A Brief Introduction to Somatic Experiencing® (and why it might help you)
Somatic Experiencing®—sounds complicated, and you might be wondering how it works, but the truth is, Somatic Experiencing isn’t complicated at all. In fact, Somatic Experiencing is a system of therapy designed to help you heal from trauma and process multiple kinds or sources of stress, from an isolated stressful event to PTSD to abuse to chronic daily stress through movements.
For many people, stress plays altogether too large of a role in our lives. Sometimes these stressors stem from a build-up of day-to-day experiences. Work, family, time demands, relationships—even seemingly ‘unstressful’ things, like planning vacation or shopping for a special gift can be overwhelming in certain situations. Then there are those single-event stressors such as an accident, for example, or an argument or fight that can cause a burst of stress. And then for others, stress can be the result of sustained emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse, or even PTSD. Regardless of how stress manifests itself in your life, for most of us, our bodies have a natural reaction to stress to help our central nervous system process the experience which is often called the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode: our heart rates increase, we might break out in a cold sweat, and our breathing gets shallow. These side-effects of stress are how the body calms down, releases the stress, and returns to a calm, normal state.
However, sometimes, stress remains build-up inside the body and nervous system, rather like a pressure cooker, which can leave the person dealing with the stress stuck in a perpetual state of feeling anxious, sad, depressed, or even riddled with physical pain. In short: stressed out.
Somatic Experiencing is a technique designed to help dissipate and process stress, and help people learn to move past their stressors—whatever they may be—with strength and resolve. Created by Dr. Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing came about after the doctor, who originally studied biology, observed how animals process stress: by shaking, moving, trembling…physically dislodging the extra-energy from their bodies through movements. Dr. Levine believed that movement would help alleviate the symptoms of stress, and naturally encourage the body and central nervous system to return to stasis and resiliency.
In addition to being a licensed professional counselor, I am also a Somatic Experiencing Professional (SEP). As an SEP, I have extensive clinical training in Somatic Experiencing, spanning a period of three years, and practiced expertise in helping you through the perplexing symptoms and emotions that occur following trauma. And although recovery is a particularly arduous and demanding process, I am a part of your journey every step of the way. Don’t suffer alone or hesitate another moment to take the first step and manage your stress with Somatic Experiencing. You are not alone!