Ep #09 The 3 Lanes Of Somatic Training

by | Dec 28, 2023 | SCA Podcast

SCAP 9 | Somatic Training

Each lane in somatic training is totally different and offers you different kinds of opportunities to work with clients. Choose your lane wisely so you’re happy with the outcome. In this episode, we discuss the three lanes of somatic training: Hands-On Somatic Training, Somatic Therapeutics, and Somatic Coaching. Discover the destinations these lanes lead to and the critical differences between each of them. Tune in now and discover where your passion lies in somatics!

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The 3 Lanes Of Somatic Training

I’m excited for episode nine here to be talking about the three lanes of somatic training because people talk to us all the time about the power of somatics. They’re like, “Somatics is so cool. I’ve had different kinds of somatic work in my life and I want to do this with people.” People feel called to somatic work. We always talk with people who feel the call, feel the pull, feel the desire to do somatic work. They don’t understand that there are different lanes of somatic training. They find us on the internet, but they don’t even know what they’re looking for sometimes. We’re going to flush that out in this episode so that you know better what lane you want to go in so you can do this powerful work with people.

Even assuming that someone knows that somatic means working with the body, we’re talking about these different lanes of working with people’s soma with their bodies. What I like about this conversation too is it allows people who feel like they are stuck in the first lane. It gives them an opportunity to expand into other lanes when they have permission and training to do that.

Both of us did that to a certain degree. We should probably talk about that first lane.

Let’s talk about the first lane. What is it?

Body working. The distinction with the first lane of somatics is that you put hands on with somebody. I’m going to say something funny here for a second because sometimes the somatic practitioner hovers their hands over the top of the body. Technically, you could have put your hands on. It’s something you do with your hands. You’re affecting a person’s energy system and/or tissue with your hands. It’s body working. It’s energy work.

It’s about massage therapists, Shiatsu practitioners, and Acupuncture to some degree, if you’re doing the needling. Also, Reiki practitioners.

Craniosacral therapist. That’s a good one. A bunch of people do that. Did we say myofascial release? All kinds of stuff.

It’s huge value, by the way. The hands-on somatic lane is so important and needed.

Sometimes I talk with people who are potential students and I ask them, “What kind of somatics do you want to do?” They don’t know. I describe these three lanes and they’re like, “I want to be a hands-on practitioner.” Know that for yourself. If you want to be a hands-on practitioner, we’re not the place to come study because we don’t do hands-on work. There are lots of different places that you can study.

To take a little bit of a sidetrack on this lane for a second and talk about it, there are some different ways you can do it. You can go into things like massage therapy or you could go into energy work. You can go into education that requires you to get a long certification, like a massage therapy certification. It takes a certain amount of time, maybe a year or something like that.

You can get these 1-day, 2-day, half-day, 4-day, or 1-week training that can help you develop even more skill and ability within the context. From an educational standpoint, there are a lot of different ways to approach this. There are a lot of different price points when you’re doing somatic bodywork. One distinction I do like to make with people is that oftentimes, and we both came from this background, when you’re doing those kinds of somatic body working education training programs, somatic training programs, they’re not teaching how to grow your business most of the time. When we talk with potential students and they say, “I want help to grow my business,” you are very likely, if you’re doing the hands-on lane, going to also need to invest in some coaching or consulting to grow your business as well.

We both have a lot of training and a lot of years under our hands if you will. We have been doing these practices for a long time. If you haven’t checked out one of our very first episodes on how we grew our own development through somatic coaching, you might want to check that out. We tell our story of how we moved from being hands-on manual practitioners into somatic coaches to learning somatic coaching skills.

This is something that we see with people who spend a lot of time working hands-on with their clients. They’re doing great hands-on work. I had a conversation with a massage therapist who was in training that I was doing on this topic exactly. I asked her, “When you’re doing massage therapy, how often does stuff come up on the table for people that you don’t know how to know how to deal with?”

She’s like, “All the time.” I said, “That’s a great perfect segue to go into learning some somatic coaching skills,” because something comes up for somebody. When something comes up for someone, that is the opportunity. The door is open, the window is open to actually help to heal the person, heal what the person’s got going on that’s associated with the exact reason that they’re coming to see the massage therapist.

Rather than coming back week after week, when that thing comes up and you can help someone to go deeper into that, it basically heals that causation of the reason the person’s coming into massage therapy. Massage therapy and hands-on work are so important to begin to start breaking down the layers of the defense mechanisms for stuff that’s going on within people’s physiology and to help them grow from.

It reminds me everybody should be a coach. Your neighborhood bartender should be a coach. Your neighborhood hairdresser should be a coach because these are people who hear about the stories of people’s lives. They hear about what people want to achieve and the problems that people are going through. Everybody should have coaching skills. I think massage therapists and manual practitioners and things like that should also have coaching skills for the reason you’re talking about. You should have somatic coaching skills.

You’re already working in the body with people and when you know how to use somatic coaching skills and you have somatic training around that, you can ask deeper and more relevant questions of a person because you are already used to navigating someone’s inner spaces with them. Anyway, I want to feed in that little bit right there. That first lane of somatic training is so critically important. It doesn’t have to be the end of your journey because there’s so much more that you can do. We’ve both seen this too. As manual therapists get older, their hands start to not work so well. You want a retirement plan or whatever.

SCAP 9 | Somatic Training

You want to grow your business because there’s a glass ceiling.

There certainly is a ceiling because you only have so many hours a day of how many people and so much energy to be able to perform it.

You can expand your business and your possibilities when you learn somatic coaching. I am a strong advocate for people who are somatic hands-on practitioners to get more somatic training in the lane of somatic coaching and not necessarily somatic therapeutics, which is the second lane we’re going to talk about. You might be like, “Why? I’m already in the therapeutic realm.” I’ll give you my take on that.

You can expand your business and your possibilities when you learn somatic coaching. Click To Tweet

Lane two is somatic therapeutics.

In order to talk about somatic therapeutics, I want to talk about lanes 2 and 3 at the same time. Lane 3 is somatic coaching and I think it’s easier to talk about when you do a little compare and contrast.

We’re going to put our blinker on back and forth between the lanes. As long as we know where the blinker is, we’ll know which lane we’re talking about.

We’re going back and forth here. When you’re in a somatic therapeutic or a somatic coaching session, when you’re in the middle of it, if you chunked out a little piece of each of those sessions, you might look at those videos and think, “They look similar.” They do. However, the beginning and the end of those sessions are very different. The beginning in a somatic coaching lane is what goals you want to achieve. What would you like to grow in your life?

You’re having those kinds of conversations to start a session or start a series of sessions with a person. Whereas in the somatic therapeutic lane, you’re probably having more of a conversation about what you’d like to heal. That’s the beginning of the session and how that’s different. I can speak from personal experience on this one because I’ve had a lot of somatic therapeutics.

The end of the session can look very different because you’re looking for action steps at the end of a somatic coaching session. You’re looking for what the person’s going to do and how they’re going to progress towards their goal. At the end of a somatic therapeutic session, they end the session and the session is done. I remember as a somatic coach being in a somatic therapeutic session, having a great session, and getting to the end being like, “Now what? You left me hanging.”

At the end of a somatic coaching session, you're really looking for action steps, for what the person's going to do and how they're going to progress towards their goal. Click To Tweet

I’m not dissing somatic therapeutics because it is awesome. It’s so great. It’s such powerful work but there is a distinction between the fact that you are doing healing for healing’s sake in a somatic therapeutic session and you’re doing the somatic work to help somebody to become or achieve or to have or to do something even greater in their life with somatic coaching.

Some of this comes back to the difference between coaching and therapy. Can you talk a little bit about that? What’s the fundamental difference between coaching and therapy?

I think in terms of the conversation it’s had in the coaching world around the difference, very oftentimes, people say that the difference between coaching and therapy is that therapists deal with emotions and coaches don’t necessarily get into emotional content. That’s not true or possible because coaches get into emotional content every day.

A big difference in that conversation between coaching and therapeutics is that coaches would work with somebody. You’re an everyday person who’s functioning well enough to get themselves dressed, get themselves up, and go to work, whereas a therapist is probably helping somebody who can’t get themselves to do their daily living kinds of things. They can’t hold a job. Maybe they have a bunch of addictive tendencies or things like that or they have diagnoses. I think all that is out there in the world theoretical, and people are musing in terms of the somatic training track that you choose.

I think one of the biggest things that people have to think about practically when it comes to the difference between somatic therapeutics and somatic coaching is what kind of clients are you going to be working with, and whether you can do that in your state the way that you want to. We could be talking about in terms of the therapeutic lane, a regulated profession kind of conversation.

To talk about what that means for a second, there are certain professions in certain states that are licensed professions. You have to have a license to be able to do that. It runs through the State Department of Education. When you’re thinking about what track you want to take for somatics, for your somatic training, you should think about what kind of work you want to be doing with what kind of clients at the end.

SCAP 9 | Somatic Training

A lot of the people who talk to us think they want to go into somatic therapeutics because they want to help people heal. When we talk to them, they want to be able to have the flexibility of doing work as a coach because coaching is not regulated. You can do work in different sectors. You can go to school. You can do it in conjunction with your consulting practice or your expert-based business. You can see clients without doctors’ stuff getting all mixed up because it’s an unregulated profession.

With that said, people are getting hip to that a little bit. At some point, it could be regulated, let’s just say, because anything that is making money in the world, someone will find some way to regulate. That’s one thing. The other thing is there are so many coaches out there now. Some of them have training and some of them don’t have training. The consumers of coaching services are getting a little more wise to ask how their coaches have been trained. “If I’m going to hire you, where did you get your training? Who did you train with?” Those sorts of things.

Even though it’s not regulated, consumers are still asking those kinds of questions. The idea that you could be a massage therapist, for instance, and have somatic training to do hands-on work and then start to wing coaching on the side, you are not going to get the type of results that someone who’s trained in somatic coaching will get.

Number two, if you were asked about why you are doing what you’re doing, you wouldn’t have an answer around that. Consumers are getting more wise in that. It’s important to have a reputable training program as a part of what you’ve done. A good reputable somatic coaching or somatic therapeutic training program will have processes that you learn. You’ll learn a process. You won’t just go in and learn theory and like, “The magic of how the body and mind are connected.”

I love that. I can spin off into the amazing body-mind physiology and somatic physiology. At the same time, you have all that information and not be able to turn it into something useful for somebody else. When you can take that information and hone it into a process, that’s when it becomes critical to be able to do. Even though coaching isn’t regulated and therapeutics is regulated, you have to have the vet and the cred behind you to be able to do this stuff well and ethically, in a no-harm way.

One of the things we see with prospective students is they have quite a bit of training in somatic therapeutics, but they don’t have the training in coaching and they don’t know how to translate it. They’ve already gotten so much training. They’re like, “I don’t want to have to go back and get another certification.” You didn’t learn yet the coaching methodology. If you think you want to become a coach, go for the somatic coaching lane because that way, you’re not going to have to then go get a coaching certification after you get a somatic therapeutic certification from your somatic training in that regard.

If you think you want to become a coach, go for the somatic coaching lane. Click To Tweet

One other little distinction I want to make between therapy and coaching, Ani, is we both come out of the therapeutic world. You were trained as an occupational therapist. I was trained as a physical therapist many decades ago. As a part of being a therapist, you would get a patient and I would get a patient that was somehow not able to live on their own. They weren’t able to walk. They weren’t able to feed themselves. They weren’t able to do this or that thing.

We would see them. When they were able to do that thing, they got discharged. It didn’t matter if they were able to do that thing well. It didn’t matter if they were able to do that thing sustainably, independently. It’s just all of a sudden, you get a marker and the insurance company said, “You did it. Goodbye. Bring in the next person who is having trouble getting back to baseline.”

A big thing around therapeutics is getting people back to baseline and after they’re at baseline, they go off on their own into some void. I would always think about, “Where do people go?” I see them in the parking lot of the grocery store later on and have to catch up with them. They’d say something like, “I’m still struggling. I wish I could come back and see you, but my insurance won’t pay for it because I’m able to go to work,” all this stuff.

This is where coaching goes from baseline to beyond. Coaching is about growth. It’s about growing beyond the baseline experience. It’s about experiencing life that is more fulfilling, more generous, more open, more freely expressed, and more everything. That’s where coaching goes. It’s beyond that therapeutic paradigm.

Both of those are important, I want to say. We’re not saying one is better than the other, but I think what Ani’s pointing out is that we have to know for you where your sweet spot is. Do you want to help people primarily get back to baseline or do you want to help people go beyond baseline into creating more growth and expansiveness in their life? That’s a big difference.

Please think about how you want to be working with clients when you’re done because the difference between the coaching world and the therapeutic world is very different in terms of that. For one thing, the investment in the somatic trainings that are in the somatic therapeutic lane are usually a little less than in the somatic coaching lane. Usually, the investment in a somatic coaching program is more than a somatic therapeutic.

One of the reasons is that somatic coaches tend to demand or could or can demand greater rates. We have students who are doing engagements from $100 to a few thousand dollars, $4,000 programs, and $10,000 programs. We have people who are closing multiple six-figure organizational deals. You have somatic coaching as a part of it. The trajectory of the amount of your ROI or your return on investment for how much you’re going to make back can tend to be even larger in the coaching lane.

Another thing about that is that traditionally, in the somatic therapeutic lane, the therapeutic world doesn’t talk a lot about business building, whereas traditionally, the coaching world does. Traditionally, you’re going to have more conversations about business, building your business, working with business people, and doing business in the coaching world, even if you don’t want to have anything to do with working with people in business.

Let’s say that you want to do life coaching, relationship coaching, health coaching, or something like that, you still need to know how to work and grow your business. There are more conversations about that typically in the somatic coaching lane, for certain at the Somatic Coaching Academy because we pride ourselves in our business building with our students.

When you are considering your level of somatic training, these are all the things that you want to take into consideration to make a decision that is going to feel fulfilling and growth-orienting for you.

Which one’s right for you in terms of somatic training? Is it hands-on somatic therapeutics or is it Somatic Coaching Academy? We hope that you choose Somatic Coaching Academy. If you’re interested in talking more to help you come to a decision about whether somatic coaching is right for you, have a call with our team. That’s why we’re here. For now, we will see you on the next episode.

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