Many trauma therapy methods involve retelling of traumatic memories. Although can be effective when done safely, for many people it can be re-traumatizing. It can actually set some folks back. One therapy method that works differently is somatic experiencing. This particular trauma therapy focuses on the body. Considered a “bottom-up” approach, it places a strong emphasis on movement and sensation in the body. In this blog, we’ll explain this particular kind of treatment in greater detail as well as what you can expect when you come to the Trauma and Beyond Center ® .
How Somatic Experiencing (SE) Works
Often, when a person has been through a traumatic event, it’s difficult for their nervous system to process it. The information from a traumatic event can be genuinely overwhelming. These overwhelming memories are not integrated or held like other memories. In time, traumatic stress symptoms develop. These may be thought of as incomplete defense responses that are directly attributed to the nervous system’s inability to process information from the traumatic event. This kind of therapy then is designed to enable the trauma to be discharged from the body. By building a greater tolerance to the emotions and sensations related to the traumatic event, the therapy helps a person towards their goal of releasing the traumatic activation.
Dealing with the Body
We have many different kinds of therapies available to deal with trauma. Our treatment approach is integrative and includes specialized modalities for working with the right brian, the left brain and the body. During treatment, when working with physiological activation SE is one of the treatments of choice. SE allows us to gently explore symptoms, in a gradual way in order to prevent retraumatization. When your nervous system has been unbalanced by the memory of the event, then this kind of treatment could be right for you.
One focus of this particular kind of treatment is that, in time, you develop greater resiliency. Through this treatment, you’ll build a capacity to stay in the moment. Eventually, you’ll be able to do so even while handling stress. Through working with you, we help you to handle a bit more stress at a time. However, and this is important, we only do so at the level you can handle. Like so many of our other treatments, this process is gradual i order to retain a feeling of safety. In time, we assist you to building stronger reserves so that you can step out into the life you want to live.
This kind of treatment deals with the body, (indeed, it’s considered a “body first” treatment) but it also means that this treatment has a focus on a person’s feelings as well as the sensations beneath them. The aftermath of a traumatic event leads to habitual patterns of behavior which can come from these feelings. It’s important to note that we focus on what’s underneath in this treatment, and not necessarily about changing any particular beliefs or thoughts about how you feel about the event. We aren’t asking you to re-live the event; but rather, helping you to move past it towards the life you want.
Activation in the body is common after a traumatic event. In this particular kind of therapy, we help you to learn skills that help you to manage that activation, so that you can maintain a greater control and calm. Instead of approaching traumatic memories head on or directly from the outset, this particularly therapy allows you to approach them gradually, indirectly, and over a course of time. That makes it easier to learn how to engage with those memories, by that same token; it makes it easier to learn to disengage with them, too.
Keeping a client from becoming overwhelmed during this process is important to us. That’s why at Trauma and Beyond ® we work to increase tolerance over time: so that a person can process without being overwhelmed. This therapy draws upon a person’s inner resources: memories, positive sensations, and similar natural resources. They can be used by the client to help them monitor and lessen the arousal and activation within. Through treatment, the person can increase their resiliency, and restore the balance in their nervous system.
For many, this particular kind of therapy is recommended for healing trauma. However, it’s not right for everyone. No two people are the same, so no two trauma treatments are the same, either. When you come to the Trauma and Beyond Center ® , we will assess your unique needs in order to provide a plan to best treat your particular trauma. Schedule a complimentary free phone consultation today at (818) 651-0725.