"There is a great deal of human nature in people." ~Mark Twain
What is Somatic Experiencing?
Somatic comes from the root word, soma, which means the body. Originally developed by Dr. Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-oriented approach towards the healing of traumatic or overwhelming life situations and chronic stress with a specific focus on nervous system regulation; as well as release and completion of self-protective responses (orienting / fight / flight / freeze). SE supports individuals to move out of survival stress physiology into more flow, embodiment and aliveness.
Processing trauma with Somatic Experiencing® is not the same as traditional talk therapy. Focusing exclusively on the story or cognitive content has the potential to trigger highly activated states of survival energy. SE emphasizes the renegotiation of traumatic or stressful experiences through nervous system awareness, regulation and discharge. We explore trauma and stress through physical sensations, spontaneous images, movement, behavior, emotions, memory and meaning. This process allows for an organic reorginization in our nervous system leading to symptom resolution and lasting change.
SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® focuses on:
***using sensory awareness to help your nervous system to settle and re-establish the body’s felt sense of itself
***building confidence to notice sensations with curiosity without getting overwhelmed
***building the capacity to tolerate both pleasure and pain through the skill of titration (taking on one small amount of emotion or sensation at a time until it integrates)
***self-nurturing and self-soothing to support settling and containment
***coming back to your window of tolerance as well as expanding capacity for resilience
***restoring healthy boundaries and connection with yourself and others
***recognizing the tendency to disregard or override your body responses and learning to heed their wisdom
Somatic Experiencing® is a gentle therapy. There is little to be gained in re-traumatizing our nervous systems by re-living a traumatic event, or by working with cathartic (emotional) methods or strictly cognitive methods, since these approaches work with the higher brain centers, not the primitive brain centers which mediate survival energies.
To work directly with the inherent wisdom of the body, SE largely bypasses the cognitive brain centers (Neocortex) by utilizing the language of the primitive brain: sensation. By working together in a state of resourced, pleasant body sensations and gradually working with the edge of the nervous system activation, the inherent body wisdom takes over. Gradually working the edges of the nervous system's capacity, we allow for the discharge and completion of the instinctual survival energies, resulting in a restored sense of settling and well being.
Our work together will be a combination of education about the Autonomic Nervous System (to give our higher brains something to grasp), and exercises to restore healthy nervous system responses and self-regulation, and eventual discharge and renegotiation of stress/defensive/survival physiology.
What can you expect from a session?
As a second year Somatic Experiencing® student (Three year program), I offer SE based sessions both in-person or on-line. I also weave SE practices into my current offerings of Structural Integration and Embodied Pelvic Care. We may use SE to explore "stuck" areas of the body during a Structural Integration session or we may use SE to reestablish healthy boundaries during an Embodied Pelvic Care session. SE offers a unique opportunity to become proficient in the language and embodiment of sensations.
In addition to incorporating SE in my current practice, I offer introductory workshops on the nervous system (ANS) and how it relates to unresolved stress and trauma in the body, as well as teach practices to complete the stress response cycles of the body.
"RE-MEMBERING YOUR AUTHENTIC NATURE"
Integrative Hood River 413 Sherman Ave. Hood River, OR 97031 541.490.4968 www.integrativehoodriver.com firstname.lastname@example.org