Insight Conference
Johan Planefeldt, B.A.
5:05pm - 5:35pm
Track 3: Albrecht-Kossel Lecture room (Charité)


Somatics & Psychedelics: How to use Body Awareness to Heal Trauma and Integrate and Unfold Intense Experiences

This presentation will introduce the great potential that many of the somatic practices carry and how they could be implemented in conjunction with the psychedelic experience.

Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes the internal physical perception and experience. It is based on interoception, our ability to feel our body from within, or as author and trauma specialist Bessel van der Kolk describes it: “It is awareness of subtle sensory body based feelings – the greater the awareness, the greater the potential to control our lives.”

Recent somatic trauma therapies, like Somatic Experiencing by Peter Levine or in Polyvagal theory by Stephen Porges, have opened up to a paradigm shift when it comes to understanding the body-mind complex and how we can support the nervous system to be regulated in order to avoid overwhelm (trauma) and to heal and re-pattern traumatic reactions.

As psychedelics open up for an increased ability of body awareness, a potential hyper activation of the nervous system as well as bringing up subconscious material to the surface, the understanding of the somatic approach could be crucial for directing a strong experience towards something healing rather than potentially re-traumatizing.

This talk will explore Peter Levine’s model of how trauma is rooted in the body and present Stephen Porges’ view of how the nervous system gets dysregulated by traumatic experiences. It will also look at the practice of body scan meditation and its ability to train up your interoception as well as authentic movement which teaches you how to allow the body to unfold and complete movements that were blocked or paralyzed by the freeze state. The talk will in the end present some ideas of how these tools could be implemented for both the preparation, the onset and the integration of the psychedelic experience.


Somatic Educator and Filmmaker

Johan Planefeldt, B.A.

VANI Studio
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