Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP)
Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP) was developed by Dr Raja Selvam (pictured), who among other things, is one of Dr Peter Levine’s senior faculty trainers in Somatic Experiencing.
It’s a comprehensive approach to embodiment, and particularly the embodiment of emotions and feelings, based on Western and Eastern psychology and developed to increase the effectiveness of psychological work. Dr Selvam insists ISP should be used as a compliment to another more in depth therapeutic approach such as SE. However, I’ve found myself using the techniques a lot in my SE sessions, and increasingly adhering to its strategic framework due to so many cases coming my way where there is a lot of disembodied emotion.
What does ISP involve?
ISP can be used in a variety of different ways, as a way to encourage the expansion and deepening of emotional experience. As with a typical SE session, there will be a mix of talking and practice, with the emphasis on the felt experience. We work together to support the body to open and contain emotions and feelings, especially the ones that have been most denied or defended against, so as to release blockages and build capacity. We use touch, self-touch, gentle movement and awareness to facilitate the process.
I have found the ISP tools to be very effective and powerful, and the orientation towards emotion has been especially helpful for me as a trauma therapist. Fundamentally, I’m finding that if I approach the person in front of me as an emotional human being who needs support opening more into different uncomfortable emotional landscapes so as to live a more full life, rather than a traumatised person who needs help healing the trauma, then it seems to reap the best rewards.
For more information on ISP and Dr Selvam's amazing work, take a look at his website: http://integralsomaticpsychology.com/