Transforming Trauma Episode 103: The History, Evolution, and Future of Somatic Therapy with Dr. Daniel Schiff
A podcast brought to you by the NARM® Training Institute
In this episode of Transforming Trauma, NARM Senior Trainer Brad Kammer is joined by Dr. Daniel Schiff, licensed psychologist in the Portland area and adjunct faculty member at several universities. Dr. Schiff has lectured widely on topics related to emotions, psychotherapy, and Reichian and Gestalt therapy. With over three decades of experience, he is considered an expert in somatic psychology and is known for his work with Contemporary Orgone (Reichian) Therapy, a relational and emotionally focused, character based somatic psychotherapy that addresses both the psychological and the physiological underpinnings of emotional distress.
Dr. Schiff reflects on his interest and training in various humanistic psychology perspectives, including Reichian and Gestalt Therapy. His master's project was an exploration of Reichian therapy, and his doctoral dissertation was a study on the relationship between the inhibition of breathing and emotional repression. Now many years later, Dr. Schiff shares that he continues to evolve his understanding and psychotherapeutic approach, currently integrating information from modern neuroscience. He believes that this evolutionary process is in alignment with Wilhelm Reich’s approach as Reich was committed to ongoing study, evolution and advancement of his theories.
Dr. Schiff and Brad reflect on the tragic story of Dr. Wilhelm Reich and reminisce about Reich’s impact on the field of somatic psychotherapy and their own clinical work. They reflect on how Reich’s original work directly influenced somatic modalities such as Gestalt Therapy, Hakomi Psychotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing, as well as indirectly influenced a number of other models including EMDR. This reflection leads to Dr. Schiff sharing his perspective on the use of catharsis in psychotherapy, and how when not trauma-informed, expressive models can lead to dysregulation and overwhelm. However, he also shares his perspective that if therapies don’t include enough direct expressiveness, they may not lead to lasting change. Together, Dr. Schiff and Brad reflect deeper on the current field and future trends of somatic psychotherapy.
We are grateful to Dr. Schiff for his incredible insight to the world of somatic psychology. We invite you to listen to the full episode to learn more about his approach to working with the breath and in the present moment as well as his advice for the next generation of psychologists.
About Dr. Daniel Schiff:
Dr. Daniel Schiff, is a licensed psychologist in private practice with 45 years of clinical experience in somatic psychotherapy from a Reichian and Gestalt perspective. He has lectured widely on topics related to emotions, psychotherapy, and Reichian and Gestalt therapy to both public and professional audiences, provide clinical seminars, training and supervision to mental health professionals. Dr. Schiff also offers a 4-year training program in Contemporary Orgone (Reichian) Therapy.
In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Schiff has been an adjunct faculty member in psychology at Seattle Central Community College, Antioch University, and the Washington School of Professional Psychology (Argosy University – Seattle), and currently offers a course in somatic psychology at Lewis and Clark college.
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