Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy

JOY Coaching using Somatic Experiencing:

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EASY DOES IT START:  Release Stress Patterns… An Introduction to Somatic Experiencing- A 4 part powerful workshop series: $149 (starts April 22, 2019)

Inspiration AND redirection rather than motivation for reaching and completing goals.

Uh… WHAT exactly is Somatic Experiencing? 

Somatic Experiencing or SE is weird and badass.  This body-orientated system helps release stored trauma. It’s a completely different way to approach making healthy shifts in the body which translate (DIRECTLY I have found) to being able to set, stick with and finally COMPLETE goals effectively. 

First a bit about Trauma and who has trauma

Most everyone has experienced trauma at some point in their lives.  Trauma is not just related to major events, although some of us have had plenty of those!  Many common traumas most of us don’t even register as being traumatic because they are a typical part of life.  What is often perceived as lack of motivation can actually be trauma blocking the ability to stick with actions leading to achieving  goals.  Many of us are literally living in a state of chronic low-level stress response (fight/flight/freeze) due to beliefs, maladaptive early childhood attachment coping mechanisms and inability to access the relaxation response.  This state of arousal (the stress response) is designed to be used occasionally for short periods of time, and is traumatic to the system when it is unchecked.

A few examples of the more under appreciated common traumas:

  • Unremitting Financial Stress
  • Body image issues
  • Unhealthy relationship patterns
  • High risk behaviors
  • Over exercising, over working or over scheduling
  • Chronic dieting

Some additional less known traumas can be:

  • Being ignored and suffering neglect as a child.  It can be actually more impactful than direct physical maltreatment.
  • All losses because they are so common, can lack completion especially when we are expected to move on or “get over it” before the body, mind and spirit are truly done processing the change.  These include deaths, loss of jobs (aka identity), homes, friendships, financial and the aging process with the loss of physicality.
  • Conflict between the primary caregivers can have significant rippling effects in adult life.

Of course then there are the bigger more recognized occurrences associated with trauma like:

  • Accidents both big or small
  • Injuries
  • Invasive medical procedures. This is perhaps a little less known, but especially when you are unconscious for any type of procedure, the body can experience immobility as inability to defend one’s self and it registers as trauma.
  • Any type of physical assault.
  • Emotional abuse.
  • Natural disasters. Again, the powerlessness of being able to control one’s surrounding is traumatic to the organism.

How does SE work? My Take:

The SE approach is about bottom up processing.  Rather than doing a lot of talking, or rehashing about what happened which allows the brain to interfere with healing, SE allows the body to “talk”.  The body often has a VERY different story to tell than that of the personality that is doing the talking. When I first started SE therapy, I cannot tell you how many times I thought, “I’m paying good money for this?!?  How in the world can this be helping me when my therapist keeps interrupting my stories, gently insisting that I sense into what my body is feeling?”  Because I am so wired and used to analyzing everything from my mind, it was very challenging for me to access my body sensations and describe them.  Even more challenging was to then stay with the sensations long enough for them to release.  Further, when asked to “explore” some of the involuntary movements that my body was making by slowing them down, I was stunned at the small to sometimes quite large emotional release that would occur.  It was just so unexpected as there was so little verbal communication involved.  It was frustrating, weird, uncomfortable, exciting and most of all… helpful… VERY HELPFUL.  How lovely that it was helpful in spite of my not so great attitude toward it.   

It’s all about Titration

The SE approach helps the body to COMPLETE responses that have become thwarted during the course of continuing on with our lives after a traumatic event.  This completion happens by RELEASING the survival energy that is bound up in the body.  This is done in a gentle titrated process to allow healing without creating more trauma.  GRADUALLY one learns to tolerate difficult bodily sensations and feel emotions that have been suppressed.  In the case of healing trauma, Slow is Real. 

Just in case you need a little more clarification on Titration:

Titration in a chemistry lab is the art of adding one substance to another substance in a slow measured way to create the solution or the mixture wanted without creating an unwanted harmful chemical reaction.

The SE process works with bits and pieces of trauma allowing the body to heal, release and unwind without creating an unwanted harmful reaction (aka re-traumatizing). 

How we store trauma and completion of the cycle

When the body isn’t given the time or have the capacity to fully process trauma, that energy gets bound up in the body.

Here’s a simple example:  You are driving along with your family in the car or in my case, my four dogs, and out of nowhere a big huge truck almost hits you.  The system will register a healthy (expected) stress response to almost being hit.  But once the immediate fear passes, most of us just continue driving along to that next appointment or in my case out to the trail for our hike. The body has not necessarily been given proper time to process the physical process that occurs and allow its release.  The energy gets bound up in the nervous system.  Because a lot of us are so used to living with this low to high chronic stress response, we don’t even realize the impact it is having on our lives.  This bound up energy may or may not manifest in trauma symptoms right away but in all likelihood, this energy will come out sideways at some point.

What do you mean come out sideways?

Have you ever wondered why you don’t do what it is you KNOW is best for you?  Often, we think we just don’t have the willpower, or motivation.  It is the stored trauma and energy coming out in ways that are seemingly unrelated that can block actions that complete goals, create intentions and manifest dreams.  This is the subconscious (the body) driving the bus.   We often think we are in charge of our decisions and actions with our conscious mind, but sorry to say… we are NOT.  The subconscious (the body) is really the one at the wheel almost ALL THE TIME.

The subconscious taking charge of the driving can not only affect our behaviors, but it definitely affects our thoughts.  The subconscious thoughts that are not being brought to light will and do block our attempts at manifesting.  So that vision board is awesome but if there is a just one stinky belief or thought dwelling in the subconscious that says, “you don’t deserve it” or something else limiting, those lovely images that you pasted with care are not going to come to fruition. 

A Big Round of Applause for your body!

The body’s natural intelligence stores what cannot be processed until later.  Seriously the body’s intelligence is just so impressive.  It is miraculous really and should not be underestimated or under appreciated.  And with the Somatic Experiencing tools allowing the body to be FELT and listened to creates enormous healing.  Let’s just take a moment here and give your body a big THANK YOU for being so incredibly awesome… well done body… woot woot!

MORE COOL STUFF about manifesting and reaching goals…

Another great resourcing tool in SE is rewiring the body so it can orient to simple non-addictive pleasures.  We are wired to look for and focus on what isn’t going well in order to survive.  Historically this has been important, even now, it can be helpful at times.  But because a lot of us are wired to always focus on what’s not right, there’s not a lot of room for thankfulness and joy.  Learning how to orient to pleasurable things, no matter how small they are, help the system to pendulate, reorganize and regulate.  Orientating to pleasure also sets up gratitude.  When it comes to manifesting, living in a state of gratitude is the cornerstone to bringing in what you truly desire to have in your life.

Last little bit for now…

SE is not a quick fix but the time and energy spent allowing the system to recalibrate has been life altering.  This unique approach to unblocking what keeps us from living our best lives is as powerful as it is unexpected.

AngelaSomatic Experiencing