This project emerged after spending a lot of time in somatic-embodiment spaces, some more therapeutic-leaning, some more movement-dance oriented. For the past several years I also engaged in a large amount of reading neuro + cognitive sciences.
I come from a family and community of euro-settlers, raised in southern California. Most of my friends and family were unfamiliar with somatics, mindful, or embodiment work at that time. Many felt what I was doing was not “real” therapy because it was not state-certified in the way that are talk therapists and counselors. Many of them felt that this work was all “woo” and did not actually have any effect.
Out of curiosity about my own experience, I began to study cognitive + neuro science. I was hungry to learn how scientific research related to what I was feeling and to the practices I was working with. How did mindful attention affect physiology? How does neuroplasticity work? How-why do I feel so different, so much better after practice? and so forth.
Too, I hoped that some of this science research might help my friends and family understand and accept somatics with more trustful arms. I hoped that more scientific research would validate my work in the eyes of my community.
Throughout this time I learned more and more in the realm of neuro and cognitive science. As I did so I began to realize that there was quite a bit of outdated and inaccurate science regularly being taught in somatic classes. I also found that when I talked with colleagues, there was a lack of knowledge about how to identify reliable science resources from less-reliable studies.
My own interest in science expanded to the extent that I decided to return to university to earn a second degree in STEM. Along the way, I felt moved to write this guide. I felt excited to share with my science-interested somatic colleagues, a few of the treasures I have learned about STEM along my way.
As a practitioner who did not have a science background I also knew, first hand, how nerve-racking it could be to talk about science in front of people. I was so afraid that I would not “have it right”, I had such imposter feelings. Thus, in this guide I also developed some practices for practitioners to work with some of these similar feelings.
In the end, this guide provides important information about what science is, what science is not, ways in which science is both wonderful and very fallible. It celebrates science while also not holding science as the pinnacle of knowledge systems. And, it provides exercises to both research and share about science from a centered, flexible, and grounded place.