Somatic Therapy

Marsha Hiller

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

— Martha Graham

As a young dancer I discovered the transformative power of movement, which led me to study psychology and become a psychotherapist. Our bodies store all of our experience including unresolved memories and feelings, often in the form of muscular tension, pain or a general sense of inhibition. When we explore and develop body awareness and personal imagery through movement and other expressive arts, we can find ways to free ourselves of obstacles that limit our spontaneity and self-expression.


“Though many of us take pride in how different we are from our parents, we are endlessly sad at how different our children are from us.”

—Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree

I see parenting as one of the most challenging, joyful and humbling of all human endeavors. In my work with parents, I collaborate with parents to support their children in becoming their truest selves. This often entails exploring the messages parents received from their own parents and dismantling automatic reactions based on the parents’ childhood experiences. Learning to understand what children are telling us through their sometimes extremely challenging behaviors and figuring out how to respond sensitively is a complex and worthwhile process.

My work with families includes experience and specialization with multi-racial, adoptive and LGBTQ families. Please read my article, My Children Have Three Moms, published in Pact's Point of View, 2013.

Children & Adolescents

I have always been drawn to working with children because of their aliveness and uncensored expressiveness. As a young adult I worked as a camp counselor and volunteered in an inner city community center. I received my Masters in Education from Bank Street College of Education where I learned about child development and holistic education. I taught elementary school, ran afterschool programs and created summer camps. After becoming a psychotherapist, I did play therapy with children and consulted in a number of Bay Area private schools including Head Royce School, Berkwood Hedge and Bentley School, providing support and insight to teachers, administrators and parents. I have also been training and supervising post-graduate psychotherapy interns who provide play therapy to individuals and small groups of children at a public elementary school for the past 14 years.