Throughout our lives we experience many different events that can have long-term effects on our mind and mental health. Whether we are conscious of it or not, there are many distressing experiences that can be harmful to our psyche and result in psychological trauma. These events can range from fearful thoughts, to near-death accidents, to deaths of loved ones, and can even include everyday stressors such as work, school, etc. One of the ways that I work with my clients to combat psychological trauma is through somatic experiencing therapy.
Based on the belief that the body is designed to heal itself, somatic therapy helps people work through their trauma with their body as a guide. Relying on the body’s instinctive ability to heal, people are able to regain a sense of inner balance and control in their lives. After a traumatic event, our body holds onto tension. The main goal of somatic experiencing is the recognition and release of the physical tension that remains in our body following the traumatic event through the tracking of physical sensations in the body. Because somatic experiencing based therapy works through the body and mind to heal, rather than just the mind, it allows individuals to reframe and transform current or past negative experiences.
Somatic therapy views psychological trauma as rooted in an autonomic nervous system that has been thrown out of balance. When an individual is faced with a traumatic experience, the autonomic nervous system goes into overdrive and following the event is unable to restore equilibrium. According to somatic experiencing practitioners, past traumas are held within our bodies and are then manifested in our body language, posture, and expressions. In many cases, they also emerge as debilitating physical symptoms, including digestive issues, immune system dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and recurring medical issues.
As a holistic therapy that confirms the deep connection between body and mind, somatic experiencing therapy can help the autonomic nervous system return to balance and normalcy. By overcoming trauma through our physical beings, somatic therapy allows one to build a resiliency to stress and future trauma, allowing one to actively engage in life again.
In my South Bay therapy practice, I use the gentle approach of somatic experiencing therapy to help clients heal from the psychological and physical symptoms related to past traumatic events. In our sessions together, I guide clients through the process of tracking their own felt-sense experience, including accessing physical/bodily sensations, imagery, and motor patterns. I first begin by stabilizing the client and working towards a grounded state. Once in a more grounded state, I work with the client to begin processing the traumatic experience, with the focus being to gradually re-regulate his/her nervous system to a normal and healthy flow. My main goal in my somatic work with my clients is to help them transform their trauma from life-zapping and debilitating to an enhanced sense of empowerment and engagement with the world around them.
I am currently pursing an intensive three-year professional training program with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. Soon, I will be a Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). If you are interested in learning more about my approach, or to schedule an appointment with me, call my office at (310) 892-2572 or email me. I look forward to hearing from you soon!