What is Somatic Coaching?

What is Somatic Coaching?

What is Somatic Coaching? 1800 1200 Brook Thorndycraft

Your body knows how to heal and resource itself. Big Waves uses a range of somatic approaches to help you listen to your body’s wisdom to find your path to greater alignment.

We face tremendous pressure to succeed, to do more and to balance many stressful responsibilities. We are also facing increasing conflict and polarization, injustice and the need to adapt to constantly changing conditions. This ongoing stress lives in our bodies.

Our nervous system has amazing adaptive responses. Sometimes when we have been under intense stress, these systems of fight, flight, freeze and appease can get stuck. In those moments we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the challenges of life, or numb to the basic experiences of living. Through gentle observation of the wisdom of your body, we support your nervous system to move through the stuck patterns to free up more self-awareness, joy, creativity, and life energy. 

Somatic coaching can give us insight into our deeper desires, values and motivations as leaders. It can help us build our capacity to be fluid in the face of difficult experiences and emotions, and it can expand life energy and ability to connect meaningfully with others.

Big Waves uses a range of somatic methods to support your transformation.


Somatic Experiencing (SE)

Developed by Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-focused approach to healing overwhelming life experiences, injury and chronic stress, and to finding your way back to vitality.

SE was created primarily as a trauma healing method. However, whether or not we have experienced traumatic events, we live and work in a traumatic social context. Somatic Experiencing® can support us to reconnect with our core selves, our aliveness, curiosity, creativity and our ability to feel connection and security with others. Through the exploration of sensations in our bodies, we slowly and carefully support the nervous system to process stressful or overwhelming experiences. 

We do this in the following ways:

  • Building the capacity to notice what is happening in your body, both sensations and emotions, with curiosity and without feeling overwhelmed
  • Building more flexibility and spaciousness in your responses to stress
  • Learning ways to offer yourself comfort and to find your own inner resources and resilience
  • Building tolerance for both pleasure and pain and allowing the nervous system to integrate small amounts of challenging sensations
  • Building your own inner sense of boundaries, being able to hear when your body is saying “yes” or “no”
  • Coming into appreciation of a full range of emotional experience, including a respect for anger, fear, and playfulness
  • Honouring and celebrating your adaptive responses and the ways they have supported you, while also allowing them to shift and change
  • Learning to recognize, respect and honour our bodies’ needs, limits and wisdom

As we explore our body’s ways of knowing, we may find connections to past experience, values and beliefs, and deeper systemic pains that we have absorbed into our bodies. We explore emotions, memory, metaphor, sensations, and our bodies’ unconscious patterns to rediscover the wisdom, self-knowledge and deep desires that our bodies hold.

Brook is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with Somatic Experiencing® International.


Deep Democracy

The Lewis Method of Deep Democracy is a method of group decision making and conflict intervention that aims to surface tensions in a group.  It takes an embodied approach to follow the “No” and hear all of the voices in a group, in order to surface all perspectives and bring some insight to a polarized topic.  In a coaching context, it is also a powerful tool to support us to listen to all of the voices in ourselves, including the ones in conflict with each other.  

Maybe a part of you is inspired to lead an important change initiative at your work.  But another part of you is exhausted and feels pessimistic that it will ever happen.  Deep Democracy in a coaching context invites you to take the side of each part and really embody that role.  Feel the energy of inspiration: what does that part of you desire?  Experience the shutting down of exhaustion: what does the tired part need to be able to come along with the plan? 

Ever make a pros and cons list about a decision you need to make, and still not know what to do? When we sink into the deeper knowing of our bodies, we can open to all new insights and possibilities.

Brook is a Deep Democracy Level One trainer with the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy®


Creativity, Movement, and Play

Our ability to access joy, curiosity, wonder, and connection suffers when we are living and working in toxic stress.  By integrating creativity, movement and play, we can bring greater expansiveness and flexibility in the face of change.  

The Big Waves approach integrates play and movement-based popular education methods, as well as elements of popular theatre and expressive and visual arts.  No creative experience necessary, just a willingness to have some fun!

For more information about leadership coaching, visit the Leadership Page!