Dr Jim Matto-Shepard
When we practice conscious embodiment, we develop a base for transformation and a fascination toward what is possible
— Wendy Palmer

Somatic Psychology

Somatic psychology is based on the understanding that talking about experience is not enough to create change.  We must experience ourselves in an embodied way.  

Whether we realize it or not, the ways that we act, the issues that we have and the symptoms that make our lives less satisfying are all based on interactions of body, mind and emotions.  When we have been neglected, shamed or traumatized as a child, our thoughts, emotions and physical structures work in harmony to create ways to help us survive effectively, yet these very ways can lead to future problems.  For example, when we are met with disdain for expressing anger, our solar plexus may constrict the breath, restricting our emotional vitality.  Simultaneously, we might say critical things to ourselves to support the solar plexus holding.  

When an experience of support and acceptance is registered in the mind, body and emotions, we more easily face the truth of who we are and begin to risk change.  We move from being stuck into an experience of more freedom — accepting the things that can’t be changed, and understanding what we can do to transform those things that are possible to change.  With more freedom, we can work actively and directly to reweave psychological structures. 

I employ a variety of techniques for involving a whole body experience in psychotherapy.  Each begins with embodied acceptance and connection, and moves toward actively taking control of your life. 

One important therapeutic modality I use is Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy™ (AEDP).  AEDP uses interactive regulation to recover emotional expression.  

In addition I am trained in Generative Somatics which combines a psychological discourse and embodied learning with hands on body work to help experience deep resource and unwind body armoring.


Generative Somatics — Staci Haines 

Strozzi Institute — Embodied Leadership 

Transformative Dance with Zuza Engler 

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy 

Additional Sonoma County Somatic Psychology Resources:

Body Tales/ Authentic Movement with Lysa Castro 

Lomi Clinic — low cost somatic therapy and training


Practice Classes

Psychological development is made possible through practices that integrate the mind and body in relationship to others. The main practices that I have personally cultivated (in addition to psychotherapy) are meditation, mindful movement / conscious dance, earth-based ritual, relationship as path and Alchemical Art. 

I offer opportunities for practice that integrate my psychological training with my experience in these modalities. These low cost classes and workshops utilize mindfulness, embodiment, ritual and relationship practices, and in some cases, art as well. They are designed to build community, encourage playfulness, foster relaxation and increase awareness. 

I am a certified Soul Motion (conscious dance) teacher. (www.SoulMotion.com)

The schedule and design of these classes and workshops is always changing. For more information go here