Ep #15 Somatic Coach Training Or Somatic Therapy Training: Which One Should You Take?

by | Feb 8, 2024 | SCA Podcast

SCAP – DFY | Somatic Coach

Are somatic coach training and somatic therapy training one and the same? There is a subtle difference between the two, and it makes a huge difference in which one you should look into. Somatic coaching is about reaching specific goals and doing better in different parts of your life. On the other hand, somatic therapy is more about fixing specific issues and getting back to a normal level of functioning. In this episode, Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos help you figure out which one might be better for you by explaining the main focus of each. They also discuss how these practices can fit into existing jobs, how long these programs might take, and how much money you might need to invest. Tune in and learn which somatic training pathway is the right one for you!

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Somatic Coach Training Or Somatic Therapy Training: Which One Should You Take?

I’m excited for episode fifteen. We’re going to be talking about somatic coaching and somatic therapy training. People talk about this all the time on the calls with our team because a lot of people haven’t made the distinction yet about whether or not they want to study somatic coaching or somatic therapy. They’re not sure if they want to go into somatic coach training or somatic therapy training. They have a lot of questions. I give us a pat on the back. One of the things I like about our team is that we have these conversations. We can help people to make a distinction because there are distinctions and you might not know what’s right for you. There are a lot of questions that people ask that we’re going to go through in this episode.

We’ve talked about this in other episodes but maybe we can revisit and encapsulate this idea, the quick difference between coaching and therapy. When we talk about somatic coaching, somatic coach training, or somatic therapy training, what is the difference between those two things?

It gets confused out there in the coaching space because in general, the coaching space does not account for the fact that alternative healthcare, if we could say alternative solutions, doesn’t account for that when they’re talking about therapeutics, which is super fascinating. We know that the majority of people, if not using alternative health as their primary, are using alternative medicine in some capacity to help their health and wellness. It’s a very important part of this conversation about coaching versus therapy that in the coaching world is not a part of the conversation. I’m very happy that we’re having it here because it’s important. Do you want to talk a little bit about how it’s usually looked at?

There are a couple of different ways you can look at this. It’s never like a stark dividing line.

It’s not black and white. It’s a very green line and it’s getting more rainbow-colored.

One of the things coming from a background as a therapist and doing coaching that I’ve noticed, like a flag for what a difference might be, is when someone is working with a therapist in therapy, lots of times the goal is to help or treat the primary thing. In other words, to treat anxiety, depression, pain, weakness, lack of endurance, or whatever the prevalent patient problem is. That’s why you would go to see a therapist because there’s a problem. Coaching is about helping someone get a different outcome in their life and create a different life. I’m not saying the therapists don’t do that but the focus is a little bit different because coaches set goals to achieve something different in their lives. Oftentimes on the way there, people experience resistance.

In somatic therapy, the goal is to help treat the primary thing. Somatic coaching is more about helping someone get a different outcome in their life. Click To Tweet

Primarily, the intention is to achieve something.

 The resistance that people end up running into on the way to achieving the thing is things like anxiety, depression, pain, or fatigue. Those are the stuff that people go through as a primary reason to see a therapist. There’s confusion around somatic coaches and somatic therapists helping people with anxiety, depression, weakness, fatigue, pain, and those sorts of things. What is the difference? The difference is that coaches deal with that stuff on the way to accomplishing a new result in somebody’s life and not as an end all be all. That’s one distinction that for me pops out.

If this is the baseline functioning for people in the middle, that a therapist works from, there’s a problem with getting people back to baseline, and then coaches work from baseline to optimal performance, that’s a general way to think about it. Inherent in that thinking is the body-mind split. We think about it differently because here at the Somatic Coaching Academy, we approach a human being as if the body-mind split never happened.

SCAP – DFY | Somatic Coach

If we’re going to do that, you can’t divide it up. You can’t divide up the body and the mind, and you can’t divide up that timeline. To make it practical here, when you’re in a therapeutic relationship, based on this example that I’m giving here about problems moving back to baseline, one of the conversations and things that people think about and work with sometimes is, “Do you know what I’ve always wanted? I always wanted this or that thing.”

Those kinds of things come up about optimal life, dreams, and vision, “Where I’d love to go.” That comes up in that therapeutic relationship sometimes. On the flip side, with the coaches to optimal, resistance comes up that might be seen in that therapeutic realm because there are things that we need to complete and look at within ourselves that have happened in the past or ways that patterns of behavior. When we look at them, we can go even farther than we could have gone if we hadn’t. We look at this whole thing very differently from that perspective as well.

I love what you said about the body-mind split. We talk about it for hundreds of years. We’ve been under this illusion that the body-mind was taken apart some time back in Descartes’s World. We know that never happened.

It’s a lie.

We’re are a body-mind or however you want to conceptualize or talk about that. Since people have been trying to put that split that never happened back together again, in their minds, the body-mind is in the middle. Imagine drawing a horizontal line like a scale almost. In the middle of that scale is the holistic body-mind, where you have both holistic body-mind. It’s whole and equal. You almost can think about tai chi or maybe a symbol there in the middle.

If you go farther out from that middle point on one end, you’ve got the mind and a part on the other end, you’ve got the body. It makes sense if you can split it apart and put way on the downside. We need to do a whole other episode on mind. Here’s a quick segue. Mind and brain are not the same thing. Mind and psychology are not the same thing, at least not the way we look at it.

We’re looking at it more like intelligence.

A lot of people substitute the mind for thinking. That gives us a limited capacity to work with the mind when we only think it is associated with thought.

Also, what we’re capable of as humans.

Let’s shelf that for a future episode. The way that people thought about this was with a mind on one end of the scale, a teeter-totter, and a body on the other end, a teeter-totter. For a long time, it was parsed out. Psychotherapists work with the mind, thoughts, psychology, cognitive behavioral change, and those types of things. On the other end of the scale, you had body-oriented people that worked with the body. For a long time, you had psychologists that not work with the body. You had rehabilitation professionals, bodyworkers, OTs, PTs, massage therapists, personal trainers, and yoga professionals who did not work with the mind in different camps.

As we’ve been putting the body-mind back together, which never happened in the first place with the illusion for over the last decades, people are thinking, “How do I start integrating these things?” An interesting movement was made. Probably back in the ‘70s, psychotherapists started it, including more somatic practices in their work because they noticed they were getting better results with clients when they included body-centered practices with their psychologically cognitively oriented practices. Psychotherapists found a way to start moving to the middle of that balance point by including body stuff into therapeutics.

I would argue that they did that before the vice versa.

Body-oriented professionals felt comfortable, skilled, and trained.

They don’t feel trained and they say to themselves, “I should go back for psychotherapy but I don’t want to be a psychotherapist.” Now, they start to look at coaching.

It’s the pathway for body-oriented therapists like physical therapists. There’s a lot of research on somatic therapy training for rehabilitation professionals. It’s more effective to get somatic coach training if you’re a physical rehabilitation professional because you have to come from this body-oriented side.

It's more effective to get somatic coach training if you’re a physical rehabilitation professional. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about the new guy on the block because approximately many years ago, this new guy showed up like, “I’m here too. I’m a coach.” Where does coaching fit into that mind and body thing? We have a webinar on resource library that we go into a little bit more of this called Coaching Is Medicine. If you don’t have your library card on our website, you can go to our website, get your library card, go into the library, go to the coaching subcategory, and you’ll find Coaching Is Medicine. We talk about this concept.

It’s fascinating because coaches bring the spirit in a new and exciting way to this conversation. Coaches are talking about your values and what you aspire to, and align with your true nature of who you are. They’ve been trying to put language around this idea that we could categorize as relatively spiritual in nature, for example, our values like, “What is it? Was I born with this? Was it nature versus nurture? I don’t know but I have these things I care about.” We could call that spiritual in nature. However, coaches have been trained from an intellectual, not a body-mind perspective.

They still haven’t, as a profession, brought the holistic nature of what they started into form because coaches are embracing the spiritual nature of a person. That’s what’s happening, even if they’re not talking about it. The intellectual nature of what’s going on with the person when we also marry the body nature of what’s going on with the person, which is one of the reasons why so many of our students tell us that this stuff feels like the missing piece. In that sentence says something was missing.

That something is either body, mind, or spirit. One of the reasons why people love taking somatic coach training as opposed to contrasting it with somatic therapy training is because there is that missing piece of putting the body, mind, and spirit back in a relationship with each other. That is exciting. When you’re not going to go back to school to become a manual therapist, a psychotherapist, and a somatic therapist or coach, and spend your entire life studying, you can do that at least from the Somatic Coaching Academy philosophy when you study somatic coaching.

 All of that is important to consider. We want to be open to saying that there are so many great training programs out there, whether there are somatic coach training programs or somatic therapy training programs. We’re not debating one’s better than the other or anything like that. We’re saying what’s right for you. How do you determine what is right for you?

We have students who’ve studied multiple things with us or go on to study multiple things, “What’s right for you now?” People ask a bunch of questions when it comes to this topic. Do you have some questions for us to talk about that people ask?

Some of those questions are, “How do I become a somatic therapist or coach?”

First of all, you want to make sure you’re in the right training program. That seems obvious but it’s not. I say that because when you look at the websites for some somatic coach training programs, you’re not going to see whether or not they’re coach or therapeutic-based. When you look at some somatic therapeutic programs, maybe because they’ve been around longer, they won’t tell you that they’re somatic therapeutic. You don’t know because they’re not saying it. Sometimes you have to ask.

I’ve been in conversations with some of our students and prospective students as they’re trying to figure this out for themselves. They’ll say, “I’m on this website. I can’t tell.” Please, ask. That’s what to do. As you’re looking at the website, you can probably guess, although don’t guess but ask, by the backgrounds of the people who created the curriculum. If they’re not coaches, then you’ll probably get a flavor that the other way to tell is, “Are they talking about more of a healing thing or an achievement thing,” to make it easy as you’re trying to decipher. Please ask because you might not know unless you ask.

Reiterate. When you’re thinking about for yourself what you need, the idea is do you need to add in that body, mind, or spirit piece? If you’re strong already in the psychological and cognitively oriented things, you probably need to find a place that can add in some good body-oriented stuff. If you are body-oriented, then you need to find some places that build in a little bit more of the mind-cognitively oriented stuff. If you need to build in that spirit, that’s what you’re looking for as well. Here at the Somatic Coaching Academy, I’d like to say that we fill a lot of those buckets with our somatic practices training, course centering, somatic tools, cross-mapping, and the level two sensation-based motivation coaching training program. We’re filling in all of those pieces.

Our tagline is, “Complete human intelligence.” That speaks to the completeness and then also says that we do get a number of students who have studied something. They are coaches and bodyworkers who already have somatic practices under their belt. They are already something. One of the cool things that our students always say to us is, “Even though maybe I’ve studied something like this before, it hasn’t been exactly this thing.” All of the things that we’re teaching are proprietary, you have to remember. Unless you’ve studied with us, you’ve never studied exactly what we’re teaching. Even, for example, if you’re a proficient yoga and tai chi instructor and you take course centering, you are going to learn something you’ve never learned before. What else are people asking about?

Are Reiki and somatic therapy the same thing?

Reiki is an energy medicine technique. Some people might debate about whether or not that was a somatic technique at all. I would say it’s a somatic technique. People could debate it because it’s an energy medicine. I’m a Reiki master. I’m saying that because we have a lot of credentials and sometimes people are like, “What do you know about that?” I’ve studied that.

We categorized that as a somatic practice here at the Somatic Coaching Academy. Was that where we would lump that in? That might be debatable.

I don’t think so because the somatic practices are something that I’m doing myself or with you, whereas Reiki is something I’m doing to you. In general, I’m a Reiki practitioner. It would probably fall into a manual somatic technique if I were to say that. This doesn’t happen very often but sometimes people will tell our team, “I’m considering Reiki, somatic coaching, or something like that.”

Reiki is something that you can get in there and do very quickly. As soon as you start to learn it, you can do it with people. It’s a hands-on thing. It’s very different professionally. It’s a fantastic way to get your feet wet in energy medicine. If you think that’s cool and you want to go on, then learning the somatic practices, the somatic tools, and ultimately somatic coaching could be cool.

If I understand what you’re saying correctly and hearing accurately, what you’re saying is that Reiki is something we’re doing to someone else or ourselves, I suppose.

You can do Reiki with yourself. Somatic coaching is going to have those questions we ask people so that we’re helping them to move into, “What do you want to achieve? What do you aspire to? What do you want to do with this?” Reiki doesn’t necessarily doesn’t do that. If you wanted to add somatic coaching, if you’re a Reiki practitioner, that would be super cool because then a person could come in, you do some reiki with them, and it changes their state.

Maybe that’s what you were saying about the somatic practices because it does change a person’s state. It changes how they feel. You can ask somebody from this place, “How would you like to approach a situation?” Those questions are coaching questions. We highly encourage anybody who’s a manual practitioner, if anybody’s asking you for advice or how they should approach their life or you’re getting in conversation with people, go get your somatic coaching certification because you are going to do even better work with people.

If you’re a manual practitioner, go get your somatic coaching certification because you're going to do even better work with people. Click To Tweet

I have a popular one for you here. How long is somatic therapy or somatic coach training?

That greatly depends. Each program is different. In my not-so-humble biased opinion, we like to say that it takes nine months to make a human being. Some people want to do something quick and dirty, get in there and get out. It’s going to take a little bit of time if you want to change who you are within the context of your certification programs. We’ve seen this time and time again with our students, and I stick to it.

The person who you are is going to greatly impact the results you get with your clients. It is worth nine months or so to put the time in. There’s going to be a greater financial investment as well. The ROI that you’re going to get in your life, money, health, and relationships from taking that time to become a different human being is so well worth it. I understand that some people want to do it fast but the way to do it best is to take time. The reality is it depends. Every training program is different.

As we’ve matured as professionals, I remember when we first got into this game many years ago in terms of starting to invest or make decisions to invest in our training development and all those kinds of things, initially, I have to admit that I was making those decisions based on the time commitment and money. I was not making those decisions based on the return of value I could get from it.

It’s a whole different level of maturity and decision-making. I would encourage if you want to get better results in your life to make decisions about any program you’re going to do based on the results you’re going to get from taking the program, not on the front-end investment of it. You could make less investment and spend a quarter of the money that might be in a more immersive program. If you don’t get anything out of it, then you’ve tossed that money away.

SCAP – DFY | Somatic Coach

I love that you brought that up so much because the one way to approach it is very transactional. This could be transactional work, depending on how you want to approach it and if you’re going to take a weekend course or something like that. To change who you are, transform your life as you transform other people’s lives, transform your business, how you do business, feels to do a business, and how that business impacts your family and finances, that is not transactional.

The way we think about making the decision to get into these things, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I being transactional here?” On the other end of a decision like this, we’re deciding something like this and we might be thinking, “I don’t want to spend $10,000. I don’t have $10,000.” That is not an accurate way to be thinking about a transformational choice like this. We’re thinking about it in alignment with the transaction. We have to be thinking about it when we’re making a choice like this from a transformational point of view.

For example, if I desire that all the resources are going to show up for me, we have to think about it in terms of, “There is unlimited abundance. Where is it? I must have the time and money capability if I want this for myself and business.” Look at the whole holistic nature of the decision we’re making. How it could impact our health, business, wealth, family, relationships, and all of that stuff? “How it can impact everything in my life?” That’s not transactional. That’s transformational. We have to come from it making the decision from a different decision-making place.

Our team can help you do that. If you are interested in finding out what it feels like to be able to make a decision like that, come with an open mind to have a conversation with our team. There’s no pressure. We are not going to push you but you’ll have an opportunity to have a transformational conversation with us. Not necessarily a transactional conversation with us, although we can have those conversations too, “How much does it cost? How long is it? How much time do I need? What does this look like? Where’s the retreat? Is it virtual or online?” Those are transactional questions. Our team loves to have transformational conversations with you. To experience that with our team is worth the time of sitting down.

Whether you’re investigating a somatic coach training program or a somatic therapy training program, the idea is what kind of person will you be after you complete the training? That’s an important way to think about it. If you’re coming at this place from us wrapping it back, body, mind, and spirit, that’s how the body, mind, and spirit would ask that question. He would say, “How can I grow in all parts of my life, not just one part of my life? It’s not just about getting the letters behind my name or caring that I have the letters behind my name when I’m done.” It’s a different person in that regard.”

It’s not just about the tool. It’s about the creation. You are a part of the creation. It’s not just about the tool that I’m going to do with somebody or do on somebody. It’s about the creation of who I’m becoming. I love that you brought that up. Thank you so much.

The other thing that I like to think about, “Should I choose a somatic coach training program or somatic therapy training program,” is how quickly will you be able to implement and get a return on what you’re learning. Some programs are like, “You got to go through two years of training before you can even do this thing with a client and get any type of compensation for it.” We don’t believe that’s the best way to move forward.

I had that happen. A prospective student was saying, “Another program I’m looking at was a somatic therapy training program.” After they spent $10,000 in 2 years, they couldn’t even do it after they were done. It was wild. That’s a great tip.

This goes back to that question, “What kind of person will I be on the back end of this? What is the outcome of what I’m investing in? It’s not what the investment cost but the outcome of my investment.” If you can very quickly start applying what you’re learning immediately, start gaining some revenue back, and start changing your life right away, that’s worth everything.

That’s baked into our programs because people start integrating the work better and differently. Part of helping our students to become more confident in what they’re doing is this integration piece that you’re talking about.

There are all those other things that we would look at, which we’ve talked about a lot too. How much business support is a part of the program? “Should I choose a coach training or therapy training?” How much are you going to get a certificate? Have you been certified in something? It might be even very highly qualified. It might be you’ve done four years of it and then you’re out on your own. You’re like, “What do I do with this?”

To piggyback on that thought, if there is business training, check out if it’s online business training, like you’re going to be an online business because a lot of people who are graduating from somatic therapy training and somatic coach training are going to see people in person and online but not in an online business way. A lot of that business training is online business training. Ninety-five percent of our graduates and students are not running online businesses. They’re doing this live with people. You need a different kind of sales training.

Can we clarify online business? Some people think online businesses work virtually with people.

It means you’re doing a Zoom meeting and that’s not what I’m talking about.

What we’re talking about is how you are marketing and having conversations with your clients about enrolling and that kind of stuff.

It’s like funnels and landing pages.

Flags, bells, alerts.

Software and all of those things if you’re talking about funnels.

Nurture sequences and trip wires.

That’s an online business. I do my work in a Zoom meeting virtually. I have an online business. It’s a different way of doing business. The reason we’re passionate about this is it’s a big reason why people like us who work with people don’t succeed in business because we’re trying to learn a business structure specifically in terms of how we market our businesses that do not work for practitioners like us. It pains me. It hurts. Many people are learning their great strategies. They don’t work for people like us. That’s what they’re taught and then they think something’s wrong with them. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not the right strategy for a person who runs a transformational business like you. It’s not you.

A big reason why people like us don't succeed in business is because we're trying to learn a business structure that doesn’t work for practitioners like us. Click To Tweet

Maybe we can bullet-point a couple of things as we start to summarize our update to this episode. When you’re choosing between somatic coach training and somatic therapy training, “What am I supposed to do,” the idea is the first topic we talked about is, “Are you interested in helping someone work on the issue itself or grow and create something new in their life and understand how to work with that issue along the way when it gets in the way of creating something new?” That’s one basic way to look at it.

If you’re a growth junkie, you’re a coach.

The other one is what you need in your experience to round out the whole body, mind, and spirit stuff? Are you already a body-oriented practitioner who needs to understand how to add ways to help people navigate their subconscious change process? Are you good at that and you need to build in things that help regulate and stabilize someone’s nervous system from a bottom-up approach? Understand, “Which one of those do I need?” That’s going to help you figure that out.

Do you want a program that puts that all together for you?

Do you want all those components in there? Finally, how much business support is associated with it? How quickly can you turn around and use the strategies you’re learning immediately in real client situations to get your ROI cooking?

I loved this episode, Brian. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me.

Thank you, Ani.

I know people are going to love it. Make sure you check out the next episode and find out who’s going to be sitting in these seats for you. Until then. We’ll see you. Have a great day. Bye.


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