Somatic Experiencing is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. It offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states.
Trauma is defined as experience(s) that overwhelm the nervous system’s ability to respond in an adaptive manner–it may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat, or as the end product of stress that is cumulative. Both types of stress can significantly interfere with a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may 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 corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.
HOW IT WORKS
The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions. Although Somatic Experiencing forms the basis of how I work with clients, I generally do not use it as a “stand alone” approach, but in conjunction with my eclectic approach to healing (in particular, along with EMDR and Ego State Therapy). For more information on Somatic Experiencing, please see traumahealing.org.