• where the body of water changes

    sliding scale (pwyc) somatic sessions

    broken image

    image description: photo of a horizon with low tide

  • about agnieszka (aga) + her practice

    I am a politicized somatics worker and mental health educator. I am attentive to relationships with ancestors, land and each other, and link arms with unsettling, healing and justice. Based in Tkaronto (Dish with One Spoon territory) and born on the Baltic shores of Soviet-occupied Poland, I am white, Slavic, cis, queer, 3rd culture kid, and migrant. Like all of us, I am also many other things.


    I finished my Somatic Experiencing (SE) training (https://traumahealing.org/about-us/) in spring 2022. Though I have previous training in other therapeutic modalities, this offering is mostly SE focused in its scope of practice; meaning I might draw from my other practices/training to support our work together, but the main approach will be SE.


    Somatic Experiencing was started by ciswhite people (Peter Levine et al.), and has struggled to include intergenerational trauma and social/political/economic trauma in its approach. As an SE trained practitioner, I continually make interventions into my SE practice that holds you/us within our communities and larger histories.


    More info about the lineage of SE can be found here: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/7aa1cd14-2a42-4c72-a3c3-348d09d07d59/Levine_interview.pdf?t=1677014826?id=3991371


    Before entering clinical practice as a clinical counsellor (MSW) in 2015, I spent 10 years in front line work, including: harm reduction, street outreach, queer/trans mental health group facilitation, sex worker support, housing advocacy and shelters. Because of this background, I really encourage frontline workers, community-facing providers, especially those impacted by the grief, loss and trauma of the drug-poisoning crisis to get in touch. 


    I am a registered Social Worker (MSW/RSW) in good standing with the OCSWSSW. The role and history of violence of the social work profession, specifically towards Black and Indigenous populations is on-going - and my membership with the OCSWSSW is fraught. My stance on abolition includes the abolition of social work as it is currently practiced. I do not offer the work here under my social work registration. This is a separate practice space from my registered social work practice.


    I am actively engaged in professional development and clinical supervision for my practice.


    If you would like more information about my other trainings, please feel free to email me.

    In our sessions together, we listen closely to how the body responds to prompts and suggestions from the practitioner; and we get curious about this body-based information. And sometimes the body says "no, I don't want to be felt-into or seen today" - and we honor and listen to that as well. There is as much wisdom in a "yes", "maybe" and "no" when we are working together


    video: "when the body says yes / when the body says no" by agnieszka forfa


    video description: a sunny day, close up shot of a raspberry plant. A hand reaches to pick a fruit, and it plucks easily (text on image reads: when the body says yes). A hand reaches to pick a fruit, and the fruit won't leave the plant (text on image reads: when the body says no).

    Sometimes in somatic sessions we might imagine something before (or instead of) actually doing it, especially if it carries lots of activation/charge in the body. Or we might imagine it happening far away in the distance, to give ourselves some space from the immediacy of felt sensation or emotion.


    Everything in it's own time. Our somas do not heal under pressure or force.


    video: "yes, but from a distance" by agnieszka forfa


    video description: a hand holding a small branch of juniper brushing the tops of a mountain range in the distance.

  • what is somatics

    Our bodies remember joy, resilience, survival and trauma – quite literally. Somatics takes this knowing, and supports us to have new or different responses, often based in an increased capacity and more aliveness; allowing us to take a different embodied shape, one more aligned with our inherent dignity and wisdom.


    Somatics can also be understood as a modality that supports us to renegotiate trauma, so that a charge or numbness can be released from the body, while honoring everything that shows up along the way, including dissociation. Considering that trauma can be understood as “too much too fast, or too little too often”, somatics usually works gradually, supporting our capacity to grow into our new shapes, and not overwhelming the system with sensation.


    Often times healing modalities (i.e. therapy) can be ahistorical and decontextualized from systemic and societal structures and experiences. Politicized somatics recognizes that society and history (personal, family, community and systemic) are all a source of shaping us. In other words, we are shaped and hold the impacts of racism, patriarchy, whiteness and white supremacy, capitalism etc. These are not abstract concepts, but lived and living experiences in our somas (aka. bodies).




    Below from: Prentis Hemphill, Finding Our Way podcast, S1Ep5


    "The western world puts a name on things, oftentimes a white guy's name on things, and pretends it's new. But all of our cultures have practices. Most cultures ARE practices of embodiment. Our dancing, our singing, our relationship to land, the places where we make contact, the stories we create to make meaning of our lives, all of that to me is somatics.


    The word somatics exists in a Western context to point out the break that happened between our minds and our bodies. Somatics doesn't make sense in some ways, without that break having happened, it's a term and a field of study that emerges from that break of colonization. But before that, we still practiced embodiment. Before that, there were still practices across the world that helped us feel ourselves and our internal worlds.


    There's absolutely a white washing of the field, but it's also because we have not been taught to look at our own practices as knowledge. We're not always trained to look at the little morsels of truth that have been passed down through the subtlest of movements and motions...It's important for us to keep looking in, looking in our own lives and our own histories, for the route of embodiment"


    ~ Prentis Hemphill, Finding Our Way Podcast, S1Ep5

    More of Prentis' work can be found here: https://prentishemphill.com/, including The Embodiment Institute: https://www.theembodimentinstitute.org/ and the Black Embodiment Initiative: https://www.theembodimentinstitute.org/bei 


  • our sessions together

    I began training in Somatic Experiencing (https://traumahealing.org/about/) specifically to have a tangible skill to offer community in struggle for social justice and liberation. As such, I seek to offer my services on a sliding scale/pwyc. I pay my bills through other means of employment. More info about the sliding scale found below, or in the links on the left side of the page.


    The orientation in the sessions in about moving towards an embodiment that makes us feel more whole, alive and aligned in our dignity, versus trying to fix something. Sessions can be touch or non-touch based, are done in collaboration, can include movement and stillness, have a talking component, but meaning-making and storytelling is not the focus or central component of a session. For more information about Somatic Experiencing theory, practice and sessions, please see: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/3d502d00-f687-4be2-b258-8f4296749f27/SEHandout.pdf?t=1676917172?id=3990918


    Our first conversation will include dialogue about choices/preferences regarding potential crisis situations.


    I am currently only seeing folks on-line via Zoom. Because of this, even if you are not based in Tkaronto, please still get in touch! Sometimes, I am open to seeing folks for sessions on a walk or outside (a park, by the water etc.), however, this would be done only after initial consultation and conversation to best determine needs and approaches to our practice/time together.


    Scope of Practice:

    I cannot diagnose, evaluate or treat psychological or medical conditions. My work does not replace consultations with psychologists, psychotherapists or doctors. Each practice has a different scope and my practice is located within my training in somatics (a body based approach to trauma renegotiation). My practice is also not a good fit for crisis support. Please reach out if you have more questions about this.


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    Engaging in ancestral and ceremonial practices is also somatics work.

    image: A traditional Kurpie embroidery stitched by Agnieszka, laying in a patch of sun on a forest floor covered in fallen leaves and grass.

  • resources

    I will be building this section slowly over time. I hope what you find here supports your wellness.

    image : a white hand holding a figure made of various grains against a white wall

    links to other practitioners 

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/102jtMLZlEXM2o3loOk6rs6rN2wa-PLdA2VNNJxmuM_I/edit1. Abolition Centered Care Provider Data Base: https://tinyurl.com/yb3vchse
    2. Open Path Collective: affordable sessions between $30 and $60: https://openpathcollective.org/
    3. Inclusive Therapists offers a safer, simpler way to find a culturally responsive, social justice-oriented therapist: https://www.inclusivetherapists.com/about
    4. Somatic Experiencing Working Group for Racial Justice - Providers and Resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CoX8ZyRaX7Ggm8GYRN6lFPR9SKbA_RunzAxwFG9znzA/edit
    5. Queer and Trans Somatic Experiencing Referral List:
    6. Toronto's Queer and Trans Therapist List:
    7. Aisha Tambo (SEP and Personal Training for the Spirit)

    somatic specific resources

    1. An archive of videos from the Strozzi Institute. Each is about one hour long, and is for anyone with an interest in learning about or seeking to deepen into their understanding and embodiment of somatic practice.

    LINK: https://strozziinstitute.com/online-leadership-dojo-archive/

    grief specific resources

    1. Befriending Grief with Staci Haines:

    LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDZP_nr5oSg

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    somatics likes to work with something called "co-regulation". It accepts our inter-connectedness and that other beings support our healing. Sometimes though, humans are hard to trust, and so we can work and build relationship with the more-than-human world. As earthlings, we all have a relationship with this place and the many seen and unseen beings that live here. And also, there is a specificity and care that is important when talking about land and relationships in colonial contexts.

    image: a hand holding golden rod on a sunny day 

  • sliding scale fees (PWYC)

    top range: $80-110

    mid range: $50-80

    low range: $30-50

    * each 50 minute session


    The linked resource below might support you in determining your range of payment (Scroll down to the "sliding scale" section):



    Current status: accepting new clients

    I like to meet with folks who are interested in seeing me for a 15 minute free consultation just to make sure there is a good fit between Somatic Experiencing practice and what you are looking for, and how I structure my practice. Let me know if you would like to schedule a consultation.


    Questions to Ask a New Counsellor:

    LINK: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/0c839305-8156-44cf-b708-e0ea351ecc9e/Questions to Ask Your Therapist.pdf?id=3706264

    LINK: https://imgur.com/gallery/yCUeb 

  • Feedback

    This offering is very much a work in progress, and I am sure I will need to adjust and adapt as things evolve, and as I am in consultation with peers and community in regards to this work. I see this webpage as an incomplete but necessary step towards being able to start offering this work. I welcome feedback about what I have shared here or how I am going about this offering.

  • contact agnieszka

    Please get in touch! I will get back to you within 48 hours.