Treatment Modalities: What is Somatic Experiencing?

What is Somatic Experiencing?

In short, Somatic Experiencing® is a powerful type of trauma resolution therapy that heals the mind-body connection.

Psychology Today defines trauma as “anything that is too much, too soon, or too fast for our nervous system to handle, especially if we can’t reach a successful resolution.”

The Somatic Experiencing method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. This advanced trauma modality helps to release traumatic shock, which is key to recovering from PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. Like other somatic psychology approaches, Somatic Experiencing utilizes a body-first approach to dealing with the problematic (and, oftentimes, physical) symptoms of trauma. This modality assesses the physical sensations that underlie our feelings, and uncovering our habitual behavior patterns to these feelings. In Somatic Experiencing, the traumatic event isn’t what caused the trauma, but rather the overwhelmed response to the perceived life threat that is causing an unbalanced nervous system. The aim is to therefore assist in discharging the physical memory of the event and re-regulate the nervous system.

When trauma occurs, the body, because of eons of evolutionary conditioning, creates a “charge” in the nervous system that leads to the fight-flight-freeze response. Somatic Experiencing suggests that those suffering from PTSD-like symptoms have remained stuck in this fight-flight-freeze mode and failed to give their bodies the cues that they are again safe, otherwise known as “dysregulation.”

In a Somatic Experiencing session, clients are urged to explore the physical sensations that accompany their emotions and uncover the habitual behaviors developed in response to these feelings. Somatic Experiencing holds that the negative event isn’t what caused the trauma, but rather the nervous system’s overwhelmed response to the perceived threat that is causing the distress and imbalance. Thus, Somatic Experiencing works to discharge the physical memory of the event in order to reset the nervous system.

 

 

Want to find out if Somatic Experiencing is right for you? Get in touch today.

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