Somatic Psychotherapy Is About Being Not Doing

by Donald Marmara, Somatic Psychotherapist and Educator at Core Development Sydney

What is the most important skill of a Somatic Psychotherapist?

You may think that the most important skill of a somatic psychotherapist is their ability to understand your process, to make sense of what you’re going through. That’s helpful but it’s not enough.

No matter how well the therapist understands your process, it is only when you are able to understand it yourself that you are able to make meaningful change.

The most important skill of a psychotherapist, therefore, is to co-create a space that enables you to arrive at your own understanding through your own  experience .

What is the most important part of a Psychotherapist’s professional training?

That is why the most important part of a psychotherapist’s training is not to learn techniques, labels and diagnostic tools “to add to their toolbox”.

These have their place. What therapists most need to learn, however, is how to support you in making your own discoveries. To be aware of and suspend their interpretations and judgements so that you are able to proceed in your own unique way.

And that is why the single most important aspect of a psychotherapist’s professional training is their own personal therapy.

What else is it important for you to know about Somatic Psychotherapy?

It’s important to know that Somatic Psychotherapy is about Being not Doing.

In his book Fear of Life, the founder of Bioenergetics Dr Alexander Lowen States:


The busier we become, the less time we will have available for feeling, being and living. And we can delude ourselves into believing that doing is being and living.

We can measure our life by what we accomplish rather than by the richness and fullness of our experience”.

Do you measure your life by your accomplishments or by the richness and fullness of your experience? What is most important for you?

What is so unique about Core Development’s approach to somatic psychotherapy?

Core Development was developed by Donald Marmara from his

  • Life experience
  • Personal therapy
  •  4-year 2000 hours experiential in-person training in Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Gerda Boyesen Centre in London (1976-1980)
  • Further training, therapy and supervision over a 4-year period with David Boadella in the Fundamentals of Biosynthesis (1980-1984)
  • Participation in experiential workshops and individual sessions with Helen Davis, Dr John Pierrakos, Erika Kelley, and the London Gestalt Centre
  • Training in the Fundamentals of Structural Consulting over a 2-year period with its founder Robert Fritz (1986-1988)
  • 40 years international professional experience

Core Development is currently based in Sydney. It  is a process of emotional learning, embodying principles of somatic psychotherapy, counselling and personal development.

For more information about Core Development’s values, approach and methodology, see the following short articles: ; ;