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Somatic Markers

The concept of somatic markers comes from the neuro-scientist António Damasio. He says that all experiences a person makes in his life are stored in an emotional experience memory. Each of these experiences is marked with a simple evaluation ‘positive, aspire to’ or ‘negative, avoid’, and stored. This experiential memory conveys itself particularly through bodily experiencing, with so-called somatic markers. This bodily signal (from the Greek ‘Soma – body) arises very immediately with the binary message, “Go there!” or “Avoid!”. In counselling, the first step is to recognise these signals. The second step then consists of reflecting: where does this reaction come from? It is important to recognise whether these immediate reactions have been shaped by negative, or even traumatic experiences, and if they are, whether they are, therefore, misleading. Similar to the ratio (see <a href=””>Trübungen</a>), the emotional and bodily signals can also be dysfunctional in their orientation value, because they do not open themselves for the present, but rather, they imprison in the past. If so, the enormously helpful function of this form of self-perception can no longer be used for smart decisions and for the orientation about what is good for you. For this reason, too, counselling is helpful for every person, independent of acute problems, where it is also able to work with bodily and emotional states.

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