Earth Soma Counseling
Practicing reconnection with our bodies,
each other, and the Earth
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
- Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"
Welcome to my practice: my work is an exploration in the relationship between the inner and outer, between self-love and personal transformation and collective transformation. This poem is more than just beautiful words to me; it is the expression of what we come to know in our process together.
We live in interesting times, and for younger people, coming of age seems to be fraught with next level intensity: pandemics, climate change, rising fascism in the West, movements for racial justice, and increasing awareness of so many forms of oppression. As if getting through early adulthood with all the typical anxieties and emotional upheavals weren't hard enough, we find ourselves in a nation and a world that seems to be in rapid decline on so many levels. What to do?
Western social and cultural expectations show a deep level of disconnect from the reality of our changing world and its uncertain future. You might be reflecting on your place in the world in the midst of the climate crisis, or feeling overwhelmed by a growing sense of political tension among everyday anxieties. Therapy too often tries to fix our feelings without seeing the way our feelings are simultaneously valid reflections of the world we live in and reminders of unresolved pain from our individual and ancestral histories. In times like these, it becomes revolutionary to reconnect to ourselves on the most intimate level and listen.
I offer somatic therapy to introspective, sensitive young people struggling with anxiety, depression, and confusion about their personal lives as much as the world we live in, fostering resilience, clarity, and confidence in uncertain times.
Some benefits of somatic work:
It empowers us through self-awareness as we learn how our nervous systems work
It helps us expand our capacity for both joy and discomfort, making us more resilient in circumstances that are uncertain and/or beyond our control
It facilitates healing unresolved trauma that might be obscuring our perception and obstructing our true selves
Lastly, and maybe most importantly: it teaches us that we have all the answers within us and can become our own authority with integrity and compassion
What the heck does "somatic" mean?
The word "somatic" means, "of, relating to, the body; physical." So "somatics" is "a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience." In this approach, the body's responses and felt experience are integrated into the conversation rather than engaging solely with our thoughts.
There's an amazing bridge that connects our minds to all forms of life around us, literally right under our noses. That is bridge is our physical body.
My name's Kristy Johnsson, and I'm a licensed somatic therapist with a broad background that includes everything from working in community mental health, teaching college courses on ecopsychology and environmental justice, researching climate change impacts on Alaska Native communities, to working with youth as a wilderness therapy instructor, volunteer coordinator, and environmental educator.
As someone with a highly sensitive nervous system, I'm a big fan of being gentle, patient, and throwing in some good humor. My goal is always to meet you where you are in the moment and to get curious about that, which is a radical approach in a world that thinks control is the solution to everything. And I also know that knowledge and awareness is power, so I'll share with you what I know, and let you know when I don't.
Oh, and I never ask clients to go somewhere within themselves that I haven't or wouldn't myself. This terrain isn't theory for me; it's a journey I've made myself.
“Working with Kristy is a life-changing experience. I have full trust in her competence. With her I am in the best hands possible."
“The positive changes I’ve made in my life in just a short time are beyond noticeable."
"When Kristy began training in the Living Inquiries, I was struck by her deep willingness to look at every aspect of her own experience, including childhood trauma, shame, relationships and anxiety. Having been a trainer of this work for some years, I have seen time and again that those who immerse themselves fully are much more able to guide others into their own looking. The sessions I've had with Kristy have been profound, touching into the depths of myself, raw emotion and insight included. Her gentle holding of whatever emerges makes it possible to go into places it would be hard to access on my own. Most importantly, I feel safe in her hands, knowing that she will never judge me or my experience. I highly recommend her as a facilitator."
- Fiona Robertson, Living Inquiries Senior Facilitator/Trainer
"Our session together was so special because I was really able to go so deeply into my emotional landscape around climate change with someone there not judging, not trying to make it better, just creating a safe space for me to experience and really encounter the emotions; getting outside permission and support to acknowledge and be with those emotions is something I have rarely come across. I appreciated having that space held in such a careful container.
I now feel such a sense of correctness when I connect with those emotions. It's so important we have these spaces and create the conditions for people to feel like they can explore emotions around climate change without getting overwhelmed and spiraling into depression as a result."
"I worked with Kristy during a very challenging time, when I faced my deepest trauma. I am really grateful for our sessions. She helped me look at my trauma in a way that felt very safe. I felt a lot of support from her, which allowed me to go deeper, stay with the intensity and slowly unravel things.Thank you, Kristy!"
"I came to Kristy with a couple of things that had been bothering me. How she helped me pick the really hot topic got me straight to where I needed to be. She had me gently paying attention to a small flutter in my stomach. That unfolded into something like a film clip, with details I never knew I remembered. The bottom line was amazing: this deep, felt insight into how I was continuously trying to save myself, and why. When the session came to a natural close, to my surprise we had basically covered all of my starting issues. Kristy's gentle, knowing guidance and full acknowledgement of my experience, through laughter and tears, was exactly what I needed - what anyone needs as far as I'm concerned. This is a wonderful journey, and I'm thankful."
"Thank you very much, it was just lovely to work with you; you create a very 'safe space' even over Zoom! The session was so helpful; I feel inspired to see that maybe I'm not as lost as I had thought I was!"
Kristy is a compassionate, kind person who listens without judgement. She was exactly what I needed when I was struggling with the deaths of my family members, and she now helps me see the person I really am through my distorted and twisted self-image. She helps me remember that I am always worthwhile, even - especially - when I feel worthless. In short, Kristy is a great counselor.