As your counselor, my role is to help you access helpful resources and tools that promotes healing from inside out. In our work together, the focus is to create a therapeutic alliance based on honesty, trust and safety. Clients will be given the space to address the concerns, stressors, and unresolved issues that interfere with living. These issues may include anger, abuse, resentment, shame, loss, or abandonment. In our work together, I meet each client where he/she is in the moment without judgment, and/or preconceived expectations in order to support ones’ innate sense of connection, healing, and wellness. Though the benefits of Somatic Experiencing can be life changing, it may also have some unintended negative side effects, such as sleep disturbances, frightening memories, or unfamiliar and uncomfortable body sensations, which can last up to 48 hours post session. Please note that these reactions are not uncommon and can be attended to in the course of our work together during sessions.
Somatic Experiencing [SE]
Foundation for Human Enrichment, www.traumahealing.com
Somatic Experiencing [SE] is a mind/body-awareness that uses a naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma, developed by Peter Levine, PhD, who realized through observations and research, that wild prey animals are rarely traumatized though routinely threatened. These animals are able to utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge high levels of “energy arousal” that is associated with defensive survival behaviors and to return to normal in the aftermath of highly charged life threatening experiences. Dr. Levine realized human beings also have an innate ability to overcome the effects of traumatic life threatening experiences.
Somatic Experiencing can result in a number of benefits to a person, such as relief of traumatic stress symptoms, increased resiliency and resourcefulness by:
- Restoring self-regulation, and returning a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized individuals.
- Employing awareness of body sensation to help people ‘renegotiate’ and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
- Providing guidance of the ‘felt sense’ [innate knowing] that permits highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged
- ‘Titrates’ the experience [breaks it down into small, incremental steps], rather than evoking catharsis, which can overwhelm the regulatory systems of the organism [body].
- Possibly invoking the use therapeutic touch in support of the renegotiation process.
Dr. Levine has applied his work to combat veterans, rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, auto accident and post surgical trauma, chronic pain sufferers, and even to infants after suffering traumatic births.
SE Based Therapeutic Touch Practice
Therapeutic Touch can more deeply enhance the work of Somatic Experiencing, bringing it to a more immediate body-oriented level of healing. It is a way to support the body’s natural ability to heal as with SE based Therapeutic Touch, the therapist demonstrates to the client, “I see you”, “I hear you”, “I believe you”, “I support you”, “I’m here with you”.
Based on the work of Kathy L. Kain (Ortho-Bionomy approach) and Peter Levine, PhD (the Originator of Somatic Experiencing), Therapeutic Touch Skills was originally developed as a way to treat individuals affected by Attachment Disorders and Developmental traumas. It is also used as a way to teach the body how to drop into neurological regulation more quickly, which is essential to the nervous system’s ability to self-regulate and promotes emotional stability.
When a person is in a state of low-grade, ongoing, chronic distress, trauma and/or tension, Therapeutic Somatic Touch is helpful in supporting the body to naturally release places of activation or constriction that has been kept there by fear and neurological habit. Overall, it is a method that can lead relief of stress symptoms more rapidly than only talk therapy by intervening at a physical level. As a result of increased self-regulation in the body, psychotherapy can then be more effective because the body has more stability and can better regulate and repair itself in times of distress and a mind/body holistic connection is more easily made.
Research shows our fears, and emotions are remembered in our overall bodily system causing us to tighten or brace, thus inhibiting our ability to effectively assess threat and tap into the body’s natural ability to discharge and regulate high energy arousal in both the physical and emotional realms. When we change the body’s management patterns, the mind will follow. When the mind and body are in a state of resonance, and working in tandem one’s ability to orient to space, assess for threat and tap into the innate mechanisms of survival, the person’s ability to come through a traumatic experience.
Somatic Experiencing Education and Training
My own education and training includes the three-year professional certificate training in Somatic Experiencing. I hold a certificate as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. I also have completed an additional 96 hours each of Master Certificate programs; Touch Skills Training for Trauma Therapists and Somatic Resilience & Regulation Training for Developmental Trauma. I participate in ongoing professional individual and group consultations with both Somatic Experiencing Practitioners [SEPs] and faculty members at the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. I am an SE Assistant at the Beginning Level for professionals in the SE certificate program. I continue my own personal development with an SE Practitioner. As a result of ongoing professional and personal development in this modality, I have gained a deeper sense of self-awareness, and ability to self-regulate my nervous system organically and have been able to renegotiate personally experienced, highly charged, traumatic experiences. This innate awareness allows me to focus on and track the client’s nervous system and be fully present/attuned in a manner that supports his/her experience of renegotiation, self-regulation and healing.