Do any of these sound like you?
You’ve tried talk therapy – maybe for several years. You understand the issues getting in the way of living a full life, but still can’t seem to fix them.
You struggle with some form of addictive or compulsive behavior – like an eating disorder, substance abuse, shopping, gambling, internet addiction, porn, and/or sex – despite getting help.
You’ve worked with the best therapists, even traveling halfway around the world to participate in the greatest self-actualization and trauma healing workshops, but you still feel frustrated.
You wrestle with anxiety, depression, or some kind of discomfort as you move through your daily life.
You keep asking yourself why you’re still struggling, despite all your efforts.
If you answered yes to any of these, you might be a great candidate for Somatic Experiencing.
Most of my clients have been in and out of therapeutic treatment for years yet still find themselves struggling in one way or another. They truly understand their trauma history and how it is impacting their present lives.
But while it can be helpful to cultivate an awareness of how past traumatic experiences impact present behaviors, that intellectual understanding is not how the issues at hand get fully resolved. In order to heal emotionally, spiritually, and physically we need to invite the body into the process.
Why? Think about this: if trauma results from energy which gets locked in the body when we experience real or perceived threat, then shouldn’t our pain get resolved – or unlocked – through the body as well?
When I begin working with clients, the first thing I do is invite them to be curious about what is happening in the here and now. By doing so, I move a client out of their head and orient them in the present moment. Cultivating an awareness of the present moment is the first step in moving out of the why something is happening to the what is happening in the here and now.
Clients will often interrupt the process to ask why something is the way it is. When this happens, I know they are attempting to distract themselves from the discomfort they are experiencing. As human beings, our default is to move away from pain. So when leftover trauma is unresolved, we disconnect from the body as a survival mechanism to cope with the discomfort.
My job is to bring the individual back to the present moment in a safe and gentle way. I ask them to simply notice their tendency to go to the “why.” Then, I can begin to educate the client about the importance of bringing the body into the healing. By doing so, I assist in developing a greater window of tolerance for the uncomfortable elements of their experience. Even the process of educating begins to create safety. For some clients, just knowing that we do not have to find a “solution” to their pain – a pressure which many clients feel in talk therapy – can be a relief to their nervous system. By bringing awareness to what their body is experiencing in a safe way, I can show the client they have the ability to be in the present moment without feeling overwhelmed.
My aim is to help you move through the pain rather than circumnavigate it. Avoiding it only intensifies and prolongs the problem. Moving through past pain allows for the traumatic memory to be resolved in the body so the individual may build more resilience. Your daily life is no longer is hijacked by trauma; those memories can stay in the past where they belong.
Somatic Experiencing helps individuals be in charge rather than in control. When one seeks control, it is usually because they are trying to tame something that feels out of control. This is a common response to trauma. Yet when you feel safe and supported in your own body, when you are able to move through the past and be in the present again, you become the captain of the ship that is your life. In time, you begin to react less often and let go of fear, anxiety and shame, feel more alive and “like yourself.”
If talk therapy hasn’t been completely effective in helping you create this sense of safety in yourself, I invite you to search for a Somatic Experiencing practitioner in your area (link to directory). When you feel safe to be, then you are truly free