SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® THERAPY
The Somatic Experiencing® method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. This method is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, and comes from his studies of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics.
THE SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® APPROACH
Interestingly, this techniques provides an opportunity to see where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze and provides tools to help resolve this. With that said, it provides skills great for a variety of healing professions including: mental health, medicine, physical therapy and occupational therapy, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, and education.
Trauma may begin as an acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end result of cumulative stress. Unfortunately, both types of stress can impair a person’s ability to function with ease. It should be noted that trauma can result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.
HOW SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® THERAPY WORKS?
The Somatic Experiencing® approach is the method for the completion of self-protecting motor responses and for the release of blocked survival energy in the body – thus finding the root cause of the trauma symptoms. Uniquely, by gently guiding clients to develop an increased tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions, we are able to decrease fight, flight or freeze.
The traumatic event isn’t what caused the trauma, it is the response to the perceived threat that is causing an unbalanced nervous system. The goal is to help you access the body memory of the event, not the story. This means we don’t have to discuss what happened if you don’t want to.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Here we introduce the concept of titration – which means slowly releasing energy. Operating in cycles, you sense your way through the normal flows of sensations – contraction/expansion, pleasure/pain, warmth/cold – but only at the level that you can handle. This repeated process helps you to develop a greater capacity to handle stress and to stay in the present moment, where you belong.
BOTTOM UP PROCESSING
Like other somatic psychology approaches, Somatic Experiencing® Therapy promotes a body first approach to dealing with the problematic (and, oftentimes, physical) symptoms of trauma. This means that therapy isn’t about recovering memories or changing our thoughts and beliefs about how we feel. But, is about looking at the sensations that lie underneath our feelings and uncovering our behavior patterns to these feelings.