What do you want to change?
Personal change comes in many languages; I help people find its voice. I work with people on anxiety, stress, burn-out, trauma, low energy, and physical pain or tension. We move towards self-confidence, relief, calm, power and clarity. My coaching is focused on combining mind and body: I mix talking with body awareness, mindfulness, and breathing, relaxation and massage techniques, a bit like if you would cross psychotherapy with body attention. It’s not all about talking though; another aspect of personal change can be increasing energy and confidence through fitness and strength training. There are many ways to change.anxiety, panic & insecurity
stress, burnout & low energy
self-confidence & making decisions
trauma, repeating patterns & letting go
fitness, tone & strength
Anxiety, panic and insecurity
The experiences of anxiety and panic can be extremely debilitating and stressful, making you feel powerless and frustrated. As well as all the thoughts and feelings, anxiety is also a bodily response; it can feel like being tensed up and tight, frozen, nauseous, restless or unable to breathe. While that physical response is there, your unconscious brain’s fear responses are effectively stuck in the “on” position, no matter what you change on a cognitive level. Working through the body level can be the key to changing your anxiety.
Through body-oriented coaching, I teach people how to notice and change their physical experience of anxiety. This is like re-wiring your responses, changing the way your deeply-wired fear response and your nervous system work. You can learn to release fears that you have been unconsciously storing in your body, and to gain empowering tools for how to manage your anxiety yourself.
Stress, burnout and low energy
Stress, pressure and rushing around are common experiences in our fast-paced, performance-rated lives. We live almost in chronic stress, without the ability to relax and wind down. This can can have many physical effects, like tension, IBS and headaches, as well as psychological effects: chronic fatigue, burn-out, or easily becoming frustrated and angry.
Stress is a physiological response that helps us to get through a challenging situation: your stress response and sympathetic nervous system activate hormones that create muscle tension, raised heart rate and alertness. But this is supposed to be short-lived. Afterwards, our bodily systems should return back to normal via the parasympathetic nervous system, your relaxation response. Without a healthy balance of activation and relaxation, our minds and bodies suffer.
In body-psych coaching sessions, I teach you how to reactivate your relaxation response. We talk through situations that are creating stress, and how you react to them. Combing talking with body attention, as well as exercises in mindfulness, breathing and movement, I teach you to notice your stress on a body level, and then to find various ways to shift out of this state. This has a feedback effect on your whole system, and can help you to reinstall the rhythms of being active and passive that you need to stay physically and psychologically healthy.more on how i work with stress
Self-confidence and making decisions
Coaching towards self-confidence and decision-making involves looking at what stands in your way of those things. We delve into your patterns of thought, as well as your ways of reacting to others and to our own emotions.
Pain, tension, headaches and digestive problems
Huge numbers of people suffer from chronic pain or other chronic physical symptoms, especially headaches and migraines, lower back and neck pain, digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, and skin conditions. Chronic pain can be very frustrating and tiring, and bring a sense of desperation.
Pain is a strange and complex thing. The experience of it is generated in our brains, which doesn’t mean it’s imaginary, but that our (unconscious) brains can get wired in ways that aren’t actually helpful to us. The anxiety of feeling pain again, for example, can be enough to actually produce the pain. We focus in narrowly on a painful area, with that sensation drowning out all others. Through my coaching, I mix talk, touch, breathing and mindfulness exercises to teach you how to relate differently to your body and your pain, which alters how it is being generated in the unconscious parts of your brain.
Pain can have its roots in all sorts of places – the way we are when we’re stressed, an old accident, injury or trauma. We can tend to get stuck in old positions without realising: perhaps a movement we were trying to make in a traumatic event but couldn’t, or the way we hold ourselves to protect against the pain, or the way we tense when stressed and worried. Bodies don’t like being fixated; they like to be in flow and flux. Through bringing attention to your body, we can uncover the movements that are stuck there, which allows it to heal itself.
Trauma, repeating patterns and letting go
Often we go through life repeating certain patterns, like always ending up in the same kind of relationships, or being stuck in certain feelings. We carry our past around with us, in the beliefs and conclusions we have about ourselves and others, and in how we react to our own emotions in various situations. This is not just psychological; it is also deeply physical.
Our emotional responses go through our unconscious brains, which are in a dynamic interplay with our physical bodies. Even if we have psychologically come to terms with events in the past, we can still be “wired” in ways that have us keep reproducing old emotions and behaviours.
Body-psych coaching is a way to unravel the feelings or dynamics that you’re stuck in. We work with how you experience them in your body, and I teach you how to resolve and release them, which allows you to complete and move on from the past, and to learn greater emotional resilience in the present.
more on how i work with trauma and repeating cycles
Fitness, tone and strength
I teach people how to make exercise a simple and sustainable part of their lives, and to get a taste for enjoying their own strength and physicality, and the self-confidence that comes with owning your own body. We work as much as possible with bodyweight training (doing exercises that just use your own body), with minimal equipment like kettle bells, resistance bands and benches.
My training is designed for each individual’s needs, and is based around strength training and high intensity interval training, which are two extremely effective ways to make positive changes to your body, health and fitness.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the mind and body, and in love with sports and physicality”
The base of my physical knowledge and approach came from studying biological natural sciences at Cambridge University (2002-5), including neurobiology, physiology and psychology, which gave me a good scientific understanding of the body and it’s processes.
I then specialised in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge, completing a Master’s and Ph.D. (2006-10), which taught me how to think critically and analytically, how not to take things at face value, and to see everything as a work in progress that can be unravelled. I find all of these skills extremely useful in my work with people today, both in terms of structuring a learning process, and in assessing the various approaches that I draw upon.
After moving to Berlin, I came across the Grinberg Method and immediately found it fascinating, because of how it brings together the physical and psychological in order to give people so much potential for change. I did my training in Berlin (2011-15), and have been working with clients since 2011. This method has given me a variety of excellent tools for working with people, but I have also explored other approaches, which is why I call what I do bodywork or coaching. Specifically, I integrate together what I’ve learned from introductory courses in other mind-body approaches, especially Somatic Experiencing, the Pantarei Approach, and TRE (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises), as well as courses in Nonviolent Communication, all of which is supplemented by diverse reading in psychology and neurophysiology. To add a more medical backing to all of that, I’m currently taking a course for the Heilpraktiker (a German qualification in anatomy, physiology and pathology, for people working with alternative or complementary healthcare), at TOP-Physio in Berlin.
The other strand of my body and health focus is that my life has always been full of sports, ranging from playing hockey, cricket, football and touch rugby at a fairly high competitive level, to running half-marathons, and learning breakdance and yoga. I’ve been teaching personal fitness training since 2011, and completed my B-Licence for fitness training at ORTHOvita in Berlin.
I like to make the insights from my work available to more people than just those who come and pay for individual sessions, and I also still love researching and writing. These two drives have resulted in me researching and writing about various topics related to the body and mind and how they can stay healthy, which you can read in the blog of this website. At some point there will be a book…. watch this space!
At the bottom of all of this is that I love working with people to go with them through their journeys, often through some tricky places, to come out at a place they are more happy with and fulfilled by. I find this an immensely rewarding process, and am truly honored that so many people have gone with me with such trust through their own challenging processes.
“Working with Sophia has completely changed my life and awareness. I am now gaining the ability to care for my own body and mind through her sensitive, thoughtful and personal guidance. I recommend this to anyone who wants to not only take control over those aches, pains and recurring anxieties and fears that limit what we can do. I recommend it to anyone who wants to live more fully than they imagined possible!” – Max
“Working with Sophia helped me to be more aware of my body and how that was tightly linked to my anxiety. I understood the triggers and the causes ,and with understanding comes healing. Every session with Sophia was my moment of release and then peace. I used to deal with my anxieties with my head , but Sophia taught me how to observe and how to listen to my body and it was life changing! Thank you Sophia!” – Tanja
“I found my sessions with Sophia incredibly productive. With a history of ADD and childhood trauma, I store a lot of excess energy inside of me and Sophia helped me learn to release some of that energy and channel it into action. I feel that what I learned helps me continue to move forward on my own (albeit more slowly), as I carry my new knowledge and body-awareness with me.” – B.
“Sophia has helped guide me to a physical awareness of my body through the practise of touch and instructional breathing. With each session, I have learned to recognize how my body and mind reacts in times of anxiety and pain. I can now allow myself to feel stress without my mind spiralling out of control. This body awareness has enabled me to focus on my creativity, turning my ideas into action. Sophia has certainly given me the ability to live a more free and grounded life. Thank you! “- Melissa
“I usually try to do everything in my life with my head. Sophia introduced me to my body instead. It knows so much more than I ever imagined” – Anja
“When I think about what I am most grateful for and what has most improved my life over the past few years, working with Sophia is at the top of my list. She taught me how to focus on my body and where I was holding in emotions in order to be aware of them and release them. Most importantly, she taught me to remain neutral about my feelings so that I could register the situation without judging myself or others. She also taught me that everything–every thought, every action, every body movement, no matter how big or small–is a choice, and that I can change my life by being aware of my thoughts and body and choosing differently. Talk about empowerment! Thank you, Sophia! I highly recommend working with Sophia for anyone who wants to change their life. If you want to change your life, contact her today!” – Elizabeth
“Sophia is a very intelligent, sensible and caring coach. Since working with her my health has improved a lot and I am much calmer and happier in life. I highly recommend her.” – C.J.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?get in touch
What do I offer?
- Bodywork / Coaching
- Fitness Training
Combining somatic elements or mindfulness with psychotherapeutic approaches has become more popular in recent years, but can sometimes seem a little mysterious. I am going to take a tour of some of the neuroscience at work here, and give some insights into the world of physical sensations, including how to move with and through them to change our emotional responses. Bodies can seem like strange, unfamiliar places at times. They can be sources of long-term pain and discomfort, or just cumbersome things that we lump
You feel that stress again, seeping into a mounting restlessness, a background frustration, a drive to keep going as if the days were a race. You have so much to do; you’re not sure you can manage. You’re exhausted, but you’re not sleeping well. You feel that irritating tension in your shoulders and neck again, creeping up into a headache, a foggy cloud in which you can't think clearly. You don’t need this now. Your lower back is blocked and uncomfortable again, draining your energy.
I love taking a scientific approach to how the body and mind are interconnected. If you've read any of my recent articles, it's probably obvious that I love physiology, neurobiology, and biochemistry. Yes, molecules just rock my boat. Nerve and hormone pathways make me bristle with excitement. The intersection of mind states and psychology with this biological perspective is mind-blowingly fascinating to me. But this approach has it's limitations. More and more people seem to be jumping on the science-of-mind-body bandwagon. There have been a lot of
The biology of high intensity interval training (HIIT): why it’s better than aerobic or cardio exercise for health and fitness
So many people are interested in doing exercise or changing their fitness, and there seem to be so many different ideas around. It can be tricky to know which one to believe. At the same time, the scientific studies might be a bit much to attempt to dig into. This article aims to provide the middle ground: a summary of, and introduction to the biological process that happen during exercise, which are responsible for altering your health and fitness. I focus on high intensity
This is the third in a series of three articles that use a physiological and neurobiological approach to explain why relaxation is so amazing, and how it allows someone to let go of old fears and be more present. In the first article, which you can find here, I looked at how to understand rest in terms of various body systems, and I described what happens to those systems during the stress and fear responses. The second article, which is here, talked about how people stay
This is the second in a series of three articles, which use a physiological and neurobiological approach to explain why relaxation is so amazing, and how it allows someone to let go of old fears and be more present. In the first article, which you can find here, I looked at how to understand rest in terms of various body systems, and I described what happens to those systems during the stress and fear responses. Now we'll turn to how people end up staying stuck in
Relaxation is so much more fascinating and powerful than many people think. It doesn't mean floating in a half-conscious state with your mind somewhere else. It means becoming more alive, more present, and more able to react to what is happening around you. It is a physical as well as mental state, and both of those elements - body and mind - need to be involved in order to achieve this presence, or what some people call mindfulness (or bodyfulness!). This article is the
The “Second Brain” in your Belly: Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Part II.
Gut feelings are part of a complex system of interactions between the gut and the brain. Imbalances in this system create both physical conditions like IBS, and psychological ones like stress, anxiety and depression. This is the second of two articles focusing on this system. The first article, which you can read here, looked at how to think about digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, and started to explain the 'second brain' in the belly. Stress, Anxiety and the HPA Axis In the first article, we
Gut feelings are part of a complex system of interactions between the gut and the brain. Imbalances in this system create both physical conditions like IBS, and psychological ones like stress, anxiety and depression. Stomachs are strange places, home to the butterfly feelings, the tightness or nausea of anxiety, inexplicable pains and bloating, the sinking feeling of having done something wrong or the emptiness of being sad. Often we’re not so keen on them. But our guts are also amazing places, which actually contain their own
This article is the second of two parts, looking at the special role of the psoas muscle in recovering from pain, stress and trauma. You can read the first part here, which looks at the structural role of the psoas in our bodies, as well as its role in our stress and fear responses. I describe there how the psoas gets stuck and shortened through sitting for many hours, and what kind of physical effects this can have on a body. I also looked at how being locked
CONTACT + INFO
What does it cost?
Coaching / Bodywork:
€60 for 1 hour
Personal Fitness Training:
€60 for 1 hour,
€50 for 45 min
Where do we meet?
The Studio für Körperaufmerksamkeit, Körtestr. 8, Kreuzberg, ground floor
How do we start?
I’m happy to talk on the phone or in person before we do any sessions, in order for you to ask questions and get to know me a little — you can arrange to come by for a half an hour chat/consultation if that’s more comfortable.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 162 430 9586
Or use the form:
If you need to cancel a session, please let me know 24 hours before the session, otherwise I will unfortunately have to charge you for it.
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Sophia Davis, Ph.D.,
Qualified Fitness Trainer and Grinberg Method Practitioner
Reichenberger Str. 63
0162 430 9586
Design: Atomic Design Studios
Text: Sophia Davis
Photography: Alexa Vachon
Copyright for texts: Sophia Davis