B4: Sustaining Ourselves and Supporting Others: Somatic and Embodied Approaches to Healing

Area of Focus: Brain Science and Trauma-Informed Approaches
Content Level: Learner

Science is catching up with wisdom. For thousands of years, humans have recognized the power of somatic and embodied (SE) practices to support individual and collective well-being. And in recent years, advances in neuroscience have allowed us to better understand the neurobiology behind the healing and resilience-building that body-based approaches can offer.

In this session, we will go beyond the brain and explore why the entire nervous system and body are important to consider when developing a program or services and when developing an organizational culture that is trauma-informed and healing-centered. Facilitators and participants will build a shared understanding of stress and trauma, as well as key components and functions of the nervous system. We will also examine models, such as the polyvagal theory, to help understand the connection between our bodies and mental/emotional health.

Participants will discuss foundational SE practices, and the session will offer a space to practice with some of these simple strategies. Participants will also reflect on which embodied practices might be most supportive to their own well-being at work, as well as what approaches can best contribute to workforce wellbeing in their teams and organizations.

Additionally, facilitators will engage in discussion around the connections between SE approaches and anti-oppression work. Specifically, this conversation will center around how mind-body practices can help uproot and unlearn unconscious biases and how embodiment is a strategy for sustainability in equity, diversity, and inclusion and antiracism work.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore foundational theories, research, and practices related to whole-body approaches to healing trauma
  • Recognize our own strengths, preferences, and opportunities for using SE strategies to promote well-being in the workplace
  • Practice with simple SE skills and exercises, identifying how they can benefit ourselves, our teams, and individuals we serve
  • Identify connections between SE approaches and antiracism


Kelly Martin
Director of Practice Excellence
Social Current

Karen Johnson
Senior Director of Change in Mind
Social Current

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