In this episode of host Sam Believ has a conversation with Joshua Sylvae

We touch upon subjects of somatic experiencing, psychedelics, trauma work, how to know if you have trauma and how to know if it is healed.

Find more about Joshua Sylvae at

Podcast Transcript

Introduction to Somatic Experiencing and Psychedelics

I’m currently working on a text related to somatics and psychedelics, and I think they do similar things by paying attention to the body and receiving information in the wordless language of our bodies. Both facilitate bottom-up processing, which isn’t as prevalent in modern approaches to healing and therapy. I’m excited about the potential of both somatics and psychedelics because we need to befriend our inner experiences rather than trying to control them.

Joshua’s Journey into Somatic Experiencing

In this episode of the Ayahuasca Podcast, we talk to Joshua Sylvae about trauma work, somatic experiencing, and the similarities between working with Ayahuasca and somatic experiencing. Joshua has been in the field of somatics since 2003, holding an MA in Clinical Psychology, a PhD in Higher Learning and Social Change, and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has worked as a psychotherapist and now focuses on educating professionals interested in treating trauma and distress.

Understanding Somatic Experiencing

Somatic experiencing involves integrating the body into the therapeutic process, where sensations are considered alongside thoughts and emotions. This approach helps in understanding how our nervous system might store trauma and create ongoing cycles of dysregulation. The process often begins with stabilization, helping individuals reconnect with their external environment and their entire sensory experience, facilitating a state where they can manage both positive and negative sensations.

Combining Somatic Experiencing with Psychedelics

Joshua discusses how psychedelics work on serotonergic pathways, allowing access to experiences usually below our awareness threshold. This process is similar to somatic experiencing in that it allows for bottom-up processing and the release of trapped energy. While there isn’t extensive experimental study combining these modalities, there is a recognition in underground psychedelic therapy movements of the benefits of focusing on the body during psychedelic experiences.

Integrating Somatic Awareness into Daily Life

To become more embodied, Joshua recommends simple practices like orienting to the environment, registering positive experiences, and becoming aware of soothing behaviors. Modern humans often feel disconnected from their bodies, and practices that encourage noticing bodily sensations and integrating pleasant experiences can help bridge this gap. Joshua also emphasizes the importance of teaching these practices to children to foster a more embodied culture.


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