A Somatic Experiencing®
Trauma Therapy Session
We have a deep, natural instinct for healing…if we allow it.
We humans have a huge cerebral cortex. That is our thinking and intellectual brain, which other animals lack or have in much smaller versions. While valuable for problem-solving, this highly sophisticated brain fails us in recovering from loss or trauma because in that arena, an entirely different part of the brain is in charge, the so-called reptilian brain, devoted to our survival.
The cerebral processes of thinking, planning, worrying, and responding to social expectations can inhibit the expression and “discharging” of the fight-flight energy in the reptilian brain. We suppress crying, shaking, shuddering, and other natural responses which could help us to rapidly get our lives back to normal.
Fortunately, like the other animals, we still have the lower “survival-oriented” brain, the part which has protected us instinctively from danger many times by helping us to react quickly and appropriately. Even though that part of us may have gotten stuck in fight, flight, or freeze, it can also get unstuck. We can recover this healthy, natural response relatively easily. The excess anxiety in our nervous system can be discharged. Most people then get significant relief quickly. And with more time, distressing emotions dissolve and are replaced with a growing sense of optimism, energy, and clear thinking to meet life’s pleasures and challenges.
Bringing our full attention to our physical experience allows the discharge of anxiety and enables a natural healing process.
The symptoms of trauma are the result of a highly activated, incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. By enabling this frozen response to thaw, move ahead in time and then complete, trauma can be healed.
— Dr. Peter Levine, originator of Somatic Experiencing, author “Waking the Tiger”
The question then is how do we get our reptilian brains to fully realize that we’ve moved on, that old pains and wounds are in the past and that, by and large, we are safe today? The language of our reptilian brain is not words and ideas, but imagination and sensation. We can remember or re-learn how to allow ourselves to discharge that pent-up survival energy. Whether on the phone, in person, or online, I will invite you to share with me what is on your mind…what is troubling you. I offer a compassionate ear, because I know what it is like to suffer, to not have your life working the way you need it to. And I respect your courage in wanting to change and asking for help. At every appropriate opportunity, I will assist you in becoming more aware of your moment-by-moment physical experience, of your sensations. My teachers and my life experience have taught me that this is the most immediate path to healing.
When you bring your attention to your bodily sensations with an accepting and curious presence, your nervous system can discharge pent-up tension left over from past experiences that were too difficult for you to deal with at that time. Most of us have years of traumas, disappointments, boundary violations, and losses stacked up inside our nervous systems. The more of that old tension you are able to discharge, the better you will feel.
A Somatic Experiencing therapy session often feels quite magical as you remember that, deep inside you, your body and nervous system already knows how to do this. It is an entirely natural process!
Find out more. Contact me for a free 1/2 hour counseling session.