Somatic Experience is an alternative healing therapy extremely useful for treating mental and physical trauma-related health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, sleep problems, mood swings, or immune system problems etc. It is life work of trauma therapist Peter A. Levine.
Psychotherapists believe that Past traumas interrupt the functioning of Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) leading it to instability. Which results in symptoms of trauma or a fixated physiological state. Somatic experience therapy relieves these symptoms and helps the patient bringing back to normal life by establishing a natural flow between mind and body and restoring the ability to self-regulate. Somatic Experiencing can help treating shock trauma in a relatively short time span. It can also be used as a complimentary treatment for developmental trauma.
According to somatic psychologists, our bodies hold on to past traumas which are reflected in our body language, posture and also expressions. These traumas eventually become a reason for illnesses like pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, other medical issues, depression, anxiety, and addiction etc. Somatic Experiencing can release these traumas from the root in most efficient ways.
What to Expect in a Somatic Experience Session?
The practitioner initiates the session by showing you small amounts of traumatic material and then observes your physical response (a shift in your posture or shallow breathing etc) to that material. You will also be asked about the somatic sensations during the session that are usually not visible to practitioner such as feelings of heaviness, tightness, or dizziness. If any of these appear, the practitioner then proceeds cautiously to avoid retraumatizing or triggering the client. You will be asked to perform various exercises like dancing, breathing techniques, physical exercise, pendulation, and titration etc.
How Does Somatic Experience Work?
It is not the event that causes the trauma rather one’s response to it is what disrupts the nervous system. The person himself allows the memories of the event to get stuck inside you. Therefore, the major goal of Somatic experience is to release the remnants of trauma by resetting and regulating the nervous system. It not only heals your illness but also helps you to develop the ability to handle extreme stress even in future.
Is Somatic Experience for Me?
A significant population of the world suffers from extremely distressful events like Harassment, embarrassment, abusive relationships, rejection, physical assault, sexual abuse, police brutality, domestic violence etc. Few of them can easily overcome the worst memories of these events, however, rest few cannot. Traumatic memories do not let such people move on in their lives. Somatic Experience is designed to make them strong enough to fight with these memories and helps them move on. If you are frightened by the ghost of your past and wish to learn to strengthen yourself mentally as well as physically then somatic experience will help you do it in the most amazing way.