The body keeps the score
— Bessel van der Kolk
Our body holds our stories. Often our body has locked away much of the emotional and physical pain that we have experienced. Many life experiences can lead to a traumatic response, for example both single incident events such as loss, medical procedures, accidents, sexual and/or physical assault, as well as more chronic life events such as ongoing neglect, abuse, natural disasters, war, and ongoing fear and conflict, can all be experienced as traumatic. Whether trauma is a result of stress from a perceived life-threatening situation or from cumulative stress, the ability to function in life with ease and resilience can be severely compromised.
In Somatic Experiencing®, it is our response to the perceived life threat, rather than the actual trauma event, that leads to a dysregulated and unbalanced nervous system. In other words, our natural threat alarm keeps ringing, even if the actual threat has passed, and the body’s nervous system gets stuck in a fight, flight or freeze response. This is reflected in many of the symptoms often associated with trauma, such as hypervigilance, nightmares, poor sleep, mood disturbances such as depression and anxiety, flashbacks, emotional shutdown, and dissociation. Through Somatic Experiencing®, these body memories of the traumatic event or events can be gently accessed and processed by the body. This shifts the nervous system towards a more regulated state and helps increase tolerance for uncomfortable bodily sensations and difficult emotions.
By integrating Somatic Experiencing® with more traditional talk therapy, the ability to work through painful histories and experiences is greatly enhanced. This leads towards living in a more regulated mind and body and allows for a more emotionally peaceful and healthier way of being in the world.
If you would like to learn more about Somatic Experiencing® or would like to make an appointment please contact me.