somatic coaching & movement
Hello, I'm Francesca Melluzzi, and I'm incredibly passionate about my work as an ADHD & Autism coach, a journey that has spanned two enriching decades. Throughout these years, I've had the privilege of working closely with teenagers and their families, providing invaluable insights into the unique challenges they face.
My mission is crystal clear: I'm here to ensure that neurodivergent teenagers and the people who support them feel genuinely seen, heard, and valued. I achieve this through a multifaceted approach that extends beyond traditional coaching.
My coaching philosophy is all about co-creating practical strategies and offering evidence-based psychoeducation. I firmly believe that coaching should be a collaborative effort, tailored to each individual's unique needs and experiences.
In my practice, I place a strong emphasis on trauma-informed coaching, utilising somatic body-based strategies to enhance both co-regulation and self-regulation. I'm a firm believer that the mind and body are intricately connected, and helping individuals feel safe within their bodies is crucial, especially for those who are neurodivergent and may struggle with understanding and processing their emotions and thoughts.
My somatic coaching approach is deeply rooted in the groundbreaking work of experts like Stephen Porges and his Polyvagal System, Bessel van der Kolk's renowned "The Body Keeps the Score," and insights from attachment theory. These foundational principles guide my coaching sessions, ensuring that I offer comprehensive support.
Above all, I consider the client-coach relationship as the cornerstone of effective coaching. Over time, I focus on building trust and fostering psychological safety. My coaching sessions are never about "fixing" individuals but about co-creating solutions and empowering them to flourish and grow.
If you're seeking warm, empathetic, and highly effective coaching that wholeheartedly embraces neurodiversity and aims to unlock the full potential of every individual, I'm here to be your dedicated partner on this remarkable journey.
What is somatic movement?
Hanna Somatic Movement is a therapeutic movement practice that engages the body in pandiculation, a process of slow, conscious movements teaching the brain and body how to release chronic tension and how to move more naturally and effectively, helping to prevent stress and damage to the body.
Soma is the Greek word for ‘what it means to be in the body’. What it feels like to be in our body and our experience of ourselves from the inside. Somatic movement understands that each person's experience is uniquely different.
Somatic coaching is a neurological workout. By re-training the brain and its connection to the muscles which have become ‘stuck’ in a pattern of contraction and forgotten how to relax (Sensory Motor Amnesia).
Why practice somatics?
Regular practice of somatic movement can help:
Headaches & migraines
Chronic lower back pain
Stiff neck & shoulders
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disfunction
Recovery from illness and injury
Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression
Pregnancy and postnatal recovery
As well as promoting ease of movement, improved range of movement, relieve general stiffness and tension, and maintaining health and wellbeing.
Somatics vs. traditional yoga
In traditional Hatha Yoga classes, asanas (postures) are practiced often with an intention to feel the full expression of a pose. This can mean that yoga classes are often experienced as a more exercise-based class with the focus being on striving to get more flexibility or better alignment.
Sometimes, this can create an environment where there is a sense of competition or that there is a certain pose that needs to be achieved.
Somatic movement helps to create a more intuitive relationship with the body so as to empower the practitioner to self-sense and self-correct. The movements are subtle and yet can provide a profound experience of your own body and sense of well being. It is an educational experience process that strengthens and integrates the brain-to-muscle connection.
You will be encouraged to explore and notice where SMA (Sensory Motor Amnesia) is, and gain the tools for life to control your muscles and have the ability to live and move with freedom and ease.
What is pandiculation?
Pandiculation is a process of slow, conscious movements - teaching the brain and body how to release chronic tension and how to move more naturally and effectively, helping to prevent stress and damage to the body. Most animals in the vertebrate kingdom engage in this process. When an animal yawns (breaths deeply), they tense and then stretch their full body. It is this movement which is known as pandiculation. This process of tensing and then slowly releasing encourages the brain to communicate with the body, and through this communication the brain registers the presence of the muscles and learns to "switch them on and off" more efficiently, making it easier for us to use, and relax, our bodies.
What is Sensory Motor Amnesia?
Over time, when your body gets used to staying in a pattern, for example, sat at a desk all day, your core muscles learn to become permanently contracted. Previously it was thought that the core needed strengthening. It has now been discovered that in fact it actually because your muscles are permanently contracting and become weak as a result of overuse. Sensory-motor amnesia occurs when the brain is constantly sending a message to your muscles to keep them in contraction or protection mode. Hence the word amnesia, your brain has forgotten to send the message ‘relax’ to the muscles.
Using art and creativity in a therapeutic way can provide a proactive and empathetic outlet for emotional support at times when words are difficult to express. Without being required to be 'good' at art, the concept instead is to simply use art and creativity in the most accessible and simple way to create healthy outlets for young people to express themselves and gain insight into their inner emotional world. The objective is simply to observe without analysis or judgement. This can encourage a natural unfolding and acceptance of what is arising within them and a deeper self-understanding and appreciation of their own uniqueness.
The practice of kirtan is an ancient yogic practice with a new evidence base supporting many psychological benefits. It is an active meditation which makes it much more accessible than formal sitting meditation, which can in some cases be re-triggering. Through singing and repeating words, phrases, or syllables, your mind focuses on the sound and stops your normal train of thought, thus clearing your mind. The benefits are endless, including:
relieves chronic pain