Everyone will experience trauma at some point in their lives. Recognizing the seriousness of the trauma and knowing when to contact a professional therapist to help deal with it is the key. Dr. Kelly Mothner has been helping South Bay residents cope with trauma for many years. As a Hermosa Beach therapist, she can help you understand the symptoms of trauma as well as provide Somatic Experiencing as a method for resolving the physical and emotional challenges tied to trauma.
When most people hear the word trauma they often immediately think of war veterans, sexual/physical abuse survivors, or other people who have overcome a significant and life altering traumatic experience. While all of these are examples of trauma, it is important to recognize that trauma includes any type of experience that forces us outside of our normal coping mechanisms and leads to a state of intense emotion that is hard to manage. This may be a one-time experience, such as a car accident, or it may be exposure to chronic and debilitating physical or emotional pain and suffering. Things like the loss of a loved one, physical illness, surgery, injuries, or emotionally abusive relationships, all fall under the umbrella of trauma. Considering trauma from this point of view — as encompassing any experience that is highly distressing, painful or overwhelming – means that we will all be affected by trauma at some point in our lives and may need help from a trusted adult therapist.
The symptoms of trauma can manifest in many different ways, including primarily emotional symptoms like:
Or, primarily physical symptoms like:
You might believe that the effects of trauma are permanent, however, the Somatic Experiencing approach holds the belief that the body and mind are incredibly resilient and in fact designed to heal from these types of traumatic experiences.
The serious physical and emotional suffering that results from trauma can feel overpowering and inescapable, yet with the right type of help and support from a therapist it is possible to emerge from its debilitating effects and recapture your vitality, strength, and hopefulness for the future.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a specific approach to working with trauma that relies on the body’s instinctive capacity to heal as the means to regaining a sense of inner balance and control over your life that is often lost in the aftermath of trauma. Using mind-body awareness combined with dynamic processing to help you move through the intense chaos and severe emotional and physical symptoms related to trauma, SE lets you bounce back from stress and actively engage in life again.
Somatic Experiencing, originally developed by Dr. Peter Levine, combines the study of physiology, psychology, biology, and neuroscience. Trauma is a psycho-biological experience, meaning that it is something that initially happiness in your body and only after the event do the effects spread to your mind, thoughts, emotions, and all the other layers of experience. What happens is that trauma overwhelms the nervous system, throwing it into a state of chronic dysregulation. We can then get “stuck” in the fight, flight, freeze, or collapse response, which leads to the type of symptoms mentioned previously. The goal of SE is to help you discharge the traumatic energy that has gotten trapped in your body and bring your nervous system back into a balanced state of regulation.
SE is based on the belief that the body is designed to heal itself. As such, in Dr. Mothner’s Hermosa Beach practice, she helps you access the inherent wisdom of your own body in order to overcome and emerge from the debilitating and life-zapping symptoms of trauma. By working with you to gradually tolerate increasingly difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions, this approach allows the root cause of trauma symptoms to be addressed.
The gentle nature of this approach means that a traumatized client doesn’t have to re-live the traumatic event over and over. Instead, in a slow and supportive way, SE provides the opportunity for you to engage, complete, and resolve the body’s instinctual fight, flight, or freeze responses that have been locked inside your body. By drawing on your body’s natural ability to heal, SE helps you move from a sense of paralyzed hopelessness or numbness to empowerment and mastery. By resetting the nervous system, you often find yourself “feeling alive again” and able to re-engage in your day-to-day life and relationships from a place of strength and vitality.
In your therapy session, Dr. Kelly Mothner will:
I pursued an intensive three-year professional training program with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute in order to become a Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). This training included 216 hours of direct instruction, 18 hours of case consultation, and 12 hours of personal sessions.
Many of my South Bay therapy clients contact me because of some form of trauma they have experienced. If you have experienced trauma and need support in overcoming its negative effects on your life, call me at (310) 892-2572 or reach out to me via the Contact Us page.