Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing Sessions

Due to COVID-19 I am now offering Online Somatic Experiencing Therapy sessions over Skype or Zoom. These are not psychotherapy sessions but focused on the resolution of trauma from a somatic perspective.

Somatic Experiencing therapy, most importantly, addresses the body and nervous system. By easily resolving stuck symptoms of past difficult trauma we get more settling with every session.

Somatic Experiencing therapy addresses the resulting stress of trauma. Such as, emotional or physical abuse, accidents, surgeries, or impact falls. Balancing internal experience with the external presence of safe and reliable support, we free up tension. Therefore, we feel more calm, safe, and supported. Click here for more on What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

Somatic Experiencing

How does Somatic Experiencing work?

SE reduces the effects of stress from past difficult events, increasing spontaneity. You may feel more internal stability and ease in a single session. This early beneficial effect sets the stage for the careful working through of past trauma and other symptoms of PTSD.

Bringing more resource, clarity, and general ease in the body allows us to stay grounded during states of challenging activity. Such as, highly stressful states from past traumatic experience. Curious what a session looks like?

Therefore, the more somatic sessions we have, the greater our internal capacity will be. We can resource and ground during memory states that would otherwise be overwhelming and cause anxiety, depression, or other trauma symptoms.

How do I know if it’s working?

Client’s report feeling more ease, less anxiety, less frustration, less anger or other chronic emotional triggers in a few sessions. That said, depending on the kind of trauma and the amount of stress involved, it is hard to know at first how many therapy sessions we need.

What if I have complex trauma from early relational abuse?

Complex trauma, such as childhood physical abuse or emotional neglect, requires longer term therapy to fill in the developmental gaps. For more information on complex trauma please read, Complex Trauma and SE. Car accidents, natural disasters, and sudden loss are considered shock trauma. The resulting traumatic stress locked inside the body can be worked through in less frequent visits.

What will Somatic Experiencing help me with?

A few common symptoms of stress from past traumatic experience are: insomnia, emotional triggers, digestive problems, chronic physical illness, feeling jumpy, social anxiety, outbursts, or addictive behavior. Somatic Experiencing is also a great way to support stress resilience and the restoration of stability and integration after a spiritual crisis. Spiritual crisis can open the body’s containment strategy more than it can safely process.

How to choose a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

SE therapists come to this work from therapies such as Massage, Acupuncture, Psychotherapy, and western medicine. When exploring the possibility of working with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner find out what other therapeutic forms of training they have had.

Firstly, SE is a complete therapy of it’s own. Secondly, it is a supplemental therapy to address traumatic material arising to the surface through other forms of therapy. As we open in our other therapies the body may release traumatic material. Therefore, it can be confusing and difficult without enough training in the biology of stress.

How do we start?

A Somatic Experiencing practitioner will spend a few sessions resourcing, establishing safety, and helping you to establish a comfortable connection to your body. You should feel a sense of confidence in the containment during the early process. A good Somatic Experiencing practitioner will work with your body’s pace to manage and integrate difficult experience in an empowering way.

What are some common trauma symptoms

• anxiety, phobias, excessive thinking/worrying, and panic attacks
• depression, quick mood swings, feeling stuck or lethargic, chronic fatigue
• sleep disturbance, digestion problems, difficulty making decisions
• isolating or avoidance behaviors, shyness, shame
• being extra sensitive to sound, light, touch, or transitions

More reading on Somatic Experiencing

Peter Levine

In “Completion and Remembering” Peter Levine reveals how he sees the body of a traumatized individual, through his theory of Somatic Experiencing, as a kind of freeze frame of stuck self-protective responses. The somatic response is held captive inside. Somatic Experiencing sees true resolution of trauma as the completion of incomplete survival responses. Therefore, the ensuing discharge of truncated survival energy is released.

Further reading on SE.

In “Healing Trauma Through the Body” Ariel Giarretto speaks of Somatic Experience practitioners as having the job to assist the client in tracking experience internally. Thereby, assisting them in their return to self-regulation. For traumatized clients, entering into the body and into contact with felt experience is the way through symptomatic distress. Somatic experiencing does not avoid but takes the client into the source of the trauma symptom. Through following the body’s wisdom we are led to experience what didn’t get to happen in the past traumatic event.

Contact Joel: 510-229-9765 Berkeley / Oakland Office

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