Meet Adrian: Q&A with Soteria Healing Facilitator
“If there is something that embodies the nature of my work, it’s the roots of a tree,” says Adrian of Soteria Healing. “I help people get connected to the roots of their body, the roots of their spirituality, and help them find a foundation — I help them find roots in all aspects (including ancestral work).
With more than a decade working in healing arts, Adrian Soteria developed his private healing practice in 2021. Focusing on somatics, breathwork, ancestral healing and bodywork, Adrian uses a multi-dimensional approach to healing in a grounded, sustainable way. Get to know his background, the details of his offerings and how he came to where he is now.
Hi Adrian. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Adrian Soteria and I live in Sedona, Arizona. I’m a healing arts practitioner, specifically a somatic therapist, so I specialize in working with the body and assisting people in working through stress and trauma by primarily using bodywork, breathwork and movement as well as energy medicine. I have a background with movement arts, yoga and martial arts. I also have a background with ancestral work. A lot of that work comes through me, through my ancestors, so it’s not as clearly cut and organized as how I work with trauma and how I work with the body — it’s much more intuitive.
What is your ancestry? Did it inspire you to walk the healing path?
I’m an American citizen, born in Queens, NY and was raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on a compound for foreigners on a work visa. My father is African-American, by way of New York and Georgia as well as the French and West Indies on his mother’s side, and my mother is half Greek, half Eritrean (just to clarify, Eritrea is a country that borders Ethiopia). So that’s my heritage. How it informs my work/experience: my grandmother on my mother’s side is very spiritually gifted. When she was alive all through when she passed, there was a lot of psychic communication that I had with her and I’ve had that since I was aware of it from a fairly young age. She’s Orthodox Christian, but I was always aware, especially with the stories she told me, and that my mother told me were just out of this world. She also comes from a long line of priests. That’s one piece that was always there, and although I don’t have a lot of connection to my father’s father’s side, not too long ago, I got involved with family constellation work, and in doing that work it was revealed to me that there was a powerful ancestor on my father’s father’s side that wanted to communicate with me and work with me. So in exploring that through various facets, I found that ancestral work is actually a deep part of my soul work; it’s a deep part of why I’ve incarnated on this planet. Which is interesting to speak about, but I’ve been able to confirm it.
How do you help clients connect with their ancestors?
The first thing I like to do is to work with their body and make sure there is communication between them and their body. I will always use my background and foundation in energy medicine and somatics to start with. It really helps for communication and clarity but after that, generally I will use facilitative dialogue to guide them through a process to establish a connection with their guide. It doesn’t have to be ancestral, sometimes it can be spiritual, but more times than not, I find ancestral guidance is what wants to come through people in this facilitative process. We then establish communication and then I offer guidance and assistance on how they can build a relationship with their ancestral guide. My ancestral guides will communicate with me in that process as well. When I’m working with people’s nervous systems through emotional challenges, I find that their ancestors will communicate with me and guide me into certain directions or to do certain things.
Things are transferred through the lineage, and it’s important to be able to work through that, and I think the healing process should be holistic: you want to work with the body, and you want to work with the nervous system. From there, you’ll work with the lifestyle and larger family dynamics and inter-generational aspects that come in as well — but I find it’s really good to start with the nervous system first and foremost – the body doesn’t lie. If you can learn to track the signs and track what’s going on, then it’s a good start for everyone, and from there you can matriculate into various other aspects that need attention in a way that’s healing.
To learn more about Adrian’s ancestral healing services, read about his Ancestral Dreamspeak sessions.
How did your childhood lead you to the healing path you’re on now?
I grew up on a compound in Saudi Arabia, and was very sheltered. In my household, there was a lot of stress and challenge, particularly growing up with my father. When I was very young I was fond of him, but as I grew older, he became more distanced and more physically aggressive, and for various reasons, things became very difficult. Throughout that process, one of my coping mechanisms was Martial arts. Martial arts really helped me tend to repressed emotions, it helped me to stand tall amidst all that was going on, and it taught me philosophically how to be in the world. In that process, I started to touch on the concept of Chi and energy (through Chinese and Doist philosophy), and that kind of opened up this can of worms for me. In Martial arts, you also learn healing arts as well: if you have the knowledge to hurt someone, you also have the foundational knowledge to assist in healing them as well. That philosophy I found fascinating. Through Martial arts, spiritual cultivation came at a young age. As I got older and moved to Arizona, I started doing a lot of deep work: I took some space from my family and started working with plant medicines. In the process, there was a question that came up around why I felt the need to be practicing Martial arts, so I stepped away from that and looked at the spiritual aspects. During that time, I got really involved in non-dual concepts within the yogic world and deep meditation practices. And though a lot of it was really good, there was a certain degree of bypassing and detachment that was ingrained in my learning process and I got into a difficult position over time. And in the difficulty of that experience, I encountered a very “witchy” lady who shared with me some wisdom that changed my trajectory. Basically she shared with me some grief she was experiencing over the loss of a loved one. And as she shared that with me, she cried through that process, and I also cried with her too. She immediately asked me, “Why are you crying? What’s the deal?” and I said: “I don’t know, it hurts.” And that’s when she introduced me to the concept of empathy. And at that point in my life, I felt directionless, and she suggested I look into healing arts as an empath. From there, I didn’t look back. I went full forward in that trajectory. Spirituality was how I got onto the mat, Daoist cosmology, and the theory of empathy and being empathic was what pushed me in a really gentle way to feel supported and gave me a sense of purpose and direction.
(this was around 2008).
What did your education in healing look like after that?
I studied meditation primarily and then on my own, I started getting into Pranic healing. I then got my Reiki level I and 2 attunement and started combining a lot of yoga with meditation and Reiki and Pranic healing. This is what I did for a long time. I also had a background in personal training, among other things. So I was always learning and pursuing things, but I didn’t actually manage to get to school unil 2014 when I went to the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and specialized in Polarity therapy and Craniosacral. By then, I had already been practicing massage on myself and friends and was ready to take it to the next level.
The program was a year – but I extended it to a year and a half, while I was also working for a nonprofit teaching yoga and assisting with teacher trainings (Conscious Community Yoga), and I was teaching adaptive yoga for special populations and at-risk populations and balancing that with massage school as well. So it took me a little bit longer because of the track, and I decided to extend my electives and take more courses with my favorite space holder and teacher, Gary Strauss.
Can you explain a bit about your offerings, aside from Ancestral Dreamspeak mentioned above?
Facilitative Dialoging works
The first session with someone is going to be a dialogue and within the realm of facilitative dialogue. There’s Ancestral Dreamspeak, which I spoke of earlier, and that’s guiding people through making a connection with an ancestral guide. And then there’s also Polarity Dialogue or just Facilitative Dialogue and that is a dialoguing process that is inspired by the concepts found in Polarity Therapy, but also Gestalt, voice dialogue, family constellations, internal family systems, focusing, and Somatic experiencing as well. And they’re all related in that they’re person-centered, relational styles of work, but basically it’s a facilitative dialogue process that really allows people to communicate with the deeper and inner parts of themselves, and to find resolution with things that are happening within their mind, body and deeper aspects of their psyche.
And then there’s Somatic Breathwork – I trained in biodynamic breathwork and trauma release with Giten Tonkov, and the style of breathwork that I use is very nervous-system oriented; the orientation that I take is that I really try to use breathwork to guide people and navigate various states of charge within their nervous systems. This looks like teaching them how to move through fight, flight, freeze using their breath and the process of learning how to do that and go in and out in really controlled, titrated, gentle ways to allow things to move through their body in small doses. It’s a very therapeutic approach that I take to breathwork. And I felt specifically called to work in that way because my experience with breathwork prior to that was very outer-body: I’d have a lot of outer-body experiences and psychedelic experiences, all of which were awesome and amazing and important, but I found the most benefit was from going into these really challenging places within my body and learning how to be there and how to move in and out in a graceful way. This is somatic breathwork, and it’s a trauma-informed approach. There’s a lot of movement and bodywork involved with that.
I do massage, deep tissue and relaxing massage (Swedish). My specific style is integrative, and I call that Myofascial energetics, and that combines Myofascial techniques with polarity and craniosacral and a lot of Somato-emotional unwinding so I support people in moving in ways that allow their body to become expressed, and to express things that they didn’t know they were feeling, or it could reveal holding patterns. It’s very connected actually to the somatic breathwork that I do, but you don’t necessarily have to have the breathing involved as well – so it’s a more gentle approach to doing emotional release and unwinding and I like to combine those together. I also do just classical Polarity and Craniosacral as well.
If someone is newer to energy healing and they’re not sure what to sign up for or where to start, what should they do?
I would start with a consultation to find out where they’re at, and address the challenges that they’re experiencing. Also — what is their experience with healing work? If it’s their first session, I’d note that, and we’d start with some facilitative dialogue and just some general coaching – things around their lifestyle to really help support their process. Provided we continue to work together, I would also start to take a look at breathwork, starting with more relaxing, down-regulating, harmonizing types of breathing (breathing that you might find in pranayama or classical yoga). I’d start there just to build some general self-awareness, general mindfulness, and then work into deeper and deeper breathing techniques, and oscillate between those two of process-oriented dialogue and lifestyle coaching, and breathing practices to help deepen the process.
I’m really excited to be sharing this work. I think that the intersection between embodiment and somatics and working with ancestors and working with plant medicines, — that intersection of of the three is a really powerful way to make progress in our development of being human. (Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Training in progress) And working with those three in a very relational way is what I’ve found to be exciting — an exciting prospect and each of them can be pre, post, — there’s lots of different ways these things can work with each other, and I’m just excited to be on this precipice in this space – working, doing, exploring, cultivating, researching all the nerdy, geeky things.
Adrian offers all services online (except bodywork) as well as in-person. Check out his offerings and book your first consultation at: https://soteriahealing.com/offerings/