You’ve experienced some tough stuff
When really hard things happen in life, they impact you mentally, physically and emotionally. How you react to challenging experiences can further impact your well-being.
Maybe you’re here because ever since that hard event happened, you’ve changed, and not in ways that feel good. You may be:
- re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive, distressing memories of the event, flashbacks, and/or nightmares.
- emotionally numb and actively avoiding places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
- having difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and/or being easily irritated and angered.
Untreated trauma can also leave you feeling highly anxious, depressed, feeling guilty or struggling to feel emotions like joy and ease. Often, my clients talk about feeling “stuck” in negative thought patterns, in life and in their relationships.
And when it feels like you can’t escape the physical and emotional pain, you may do what so many others do: bury it, ignore it, or try to medicate it away.
Unfortunately, trauma is a fact of life and a common experience for many
An estimated 5.2 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or approximately 3.6 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD. (https://www.apa.org/research/action/ptsd) Overwhelming and threatening experiences, when not properly treated, can lead to symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and play a role in the development of addictions and eating disorders.
Traumatic experiences can come from being in a car accident, going to war, being in an abusive relationship, crime and experiencing a natural disaster.
If you’re struggling with symptoms of PTSD, this doesn’t mean that there is anything inherently wrong with you or that you are “weak.” What it means is that you experienced something that was too much for your physiology and brain to handle, so much so that you couldn’t integrate the experience and move on from it.
Trauma isn’t as much about the event that occurred but about what happened to your nervous system such that it got stuck in fight, flight, or freeze.
Somatic Experiencing and how it can help you move forward
Somatic Experiencing is a particularly helpful approach to treating shock trauma, a specific event or experience that was scary, life-threatening and overwhelming. The SE™ approach releases traumatic shock held in the body, which is key to transforming PTSD and helping your nervous system come back into balance.
Somatic Experiencing is a short-term naturalistic approach to help resolve trauma in the body and restore goodness. It was developed by Dr. Peter Levine, author of books such as Waking the Tiger, In An Unspoken Voice and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids.
SE professes a body first approach to dealing with the problematic (and, oftentimes, physical) symptoms of trauma. This means that therapy isn’t about reclaiming memories or changing our thoughts and beliefs about how we feel but looking at the sensations that lie underneath our feelings and uncovering our habitual behavior patterns in reaction to these feelings.
The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of survival behaviors and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This occurs by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.
In addition, Somatic Experiencing:
- employs awareness of body sensations to help people “renegotiate” and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
- allows the big survival energies of fight and flight survival to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
- supports slowing you down to titrate or break down into small, incremental steps, your experience rather than evoking large experiences of release – which can feel overwhelming.
- may employ touch in support of the renegotiation process.
- helps you harness the power of your biology and befriend your body in order to heal from the inside out.
SE can bring you many positive benefits including:
- Relief of traumatic stress symptoms
- Increased resiliency
- Stronger sense of self
- Feeling resourced from the inside-out
- Feeling more at ease in the world
- Having a healthier relationship with your body.
Like any other treatment, it may also have unintended negative side effects such as sleep disturbances, frightening memories, or unfamiliar and uncomfortable body sensations. Such reactions are not uncommon and can be attended to in the course of our work together.
Trauma doesn’t have to be a life sentence
Unfortunately, trauma won’t resolve on it’s own and you can’t just think your way out of it. Because trauma is something that happens to the body, it needs a body-centered approach for true resolution. If you could have already thought your way out of trauma, I trust that you would have. However, with the help of a trained and compassionate therapist, you can find relief through Somatic Experiencing and you can get back to living your best life possible.
Perhaps you’re curious but have more questions
Why is a somatic approach/Somatic Experiencing to healing trauma so important?
Whatever affects your body affects your mind and whatever impacts your mind lives in your body. So, to make positive changes, Somatic Experiencing sessions revolve around transformation through the following means
1. SE helps you learn to listen to your body, through sensations, behaviors, impulses, physiological shifts and changes in your posture. Since trauma is in the body, the more you become aware of your body’s responses, the more effective you can be resolving it.
2. SE helps you reframe and re-negotiate your traumatic experience. Experiencing less stress and feeling less affected by triggers improves concentration and your ability to be productive and resilient. Moreover, hope, self-confidence, and renewed interest in your abilities and life possibilities resurface.
3. SE helps your body discharge excess survival energy that got trapped in the body. The release allows for a return to a more balanced state. In the end, this leads to a sense of freedom, rejuvenation, stability, and persistent calm. Also, discomfort is no longer a way of life. In addition, concentration and engagement with others improve.
With COVID-19 in effect, I don’t want to come in. Can we do sessions remotely?
Some people really like online therapy because they don’t have to battle traffic and get to be in the comfort of their own home. We also support people practicing social distancing as much as possible. Somatic Experiencing can be easily done while using a video platform. We encourage using a video platform so that we can at least see your upper body and help you to become more aware of what’s happening inside you.
How long will treatment take?
The simple answer is that it will take less time the more you practice the skills and mindset shifts that you will learn in sessions. Consistent weekly or bi-weekly sessions also helps.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not accept insurance currently. However, if you are looking for reimbursement, we can provide you with the appropriate documentation to submit. We also encourage you to contact your insurance provider to confirm what your benefits are with “out of network providers.”
You can heal from the hard stuff!
If it sounds like Somatic Therapy Partners would be a good fit, please reach out to learn more and/or schedule your first session. We look forward to serving you.
There is so much love for you here!
For further references and information online about Somatic Experiencing go to http://www.traumahealing.com