Embodiment & Somatics

Integrating Our Mind and Body

What is Embodiment and Somatics

Somatic skills focus on developing the physical skills necessary to manage more effectively the physiological stress experienced during conflict situations.

Conflict is a common experience of our daily lives. 

Conflict situations often evoke a myriad of negative emotions such as fear, anger, distrust, sadness and jealousy.   These strong negative emotions are just as much physical as mental and are part of the Fight-or-Flight response.

Your breathing and heart rate rapidly increase. Your hands tremble as adrenaline shoots through your body. Your blood pressure rises. You sweat, becoming hot or cold and clammy.

Your primitive brain takes control, and you are definitely not at your best. Logic, reason, creativity and empathy are all sacrificed to adrenaline. Your ability to negotiate and improvise is lost until you can bring your physiology under control.

I’ve taught body awareness and self-regulation skills to hundreds of people – to enable them to operate effectively in high-pressure situations.

I can teach the same skills to you. With regular practice, you too can master these skills and take your performance to the next level.

Workshops, Seminars and Training

How to Be Calm in the Midst of the Storm

Body awareness skills take practice.

I have created, designed and developed several undergraduate and graduate university courses for the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, including

  • Somatic Skills for Conflict Resolvers
  • Beyond Fight-or-Flight: Skills for High Stress Conflicts
  • The Body and Conflict: Advanced Somatic Skills and Exploration of How Physiology and Consciousness Influence Conflict

This cutting-edge material addresses gaps in existing mediation training and presents innovative solutions to longstanding challenges.

We Live In Our Bodies

All My Work Includes an Embodiment Component

Conflict is a common experience of our daily lives.

The Fight-or-Flight Response is preparation for running and escaping or fighting and surviving.

The problem is that the Fight-or-Flight response limits you to fighting or fleeing.  There are no shades of gray and no creative thinking about solutions to the conflict. No longer are you able to see the whole picture.

The body awareness and self-regulation skills I teach will help you overcome the flight or fight physiology and perform to your potential by focusing your breath, posture, and vision.

Listen to a podcast where I discuss embodiment
Somatic, Somatic skills, physiological stress, conflict situations, myriad of negative emotions, fear, anger, distrust, sadness, jealousy, Fight-or-Flight
Somatic, Somatic skills, physiological stress, conflict situations, myriad of negative emotions, fear, anger, distrust, sadness, jealousy, Fight-or-Flight
A Long History

My Exploration of Somatics Has Deep Roots

Paul Linden (pic at left), my primary embodiment teacher,  holds a Ph.D. in Physical Education from Ohio State University and is a sixth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido.

Paul is a master somatic teacher who is sought after for his innovative approaches to addressing trauma and conflict.  

His approach is renowned for integrating the scientific method with Eastern Embodiment practices informed by his lifelong training in the martial arts.

The Start of Martial Arts Training

I started my foray into martial arts with Kempo karate in high school. It was also in high school where I took my first mediation training courses. This combined for me the practices of self-regulation and peacemaking through both the mind and body.

Studied with Paul Linden

I have been studying somatics/embodiment with my teacher and mentor Dr. Paul Linden for over twenty years and I am his senior student in peacemaking. I started studying with Paul in 1998 and spent 4 years with him learning Aikido and somatics. I continue to learn from him to this day.

Master’s Research

As a result of my Master’s research, I developed a course entitled Somatic Skills for Conflict Resolvers that focuses on developing physical skills that enable conflict resolvers to manage more effectively the physiological stresses experienced by the resolver during conflict interventions.

Awarded Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Purple Belt

I started BJJ in 2006 after earning my black belt in Aikido. I learned so much from Aikido and I wanted to test my skill in another art. Boy, did I learn a lot! Aikido and BJJ are very different disciplines - and pushed my mind and body in distinct ways.

Teaching and Training on Somatics

I teach undergraduate and Master’s courses on Somatics in Conflict, and present workshops nationally and internationally that teach problem solvers how to improve their performance by learning to better manage the stress of conflict situations through the development of somatic (body) skills focused on breath, posture, and vision and the cultivation of self-awareness.

Completed EVRYMAN Foundations Training in 2019

I, along with 30 other men, were immersed in a 8-month deep dive into emotional leadership through Men’s Work. I faced fears and really challenged myself to - in ways I seldom ever had. I left with a deep understanding of how emotions, embodiment and trauma show up in our everyday lives.

Practicing Embodiment in Conflict

Martial Arts Training

After receiving my black belt in Aikido, I wanted to test myself and deepen my knowledge of the martial arts.

Since learning Aikido had been so impactful as an embodied practice of peacemaking, I wanted to include another perspective.

Studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. There are no ‘pity’ ranks in BJJ. Either you can do it, or you can’t. No cutting corners and no easy way out. You are accountable for your actions, your failures and your successes.  You have to be willing to ‘invest in loss.’ 

Studying BJJ helped me add another dimension to my coaching and conflict resolution practice. It exposed me to a level of aggression and fear that I hadn’t experienced before. It laid bare my flaws and pressure tested my skills. It deepens my understanding of the Fight-or-Flight response through personal experience.

I was exceedingly proud when I earned my purple belt in BJJ in early 2018.  On average, only 18% of those who start training in BJJ make it to purple belt.

Somatic, Somatic skills, physiological stress, conflict situations, myriad of negative emotions, fear, anger, distrust, sadness, jealousy, Fight-or-Flight
Another Place for Embodiment Skills

EVRYMAN Foundations Training

 EVRYMAN’s core work is to “…connect Men more deeply to their Loved Ones, their life’s work and themselves.”

I am an EVRYMAN facilitator and leader.

In going through the Foundations training, I became aware of old patterns, how they held me back and how to release them. I tested myself and my courage to be vulnerable, honest and open. I pushed hard to go deep and not take the easy way out. 

I faced fears and really challenged myself – in ways I seldom ever had. I feel stronger, more capable and left with a rich and nuanced understanding of emotion – because of this training.  

I bring this experience to my embodiment and coaching work.

Help to Control and Coordinate Your Mind and Body

Client Testimonials

Contact Me

Interested in working with me? Have a question?
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With Stephen