16.10-A pinky-yellow sensation expanding in my chest: integrating a somatic approach to facilitate access to ‘Bodily Concentration’ during the creative process online

Covid has forced us to activate resources: in particular online art therapy is proving its worth beyond the pandemic, guaranteeing continuity in situations where regular studio sessions aren’t feasible e.g. international lifestyles. Frequent moving around can lead to fragile attachment bonds and the guarantee of continuity becomes a therapeutic factor in itself.
However, the body online is reduced to an image, often only the face. A variety of factors make it harder for service users to access ‘Bodily Concentration’ (Della Cagnoletta, 2010) during the creative process. My research demonstrates how integrating Somatic Experiencing (Levine, 1997) helps facilitate ‘Bodily Concentration’ online when tools we would use in the studio aren’t available (e.g. messy materials). Somatic feedback compliments symbolic-cognitive feedback allowing work at a physiological level, necessary for processing trauma material where the psychodynamic exploration of relational stress needs to be accompanied by the body’s lived experience (Ogden, 2020).

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