right? We have a general knowledge, this more of like, these things are good for us. But I can tell, especially when I hear those stories, right?

That the therapist isn't yet comfortable. And then, you know, I'll never meet this, you know, a neuro that therapy says maybe or whatever, but I wonder about that. That's always my first question. I'm like, I wonder how often they've done it themselves. Or I wonder, you know, how often they've practiced it. And so for me, you know, as I work with therapists now, like that, that's a huge foundation of it.

is just having the experience yourself, right? You have to know how that feels like in your own body, both if you're doing specific interventions, right? Having them tried it before, or at least been close enough, right? To something that, you know, in your own body, and then also having your own body awareness, right?

Before, during and after, right? Were you facilitating while you're facilitating the session, right? To know what's yours or what's the client's or if you're not sure, right? And having that experience of, we talk about adrenaline content, you know, what's coming up for me if we get triggered, but we get triggered on a body level as well.

So feeling that out and being aware of where we are in space, what shapes are we making, what are we doing with our tone, right? It's all just as important. That's the word. So yeah. So in general, right, it's important, but especially when we're bringing in any, anything that has to do with the body, it becomes extra important because we're modeling it right at that point.

And if we're not really comfortable, you know, that that's what the client is going to take away. So, you know, it's, I think it's important for all therapists, but it's especially important if we're saying we're doing anything, even if it's breathing, right. So that's even more common. And she had mentioned to me that you're starting there And I'll hear like, Oh, a CBT therapist does it.

And that's great. And that that's a point of reflection. I think, do I know it's as a therapist? So I know what's happening in my own body as it's going on. And have I tried it on body to know how it sits for me and how, right. We can only have our experience, but how might it. show up, what might, how might the body respond if we do an intervention like this?

Chris McDonald: Yeah, that's why I teach therapists how to use yoga in sessions clinically. And that's the first thing I tell them. You have to have your own yoga practice, movement practice. You must move, you must get comfortable in your body. Yes. A thousand percent. I agree. Totally on the same page, aren't we? Yes. So what do you say to clients who initially are referred to you?

How do you explain What's somatic therapy is, is there a way that you present it to them so they can understand them?

Kim Bevans: Yeah, I think it's no small thing. It may seem a little extra to your question, but at this point, I feel like my website is really, really clear. And so even if I'm just, so either therapists that I network with or people reach out to me, um, I don't That's sort of my base.

And I think that's a really nice way to start. Um, since I've had like a really clear website, it's a really good foundation. I even have a video on there and that's more about explaining dance movement therapy, but I just the introduction, right? Just the, getting some kind of introduction of what this might be.

So there I kind of break it out. I, I talk about dance movement therapy, and then I talk about somatic therapy and talk about EMDR. Um, I talk about expressive therapy as well, because that's part of what comes in. So, so I'll say that is that I let them, if it makes sense and how we've connected that they sit with some of that material themselves.

And again, I think that's important because this is becoming more common, but it's still. That's still not the norm, I guess I would say. So I like them to have that space to kind of digest some of that so that they can come at me with questions. And then usually by the time I'm speaking with them, say on the phone, they want, they want a clear example of what it looks like, which makes a lot of sense, right?

So they have some reference, they've either been to my website, they've done some research, but now they want to know what it looks like. So similarly to what I was saying to you earlier, I emphasize that for me, it's really. individual, right? It's based on what they're coming in with. And then I emphasize a lot of pieces again, that we've kind of talked about, which is that, you know, we're going to bring, bring in the body.

And I mean, just similar to the ways I think that actually we talked about before, you know, I gave some examples I like to use. And again, my theme is tailored to the person. I like to use what they've said, like if they fill the form on my website, you know, like give me a really short. piece on what, you know, what you're working on.

And I like to tailor it to what they've said, you know, that they're the reason they're coming in. Right. So if it's anxiety, if it's trauma, if they've given, you know, it's childhood trauma, right? Like, okay. So an example could be, you know, if we're talking about childhood trauma, we might be looking and seeing how that's still lingering in the body, right?

How is that showing up in your, in your movements, right? Your movement quality, right? What kind of responses are you having? Are you having flashbacks? Are you getting triggered? So I'm going really specific, so this is maybe a little off from the question that you asked, but that's how I, I really kind of zone in, I guess I would say, and try to speak to them again, because that's how I work and speak to, well, if, if you're coming in with this, and this is what you've told me, and by that time, they probably already told me a little bit more on their own, and so it's confidential at that point, and so part of that reason is I'm, Okay.

You know, I'm trying to offer a little bit of education and get them comfortable, right, with this idea. And so I'll start with, I'm making sure I'm offering a range to, again, of things that we might do. And I'm trying to gauge, because again, I am going to speak broadly, like maybe kind of like culturally, right?

There's just so much there, there's fear, but there's also just discomfort right around the body. So I'm just trying to very gently just introduce ideas, right, of ways that we're going to sort of get in touch with it. So again, if they say they've done massage or energy work, right, or yoga, right, or any of those things, I'm trying to use those and use their foundation and connect, right, somatic pieces.

Connected to what they might already know and have experience with. Yeah. So that's how I approach it. That

Chris McDonald: makes a lot of sense though. I love how you said using their own words too. So I was think that would help them to really stay more tuned into what you're saying. If you're almost reflecting that in the way that they're speaking.

Kim Bevans: Right. Cause I think that's, what's on us as either somatic practitioners or holistic practitioners is. Yeah. I think that education piece, I mean, it's true for all therapy, but again, we have this extra body component that is less, I, the word fear just keeps coming up, right? We're just more fearful of that, or you really kind of more fall into the like heady mind thinking stuff.

So, uh, right, right from the beginning, when we meet someone, I feel like just kind of laying down an inviting path, right? Just kind of like rolling out a course for them, like, here's what we could do. And here's why it. It's, it's going to be helpful and also maybe not so bad, right? Exactly. Take some of the fear out of it.

Maybe too. Yeah. Offering. Yeah. Really a new relationship. I mean, obviously to themselves, but really a new relationship to their body. I mean, yeah, I'm not sure about you, Chris, but I mean, the more I do this, right? Like that, that is just, yeah. True. Right. Again and again and again. And then I hear it in different versions, right?

Well, I've done this or I've done yoga, but then like a client will say, I've done yoga, but then this part is still stuck. Right. We're showing up in this chronic pain or showing up in this way. Right. So just kind of leading a path of. just continuing to really connect and learn to love and be in.

Chris McDonald: Yeah.

Have you encountered some difficulties with integrating with some people? Have there been some challenges?

Kim Bevans: Yeah. I mean, I would say, yeah, I'm thinking an example comes to mind. And again, this is even, uh, in, in my practice, as it's been for the past couple of years, you know, I, this is how, this is how I. This is what I call myself.

And this is what I tell everybody I do. And sometimes I do get people, uh, so I was mentioning body sensations and learning to identify those and name those and some of the extra reception as well. And yeah, some people are still, they still get really uncomfortable with that. And yeah, they can still try to shift again, even though it maybe it sounded good on the phone, right.

You know, we're having a consultation. And so for me, where I come from, that's where I will then maybe tap into more. Of the umbrella of the expressive therapy resources, I would say, um, because I find that that can then be the inroad. So what do you say expressive therapy? Is that like, sometimes it's more of the like art materials, like bringing in art and music and, and the sensory qualities, um, with that.

Right. So the express theory is a big umbrella, but sort of layering in, even though I lead with the body, you know, most people don't think of the art piece of it, but again, that that's an opportunity where I'm like, okay, well, let's try this. Or another way is, uh, using images. Again, I, this kind of branches out into that may be holistic or expressive umbrella.

Um, or bring in images, like I have an image card deck, so I'm looking to tap into, and this is something I talked to therapists about, right? The imagination, right? So I'm looking for other ways that feel safer if like going right to the body, if I'm getting these signals of like, no, I don't want to talk about that or I already know I already did this.

I already did yoga today. Like now I already know what I'm feeling in my body, right? I'm looking for these under other inroads. So under this sort of expressive umbrella, imagination, and another type of. sensory experience. So I'm thinking of in my practice, disabled client, maybe who would draw things out.

We had a theme of a shape and I had this client sort of draw things out. We had different like phases of their life and we're, and we're putting things down on paper. And so literally, right, there's a sensory and it's a body experience of course, right? Of making contact. And in a way it's movement. It is.

You are exactly right.

But I, I may not label it as such, right. Exactly. No. Yeah. Right. Exactly. So, right. We're coming at it from a different angle, right? We're not coming at it head on. Right. We're coming from another side. Uh, door. Yeah. Right. Exactly. Which is totally great. Right. It is totally fine. It's amazing. Exactly. So yeah, so again, it's totally fine just to, okay, then we're going in a different direction and yeah, just playing around and seeing what sticks and yeah, it can be really, really fruitful.

Chris McDonald: So can you share a story of some success you've had with using somatic interventions?

Kim Bevans: Oh yes. Where do we start? So, so many. Let's see. Let's start with. So I mentioned earlier that a big focus that I have, the way my approach has developed over the years is zoning into, um, a client's own, own movement, um, with their own body wants to do.

So I have a client in mind, I'll call this client Wanda for the sake of our conversation here. So Wanda had a lot of childhood trauma and this was a client I had over telehealth. So I know sometimes there's questions about can we do this stuff over telehealth? And so this client in particular did very well over telehealth, distance wise, just schedule wise, you know, that worked better for them and it worked well overall.

So. This guy was open to, to movement. Again, they came and again, we went more of a front door approach. We're talking about side door, um, front door, and they were very open to it. But so often it was very accessible for this client to stand. So we would adjust our cameras. It would just really invite this client to stand and.

Often we would start almost like a little bit of a warmup and oftentimes what, uh, sometimes a warmup can be more formal sort of coming from a dance movement therapy approach, but I tend to really, uh, watch and encourage what a client's old own movements are. And, uh, again, that. You have to see who you're with, but this client was very open to that and would just stand up.

And of course they were at their desk. This is a client who also had a job where they were often at their desk, you know, staring at a screen most of the day. And they were open to that shift. So through this process, so just about every session, right? We would start with that process of just how does your body want to move?

And I would follow along, right? So they could see me if they wanted to log up, they could see me mirroring them. Sometimes I would do my own things. Sometimes I would try on things that they wanted to do and, um, I would just encourage and just reflect back what they were doing and really just support the like, yes, okay, great.

Like your shoulders need to move yet really feel how that goes. And sometimes I would offer, you know, if you, if you want to, you know, you could vary the size of that. You could vary the speed of that. So also looking for those opportunities to see if the pattern wanted to change, right? Sometimes we just do these things as somewhat automatic, even if we're paying attention.

So throwing out these invitations right to change it up over the course of this again worked very well for this client. So what we were able to do over the course of Lisa months off of this very natural movement that this client had, we would then tap into that when we were talking about memories. So here, this movement was allowing this client to, to finish.

movement patterns that didn't get finished, right? During the traumatic events, right? Of their childhood. So starting with that warmup from the beginning, we could use that quality when say, you know, there was maybe a lot of closing in, right? Of the body when we refer to it as specific trauma. And so then because they already had the experience and it was part of our routine to ask where the body wanted to go.

Right. When she'd revisit this memory or even a trigger, right. And we didn't necessarily have to get into the depths of the memory, but simply tapping into where, where does your body want to go next? You know, do you know, and it's okay if you don't know this client was able to say, you know, for example, baby, yep.

My shoulders want to move and then I want to, and then I want to leave. Right. And then I want to step away. Okay. And then what is your body want to go next? Okay. Then my body wants to curl up in the ground, right. My book, you know, I want to cry. And this is over several weeks is over several sessions. Okay.

It wants to curl up. It wants to cry. Okay. Okay, allow it, right? And then the allowing is a huge part of that. All right, allow it. Okay, where does your body wants, want to go next? And we'd have some connection, right? We, the, the body would want to connect, want to move, or she'd want to say something. And so we do that.

And where does you want to body want to go next? And so, because this particular rhythm of working worked well for this client, we really used it to revisit. that trauma, both as it was in the past, but as it happened in the present, right. Or how she got triggered and repeats, you know, a pattern where it would get stuck, you know, in the present.

And so what happened for this client is, you know, the past, uh, haunted her much less, um, the present, she felt more accessible in the present to choose other patterns, you know, where she might be repeating this in some way, shape, or form. So she could choose other things and sometimes she didn't, and that was okay.

You know, she'd bring it in and then we'd revisit it. And again, we'd, we'd come back to the body, but this one in particular, really, again, that, that specific approach really worked against sort of that front door somatic approach and specifically where does your body want to go?

Chris McDonald: Well, that's huge. Then it sounds like too, if they were able to tune in more and be able to, Oh, wow, my shoulders do want to move.

I do want to stand up and trust. It's like, I guess this is a level of trusting yourself to in your body and what's coming up.

Kim Bevans: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, obviously as therapists, we talk about trust a lot. We built a bond very early and so we could, could build that trust and your personally as well. So yeah, it was in the body.

And then of course using that therapeutic approach, you know, to do that. Cause I think not all clients would have that

Chris McDonald: capacity.

Kim Bevans: Yeah, it's true. Yeah. Not all, not all clients do. I would say, yeah, where, where I'm at now, I get a lot more of that, where they do have that capacity where it may take longer, right.

To, to get there, which is great. Of course, or it may happen in a slower way or in smaller ways.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. But it sounds like it, it can be a gradual process, but you really tailor it to, based on what the client needs and where where they are. I think too, because we can't, cookie cutter of this is gonna be different for everybody.

And if I were to say even some of my clients I've had long term have good relationships with, how would your body like to move now? They would be like. I don't know. Shrug my shoulders.

Kim Bevans: Right. Like that's just some are just

Chris McDonald: not more into, even if we've practiced and we've done yoga and other things, just it is more difficult I think with some people for sure.

But then you have that green light moment when a client is in tune and it just goes splendidly well and they're able to connect. Yeah, it's just so, so powerful, isn't it? So what would you like to tell listeners who may be wanting to move into the somatic realm of therapy, but they're a little bit hesitant?

What kind of advice would you give them?

Kim Bevans: Yeah. And are we talking about therapists or clients? Yes. Therapists.

Chris McDonald: Yeah.

Kim Bevans: Therapists. Yeah. I would say, to your point that we were talking about earlier is to find a, Somatic practice of your own first. And that's really wide. That, that, that spectrum is really wide.

Obviously yoga is very popular, but it doesn't have to be yoga. You know, if you used to take dance classes and want to get back to dance, or you're interested in Tai Chi or Qi Gong. I would, I would include breathwork, you know, and that whatever that is, right, that net is really wide to really find what speaks to you.

Uh, I mean, I would even include, you know, if you like to walk in the forest, you know, whatever that is, you know, but with the intention of getting in touch with the body, I guess that's, that's the focus. And to connect with it. And I guess that can be different, right? We can do yoga for different reasons, but really see what your framing is around knowing your own body and having experiences in your own body.

And then from there really getting the, the training consultation, you know, supervision around learning it and having the experience of how this might show up, right? How you might bring it in. to therapy. And so you mentioned, you know, you do that, Chris. And so I do that and just finding the, the teacher, the practitioner, the educator that really resonates with you.

And again, I think where we're at now, there are so many beautiful options and then, and decide, you know, like I, I teach therapists more like at the beginning of the journey, you know, like maybe they've done some EMDR and they're like, wait, how am I going to do that body stuff in session? They come to me and we can really flesh that out and really help them.

them get comfortable with how to do that and, you know, and then that would be fine, right? And so then you're there and you've got these new skills and then some people want to keep going. I'm sure you have to have met therapists all along that their journey, right? And they're like, Oh, well now I want a certification.

You know, I've done this or I did an online course or I just did this. And so there's really a lot. There's a lot to choose from, but yeah, being curious yourself about how you're going to be in your own body, move in your own body, and then looking for ways. There's so much out there just to learn what capture you, captures you, right?

Like where do you find that light, that passion? Exactly. Yeah. Don't worry about whatever everyone else is doing, right? Find, find the direction that really, that you connect with.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, thanks for that.

Kim Bevans: So what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you? So I have a website. It's kimbevans.

com. K I M B E V A N S dot com. And so there, so I have some freebies there. And so one I have now is my top six somatic interventions. And so that's a list. There's a quick reference guide of. Things that I always use in session. So they're just referenced there. You know, sometimes I'm looking to just refresh of like, Oh yeah, what am I, what can I do?

Um, so that first page is really just sort of that inspirational page. And then the PDF has links to audio examples and video examples. So if you want to take that a little deeper again, get some inspiration, it's there. So I have the freebie on there and also description of my course that I do. for my embodied work.

So that's at Kim Bevans. com.

Chris McDonald: And we'll have that in the show notes listeners. So if you are listening in the car, make sure you can go to the website when you're on land and find it on there. But thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Kim.

Kim Bevans: Thank you, Chris. This has been really wonderful. Yeah, this is

Chris McDonald: great.

Listeners, are you struggling with feelings of burnout and emotional exhaustion in your counseling practice? Do you always put others first? Get ready to boost your energy, build your stress resilience, and discover more balance with a Self Care for the Counselor companion workbook. This guide provides simple strategies that are not only practical, but easy to integrate into your busy life.

Check it out at hcpodcasts. org. That's hcpodcast. org forward slash workbook. And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love till next time. Take care. Thanks for listening. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only, and it is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal financial counseling or any other kind of professional advice.

If you need a professional, please find the right one for you. The Holistic Counseling Podcast is proudly part of the SiteCraft Network.

Find A Topic

Feeling stressed? My Self-Care Companion workbook is designed to guide you through practical exercises that promote balance in body, mind, and spirit. The Workbook provides easy-to-use strategies that are not only practical but profoundly beneficial. 

Check Out My Book!

Self-Care for the Counselor - a holistic guide for helping professionals by Christine McDonald , MS,NCC,LPCS