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The Somatics Institute was created to contribute to the developing field of Somatics.

The work you will find on these pages is the result of over 25 years of clinical research by somatic practitioner and educator, Matthew van der Giessen. The Institute continues the work of Somatics theorists such as Thomas Hanna, Don Hanlon Johnson and Elizabeth Benke.

Matthew has developed his understanding of Somatics principles in over 20,000 clinical sessions, numerous developmental workshops and classes with a wide range of somatic practitioners, which included the use of Somatics principles as the core instructional paradigm of a 2 year, 2500 hour Massage program.

Applied Somatics
The fundamental principles that define the somatics paradigm - sensory based learning and the organization of movement through patterns - enhance traditional approaches to embodied practice, such as yoga or massage, with a wellspring of knowledge that is drawn from a wide variety of approaches to experiential learning.

Personal and Professional Development
Whether you have a personal or professional interest in Applied Somatics we believe that an integrated practice begins by applying the principles of healing in one's own life. The educational focus of each training program is to learn through the body, drawing from personal experience to support one's work with others.

The Institute focuses it's work in two areas:

1. Somatics In Everyday Life.
Carrying on the spirit of the work of Elsa Gindler who taught her students to use sensory-based practice to survive life in war-torn Berlin, the Institute develops Somatic Patterning practices that can be used to support embodied functionality in the reality of everyday life.

2. Somatics in Massage. 
The Institute offers professional development courses designed to teach somatic practitioners to integrate Somatic Patterning Techniques into their practice.

Matthew's Clinical Practice
Somatic Patterning works with two supporting pathways to healing.

First, it sees the chronic pains and injuries in your body as signs of the breakdown in your movement patterns.

Second, it recognizes your body’s continual attempts to self-correct, supporting that movement as it untangles disorganized movement.

Together, these pathways create a bodywork session that is collaborative, working with your body’s innate wisdom, and its ability to create deep, integrative healing.

To schedule a session with Matthew click below.

Schedule an Online Appointment


When I work in Edmonton, I have the unique opportunity to offer tandem sessions with Anne Belohorec.

Anne is a senior therapist with training in Advanced Craniosacral Therapy (adult and pediatric), Advanced Lymphatic Drainage Therapy, Touch for Health, Cellular Memory Release, Somato-Emotional Release, Therapeutic Touch, and Reiki.

In a tandem session, Anne and I work together, coordinating our skills to provide new insights to complex body dysfunctions.

For more information, follow this link to contact Healing Connections.

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