Welcome to the inaugural episode of the Somatic Coaching Academy Podcast, hosted by Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos. In this episode, Ani and Brian take you on a ride through their professional paths, culminating in the creation of the Somatic Coaching Academy. Ani and Brian share their individual stories, revealing their remarkable transition from holistic therapists to visionary somatic coaches. Unveiling the power of somatic coaching, Ani and Brian explain how their unique blend of hands-on therapy and coaching techniques has resulted in profound transformations for their clients. With genuine enthusiasm, they discuss the significance of the body as the subconscious mind, challenging conventional beliefs about the subconscious’s location and its connection to personal development. Ani and Brian also provide a sneak peek into the exciting topics and discussions that await in future episodes of the Somatic Coaching Academy Podcast. From leaving the traditional healthcare system to understanding the body’s subconscious intelligence, exploring bioenergetics and neuroscience, generating vitality and energy, and delving into trauma-informed coaching, this podcast promises to be an engaging resource for personal and professional growth. Join in!
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Awakening Through Somatic Coaching: Our Personal Development Story
Welcome to The Somatic Coaching Academy. I’m Ani Anderson.
I’m Brian Trzaskos.
Brian, I’m super excited. We’re finally here making our first episode. It reminds me of when we first got together in business. It was many years ago.
2011 is when we started.
You are a physical therapist. I’m an occupational therapist but we weren’t working in the healthcare system. We are private practitioners.
We created our practices. A lot of it was based on manual care. At that time, one of the best bridges out of structured systemized healthcare was to start a manual therapy practice.
We are the OGs. Before, it was cool to have your private practice. People were amazed that we could leave the Western Medical system and be physical and occupational therapists working outside of the system in our practices.
Especially private pay, which was linear at the time. I was tired of dealing with insurance companies, working in the system, and having insurance companies dictate to me how I was working with my clients and my patients. I was fed up with it. I made the decision and I’m sure, like you, I was like, “I was committed to working directly with my clients and not having a third party payer getting the way of that.”
People told me I was crazy. They’re like, “This is never going to work. You’re nuts,” and all these things. It worked awesome and went swimmingly in terms of how we were able to serve our clients so much better, educate them, and work with them around that. People are excited and pleased. Our business grew quickly.
My story is a little different. I didn’t take insurance because I was going to take insurance. I had my first client. I remember the stack of paperwork that I bought staples or something to be able to do my insurance reimbursements. It was red. I remember the big stack. You know me with paperwork. I went to fill out my very first client’s and insurance reimbursement paperwork. I thought to myself, “There is no way I can do this.” That was it for me. I went private pay because I could not handle and figure out all that went into charging people’s insurance.
There are people to help you out with such things but back then, there wasn’t. I remember when I left the system because I was an occupational therapist and back then, there was no direct access. When I first started, I needed to get a doctor’s order every time I wanted to see somebody, to which I also said very quickly, “The heck with this.”
I went and got my massage therapy certification. Ironically enough, I went to school for five years to learn how to do my job but I couldn’t do it with direct access. I had to ask for the doctor’s permission and orders. I went back to school for massage therapy so that I could see my clients and do what I wanted to do without having to get doctor’s orders. I got my nine-month certification to finally be able to use my expertise in a way that I could see people privately without doctors or nurses. That was before I met you.
It’s the same thing for me and then we came together. The moral of that story is if there’s a will, there’s a way. Maybe even more so, when there’s something you don’t want to do badly enough, you find a way to do it differently, even if the way you’re doing it differently seems harder than doing it the way that you don’t want to do. I could not envision myself for a moment longer. There’s a quick little story about the day that happened to me. I was working in a clinic. I was seeing 4 physical therapy patients in 1 hour.When there's something you don't want to do badly enough, you’ll find a way to do it differently. Click To Tweet
Each person got about ten minutes of personal time with me. Otherwise, I’m running around getting people on equipment, traction, and all this stuff. I remember one day, I was working with a client. They had some neck thing going on. They had a shoulder issue. At the end of the fifteen minutes I was with them, they said something about their neck. I was like, “Do a quick turn for me. Turn your head left, right, up, and down.” I could see where there was stuck right in the cervical vertebra that was affecting was going on with her shoulder.
The prescription from the doctor was, “You got to see their shoulders.” I am focusing on the shoulder because that’s all I could get paid for. When they said something about their neck and it occurred to me to look at their neck and have them turn their head, I was like, “That’s your problem right there. We need to do some work on your neck.” I had two people in the waiting room for me and somebody on traction. I said something to this person I swore I would never say to anybody again, “I can help you right now but I don’t have time.”
For me, that was soul-crushing. I said to that person, “You’re going to have to come back again next week for your appointment and then we can work on that thing.” I thought to myself, “That felt so horrible to me.” That was the day I decided, “I got to get out of here.” It didn’t happen for a little while after that but from that day forward, I was committed to finding a way out of the systems that could serve my people. I’ve never had to say that to anybody since I left the system in 2008. I have never had to say again to somebody, “I don’t have time for you.”
I have a similar story. It’s not a moment in time but it was a progression of things for me. What I loved about my job as an OT working in the medical system was the patients. It was the conversations that I was having with people and a story for another day. I ended up working in a bunch of skilled nursing facilities with these old people who were amazing and had amazing stories to tell me about their lives but I was getting rushed on by my superiors, other colleagues, or the nurses. It bothered people because I wanted to talk to my clients or patients more.
It bothered me because it wasn’t supposed to necessarily be a part of my job. What I saw was those conversations were so important to their healing or getting better. I worked with a bunch of populations that were not supposed to necessarily get better but we did see improvement. Maybe it wasn’t in their shoulder range of motion but the sparkle behind their eye or they’d come to sessions and they’d smile right or engaged. I wasn’t told that was important but I knew, in my heart, it was important. I wanted to find out more about what that was.
When I started to see people on the side and my side hustle outside of my job, I could do those things. It took me a long time to do this. When I left the system, I knew I was frustrated. I wasn’t being creative and I wasn’t connecting with people but what I started to put the pieces together on is getting better isn’t just about your body. It’s also about personal development, developing yourself as a person, having conversations with people, and engaging in life. I knew there was so much more.
Back to we’re finally doing a show. When you and I got together, we had had these parallel paths but we didn’t know each other. We met in a tiny town where we live. I was new to the area. I was ready to hang my shingle and start doing what I did as a private pay holistic practitioner. I then met you and was like, “No way. There’s not enough room in this town for the two of us.”
There’s plenty of room.
That was the thing. That’s the abundance mindset. You probably didn’t feel like there was any competition with me but I felt like I had competition here. The two of us ended up going into business together to open up the town’s first wellness center. It was me and you in a big room. We made two walls. It looked like a little box and it had little windows in it. I had one window. You had the other window. We are right next to each other doing the same thing in this teeny tiny town and we had thriving practices. It was so much fun.
It was a lot of fun. There are one of the things we realized at that time as we were both doing manual work on people. We’re working on people’s bodies. A natural part of that occurs when you’re working with people is stuff comes up for folks. As we segue this idea of somatic coaching, how did that develop out of our pathways? We like to say that your body is your subconscious mind. We’re talking about any personal development that people aspire to or go through.
One of the things we have to help people understand is that your body is your subconscious mind. People think the subconscious is a deep, dark place, and what’s inside of your brain but it’s your body. A lot of people do come in and do personal development stuff, even manual work or massage work being a key factor of it. It’s cool because when you’re doing that manual work with people, stuff comes up. Be it memories, images, sensations, feelings, or whatever it is.
If you’re saying, “What is manual work,” it’s like putting your hands on a person and affecting their tissue or body with your hands.
It could be lots of different ways.
If you are a manual therapist, you know what we are talking about. If you’re not, it’s like massage and different techniques for the practitioner to affect the tissue, not just muscles, with your hands to hands-on practice.
Both of us are in the way of empowerment. One of the other key things that were interesting that Ani and I connected on very early in our practice together was we both had goals for our clients. We never wanted to have to see them for the thing they were coming to see us forever again.
We wanted them together better.
We want to be independent and empowered. “Let’s get to the root cause of what’s going on. Let’s not have a panacea here. We’re not putting Band-Aids on this thing.” We wanted to get to the root cause of what was happening to folks.
It is interesting in private practice because in the system, people would come with their prescription and they would only see you for 8 or 12 weeks, or whatever it was. They would go and then you’d see them again if they had another incident but in pay private practice, what would happen is people could come and like a massage, they might want to come back. That was a different paradigm. It started to shift things for me because I didn’t want people to have to come back over and over again for neck pain, back pain, or whatever it was that kept coming back for them.
I didn’t want them to have to keep coming back but they could also come to see me when they wanted. Some people loved us. They want to come back and see us. That shifted things in a therapeutic paradigm for us because then we had to figure out like, “What do we work on?” That meant helping you potentially to get better than you had been. It was different from the way the therapist works because you only go see a therapist when you have an incident and then you go see him for that.
We’re on that pathway of personal development. It’s not just about you being hurt and getting back to baseline. It’s about going from baseline further forward and developing people. When we’re working with people on the table and naturally things come up for folks, in a therapeutic paradigm, we would say, “Let’s talk about something else and come up with a solution for it.” In a coaching paradigm, you start to ask more questions about that. You learn to help people decode what’s coming up for them in that session. We started to get amazing results with people in terms of their growth trajectories.
People ask us where we learned somatic coaching. I like to say it’s not like we went somewhere to learn somatic coaching. We’re one of the OG pioneers who are somatic practitioners who added all of the different things that we’ve done in our professional background into this thing called somatic coaching. As we’re talking about, it’s so interesting to see all the different ways in which we didn’t know what coaching was back then.
We knew that people were coming to us. They wanted to get better and it wasn’t necessarily what we would do in the system but we had to find ways to serve our clients’ health because these are the people who are coming to see us. We started asking them more questions. It seemed like the reasonable thing to do. We started asking them, “Where do you want to go? How do you want to be?” We ask more coaching questions.
Coaching was still a pretty young profession back when we started doing this. You and I found out about coaching as a profession. Many years ago, we were looking at how to grow our businesses because in the holistic therapy space, it’s not a conversation that holistic practitioners have a whole lot about how to grow your business but you and I started to get interested in that because people started to ask us, “How do you do that as a practitioner? I want to be able to do that with my clients.”
We started to get interested because the results we were seeing with our clients were so profound. We wanted to teach more people how to be able to have such great results with their clients too. We started our first institute many years ago to help teach professionals to do the things that we were doing. We kept putting ourselves in alignment with all of these coaching principles. We didn’t know at first that that’s what we were doing.
The interesting thing is sweeping back again to the idea of, “How do we go from being hands-on practitioners to doing somatic coaching?” One of the interesting things that we discovered as we were integrating hands-on work with coaching work is that people are getting fantastic. Our clients are getting amazing results. Not only changing what’s happening for the reason they were coming to see us like, “My back feels better,” but, “My relationships are better. You won’t believe I’m earning more money.” It was tying it back to what we were doing.
Since we’re in the way of empowering and we are still playing our hands-on people, our patients thought it was us who was somehow magically transmitting something to them that they’re able to do. We wanted to parse ourselves away from that idea a little bit more as well. We’re like, “We’re doing something that empowers you. You are becoming the expert at this.” We made a commitment to start taking more hands-off work with people doing more somatic coaching, which means that the person then becomes their coach at that point.
They realize that the changes they’re making are coming from within them. It’s not something the practitioners are doing to them. They go, “I came up with that.” That’s how we started to see, “This is how we can better empower people when they realize that the power is in them.” We knew it as practitioners all the time. Our hands were on them. We knew that the power, magic, healing, and all that stuff was happening in them was the magic ingredient but they didn’t because our hands were on that. We started to take hands off and help people to see that that magic was in them because look, “No hands.”We can better empower people when they realize that the power really is in them. Click To Tweet
That allowed us to start seeing more clients with greater ease and less resistance. It was able to help us grow our business. Other practitioners are asking us, “How are you helping people do that?” Our patients go back to their doctors and say, “You won’t believe what happened. I went over there and saw Ani and Brian.” The doctors are calling us going, “What are you doing with them over there? Pain is way down. They are way happier. What’s going on over there?” One asked me, “What are you smoking over there?” I’m like, “We’re just doing our thing. We’re natural over here.” We started training other practitioners to do that as well.
Here’s the interesting thing. Once we did start to coach more and we understood that coaching was a profession and a growing profession at that, we started to put ourselves into the coaching fears. When we did, we were like, “We’re here too. We understand personal development like you. We know that the body is the key to magically helping people with all their personal development goals like you.”
Eventually, we’re like, “I don’t think anybody else understands that you can talk to the body. I don’t think anybody else is aware of the fact that the subconscious mind is the body.” We started to have this conversation where we were like, “We thought they knew and everybody got it but they didn’t.” That’s when we understood that this was an important mission and message to educate the personal development and professional development fields. The subconscious mind is the body. There’s so much more intelligence that a person can tap into when they use the body and somatic skills because otherwise, you’re ignoring a vastly miraculously important part of our human intelligence.There's so much more intelligence that you can tap into when you use the body. Otherwise, you're ignoring a vastly miraculously important part of our human intelligence. Click To Tweet
The last part of this story that we’re talking about here is you know that the body and subconscious mind because you’re here with us. Not everybody gets that. What we then had to realize is that there’s a system to doing this. To be perfectly transparent, early on, we were getting great results with people but we didn’t know why. We knew what we were doing in terms of how we were asking questions. We had to go back and ask ourselves, “What are we doing?”
We went back and looked at it. There’s a very clear system that presents itself. That clear system is what we teach at the Somatic Coaching Academy to our students. “How do you A, B, C, D walk through this process to help someone become aware, decode, modify, and reframe the information in their body to break through resistance and blocks, meet their personal development goals, overcome their personal development challenges, and create the life that they want to create?” It’s whether they’re dealing with physical health or pain issues, or they have relationship challenges, vitality challenges, and professional career challenges. All those challenges are born in subconscious patterns that we’re not aware of.
We are ridiculously excited to be bringing this show because we’re going to talk about so many cool topics. You’ve heard us talk about a bunch of stuff. Let’s popcorn out a few of the awesome topics that we are going to be talking about leaving the Western Medical system practice.
We’re going to be talking about generating vitality and energy within your energetic system.
We’re going to talk about Bioenergetics and Neuroscience.
We’re going to talk about the deep science of embodied and applied mindfulness.
We’re going to help you learn how to make more money in your coaching practice and teach you how to get better results. We’re going to talk about human behavior and how it starts with the sensation base and thoughts becoming things.
We are going to talk a lot about trauma-informed coaching, trauma-sensitive coaching, and how to delineate ourselves as professionals from other coaches and understand what happens in our physiology when a client that we’re working with has a history of trauma.
This show was dedicated not only to learning the most cutting-edge methodology in somatic coaching but also to helping you grow your business and live the life that you want to live. It’s about your professional goals, personal goals, and all of that. I’m so excited about that stuff we’re going to be doing. Thanks for joining us for our very first episode. We encourage you to go ahead and like it, follow it, and all of that because we’re going to be bringing you lots more episodes with all kinds of cool topics. We’ll see you next time.