SOMATIC EXPERIENCING


A gentle therapy for clearing and relieving the symptoms of trauma by discharging unresolved survival energies.

Trauma is a fact of life.  Many of us, including but not limited to soldiers and victims of abuse or attack, have been traumatized. If you have ever experienced natural disasters, exposure to violence, accidents, falls, serious illness, loss of a loved one, surgeries, medical or dental procedures, or a difficult birth, you have undergone trauma.

Because trauma relates to the primitive “fight, flight or freeze” part of our brain, symptoms of trauma tend to relate to the core functions of the human body: breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, appetite, digestion, and sleep.

Somatic Experiencing is a ground-breaking method of gentle trauma resolution that uses touch along the edges of the nervous system to help the body release retained tension. When practiced in conjunction with craniosacral therapy, Somatic Experiencing brings you deeper into your body. 


Image courtesy of Patrick Raycraft

Image courtesy of Patrick Raycraft

What Are The Symptoms Of Trauma?

Some symptoms of unresolved trauma include:

  • panic or anxiety (including panic attacks)

  • hyper-vigilance

  • chronic pain

  • sleep disorders

  • nightmares

  • chronic tension

  • addiction of all kinds

  • migraines

  • gastrointestinal disorders

  • poor elimination

  • dissociation


The Science Behind Trauma

When was the last time you shook off trauma?

In nature, animals do this naturally. After being chased ("flight” response) or attacked (“fight” response), an animal will literally shake off the stress, discharging the nervous energy in its body before rejoining the herd.

In humans, it doesn’t always work this way. Our cognitive and emotional capacities—though a gift—override the primitive part of our brain that governs survival. On the heels of a traumatic event, our thoughts and emotions distract us from physically disposing of stress.

If we don’t “shake off” the stress of a traumatic event, it remains locked in our body as "freeze" -- the same state of immobility an animal assumes if they cannot fight or run away. In this state the animal is preparing for one of two things: death or a last minute escape.

Though calm-looking on the outside, in humans, this state of immobility is internally comparable to what happens in a car when we step on the brake and the accelerator at the same time -- a huge amount of energy is revving, usually below our conscious awareness, creating the symptoms of trauma as we know them.  

Somatic Experiencing bypasses the cognitive brain centers by utilizing the language of the primitive brain, which is sensation. Through gentle touch, this therapy activates the nervous system so it can finally discharge trauma, and settle into its natural state of well-being.

Like craniosacral therapy, Somatic Experiencing is rooted in the premise that we, like animals, are biologically designed to heal. Given adequate support, we know how to relieve our own symptoms.