Somatic Therapy

What Is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic Experiencing therapy is a highly effective and proven body-centered approach to healing stress disorders and trauma. Because trauma is held in the body as well as the mind, talking is not enough.

By helping the nervous system regulate itself and for you to feel safe, somatic therapy allows you to slowly release trauma from your body and tap into your capacity to heal and become resilient.

Why do we use body-based therapies?

Why Do We Need to Address the Body in Somatic Therapy?

The brain and the body are intimately intertwined, the brain sending out innumerable signals and instructions to the body every second and the body sending back even more.

Our body has three responses to danger—fight, flight and freeze. When we are overwhelmed, our bodies go into one of these states and that becomes our default mode. We become hypervigilant, scanning the environment for danger, or shut down, frozen.

A resilient body is able to feel at ease under normal conditions and kick into a higher gear when danger is present. However, we can’t reason our bodies into this ability to regulate itself. An example is many people’s fear of flying. They can learn all about the statistics of airplane safety but that doesn’t stop the body from being fearful and avoidant.

Somatic therapy is designed to help restore the body’s self-regulation once it has been thrown out of balance by trauma.

How Can Somatic Therapy Help?

Stress shows up in the body in countless ways including:

  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness
Stress also shows up in our emotions when we feel:

  • Chronic depression
  • Anxious
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Hurt
  • Scared

The weight of our traumatic experiences saps our very life force. When we release trauma from the body, the body becomes less stressed, symptoms ease and we feel a sense of safety. In releasing trauma from the body, the body becomes less stressed and symptoms ease as a sense of safety is developed.

 

What Is a Somatic Therapy Session Like?

This is a difficult question to answer because, unlike EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy), somatic therapy doesn’t have a specific format. Every body tells a non-verbal story of what happened and it is the therapist’s work to help the body reveal and resolve that story. This could take various forms such as:

  • Assisting the body in releasing the stored traumatic energy
  • Aiding the body in completing the defensive response it wasn’t able to do in the traumatic event
  • Re-establishing the rhythm of the nervous system so that it can come out of a chronic state of hypervigilance, fight, flight or          freeze.

Somatic sessions are unique because whatever comes up in the moment will be addressed. Other therapies like EMDR, mindfulness and attachment repair may be interwoven into sessions as needed.

Our Somatic Therapy and Trauma Therapy Practice

We know how painful living with trauma can be. With over 25 years of treating trauma and engaging in our own personal healing journeys, we also know the healing power of somatic counseling and other trauma therapies. Even if you have tried therapy in the past and haven’t found it successful, by using a somatic approach it is possible to finally heal trauma and tap into the strength and resilience that are in you.