“There is one thing that leads to a happy life . . . And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body.”
–The Buddha, from the Satipatthana Sutta
What Is Somatic Therapy?
Somatic therapy is a highly effective and proven body-centered approach to healing trauma. Because trauma is held in the body as well as the mind, talking is not enough. We must help the body to release the trauma and gain resilience. Through techniques that help the nervous system regulate as you feel supported and safe, somatic therapies allow you to slowly release trauma, let go of tension, come back into a natural rhythm and tap into your innate capacity for tolerance and strength.
This multidimensional work has its roots in Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing (SE), an approach developed to promote awareness and release the physical tension that lingers after trauma. The effectiveness of somatic therapy is further validated by 15 years of advanced neuroscience research on the neuroplasticity of the brain—the brain’s ability to create and alter its pathways. Ongoing, cutting edge research into somatic psychology is waking us up to the true function of the brain/body connection and our astounding, inherent capacity to heal using body-based trauma treatment techniques. This holistic therapy considers the relationship between the mind and body and your personal history by promoting trauma healing in ways that no form of talk therapy can.
The Somatic Therapy Process
Trauma is literally stored in the body, almost like a muscle memory, which is why trauma needs to be released through the body. In order for you to feel safe again, it’s essential that the body’s defense response is completed and the trauma is released. Somatic therapies, from SE to NeuroAffective Touch, facilitate the slow release of trauma energy from the nervous system, allowing the brain and body to integrate the trauma experience in digestible, bite-sized pieces. As you complete the trauma cycle safely, mind-body-heart injuries are repaired, leading to increased feelings of balance, calm and long-term healing and relief.
When we perceive an event as life threatening and/or high stress, the body kicks into a fight, flight or freeze response. In an attempt to protect you as a whole person from something dangerous, the brain releases chemicals into the body, charging it to fight or run. And, if neither of those defense mechanisms is possible, the body goes into a freeze state. The unresolved energy left in the body creates trauma symptoms, which when left unaddressed, can worsen over time and may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can plague people for years—essentially until the trauma is properly resolved. This is why people who experienced developmental trauma—usually created through some kind of chronic or ongoing dysfunction—struggle with mental, emotional and physical distress for years, often without making the connection to the past and/or understanding why they continue to struggle with ongoing trauma and crises in their lives.
Our Somatic Therapy and Trauma Therapy Practice
We bring decades of trauma therapy experience and advanced training to our practice, and, through somatic therapy and other trauma treatment methods, we have witnessed and helped facilitate extraordinary healing. Together, we embark on a healing journey that is rooted in proven trauma treatment approaches, along with kindness, safety, attunement and compassion. We know both personally and professionally that everyone experiences and processes trauma differently, which is why together we tailor a trauma treatment plan that best supports and addresses your unique needs, values, history and therapy goals. Whether you’ve experienced a single incident trauma or ongoing developmental trauma, in the safety of our offices you can finally experience relief, heal, make personal discoveries and grow. Using somatic approaches, perhaps in conjunction with EMDR, Mindfulness and Attachment Repair, it is possible to release the trauma stuck in your body, make cognitive connections and regulate the nervous system so you can become responsive rather than reactive and live with increased joy, ease and peace.
We know how painful living with trauma can be. Yet, with over 25 years of treating trauma and engaging in our personal healing journeys, we also know the healing power of somatic counseling and other trauma therapy modalities. You don’t have to live in distress anymore. Somatic therapies have the astounding potential to heal trauma where other modalities have been ineffective. Even (or especially) if you’ve tried therapy in the past that hasn’t worked, using a somatic approach, it is possible to finally heal trauma and tap into the strength and resilience that are in you. With the guidance and compassionate support of an experienced trauma therapist and an approach or combination of approaches that resonate with you, you can move forward into a bigger and brighter future. It is possible to feel safe, calm, confident, worthy, healthy, whole and truly alive again.
Tap Into Your Body’s Astounding Capacity To Heal
You no longer need to try to manage painful feelings or make sense of trauma on your own. If you’re in Los Angeles, CA or the surrounding area, we can help. We invite you to call Stephanie at 310-391-5851 or Lee Ann at 310-915-5950 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions you have about somatic therapy, other approaches to trauma treatment and our practice.