In as much as religion and spirituality are well known models of healing and personal development, they have to be included in any integrative theoretical framework such as Integral Somatic Psychology. However, the focus of Integral Somatic Psychology is really on the embodiment of all energies in the individual physical body, whether the energies are divine or mundane, whether from individual or collective bodies or from the connections between them. Therefore, Integral Somatic Psychology cannot be characterized as a religious or spiritual approach. Nor can it be characterized as a spiritual psychology or psychotherapy even though those who practice spiritual psychology or psychotherapy can improve their outcomes by integrating the physical body more explicitly into their approach through it. In the same manner, religious and spiritual development in different religious and spiritual approaches can be enhanced by the embodiment of energies from different levels of the psyche in the individual physical body through it.
There are four stages of spiritual development that can be seen, to a greater or lesser extent, in every religion: Seeing and praying to God in everything around oneself as in animism, seeing and relating to God as external and remote entity or a divine pair as in the Old Testament, relating to God as an incarnate human being such as Jesus as in the New Testament, and relating to God as an inseparable unity that contains everything including oneself as in Vedanta in Hinduism. Integral Somatic Psychology offers a framework for embodiment in all stages of religious or spiritual development.
On many religious or spiritual paths, the practice is to disidentify with the lower levels of the psyche such as the individual physical and energy bodies and identify one’s awareness instead with the dynamic collective physical and energy bodies or the absolute collective body of pure awareness. While this is a legitimate practice in itself to retrain one’s awareness to become familiar with the less familiar planes of one’s existence, the view in Integral Somatic Psychology is that the embodiment of energies of these higher planes in the individual physical body can help in a more enduring grasp of oneself as the higher levels of one’s psyche, prevent learned dissociation from the lower levels of the psyche, and enhance the benefits of religious or spiritual practice in all stages of religious or spiritual development.