PTSD Treatment + Somatic Experiencing
Using the Body for Nervous System Healing
Are you struggling with symptoms related to trauma? Do you find yourself avoiding certain situations because they seem dangerous? Do you struggle with emotions taking over and becoming out of control? Or is it a challenge to feel emotions at all? Do you feel highly charged and anxious often? Or perhaps you feel numb and depressed?
Do you view yourself negatively, perhaps with a lot of shame and guilt? Are your relationships unnerving? Maybe you are wondering about developmental trauma, or have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or complex PTSD and are exploring different forms of treatment . . .
Trauma can be at the root of many unwanted symptoms. It can bar us from intimate contact with ourselves and others. It often takes over our life or makes certain parts of it unbearable. If you are seeking out ways to work with it, we whole-heartedly salute you.
Trauma has become quite the buzzword these last few years. While it may be used flippantly all too often, it is nonetheless important to talk about. But what is trauma, exactly?
P T S D T r e a t m e n t + T r a u m a T h e r a p y
One common misconception is that trauma is the car crash, slip, and fall, breakup, or sexual assault. Actually, any one of these may be a traumatic event, but trauma itself is the nervous system damage leftover. It is the way our nervous system stays stuck on, creating all sorts of challenges.
In the face of any threat, our nervous system produces a high state of readiness in order to facilitate fighting or fleeing. But when these forms of protection are of no use or are socially unacceptable, our body holds onto that highly charged state because the vast amounts of energy prepared for defense have not been released. This highly charged state (known as PTSD or Complex PTSD) becomes stuck and can cause a lot of problems, both physical and psychological. Renowned trauma expert Dr. Peter Levine once referred to trauma as “being all dressed up with nowhere to go," meaning our nervous system is still wanting to fight, flight, or freeze long after the threat has gone.
How Can Somatic Experiencing Help?
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is the main type of trauma therapy we practice. It is a body awareness-based form of PTSD treatment that intentionally moves slowly, works with body sensations, and embraces nervous system healing as its first priority. Its main goal is to help you release unfinished energies and emotions from traumatic events.
Research shows Somatic Experiencing to be effective at renegotiating trauma related to issues as far reaching as natural disasters, childhood neglect, daily stress, anger, and substance use, just to name a few.
What to Expect . . .
This type of therapy might, at first, seem different than other talk therapies you have done in the past. But what makes it different is also what makes it helpful.
In our sessions, we will work to:
Notice bodily sensations + symptoms
Establish a sense of personal safety
Use relaxation techniques
Feel emotions without becoming overwhelmed
Release pent-up energy
And in our work together, you may find that trauma does not endure forever.
P T S D T r e a t m e n t F A Q
Does Somatic Experiencing actually work to treat PTSD? Even doing online sessions?
Fortunately, we have a plethora of first-hand and research-based evidence that Somatic Experiencing is an effective form of PTSD treatment, even when working online. When we do online work, we advise you on proper camera/room conditions to make the treatment just as effective as if we were in our office.
Do I have to retell or relive the traumatic event/s to heal?
For some, telling the story of their trauma needs to happen, but many of us who have lived through challenging times begin to dread retelling the story over and over. In our work together, you do NOT have to relive your trauma in order to heal it. Because the trauma is in the body, we can rework it by attending to bodily sensations, breathing, and emotion. This means we learn to listen to our body’s response to our thoughts and feelings in service of a less-taxed nervous system.
Some of the things I feel are scary and embarrassing . . . is that okay?
In this type of trauma therapy, you are allowed to feel angry, hopeless, out of control, and any other intense feelings that come with the pain you are dealing with. And it is possible to do so without becoming overwhelmed. Over time, Somatic Experiencing can help you learn to feel small pieces of the trauma at a time, making it more manageable.
Do I have to know how to handle this?
In our trauma counseling, we will work together. All too often, our trauma was not only a result of feeling helpless in the face of danger, but also from no one being there to help us. Or, in the worst cases, the ones we relied upon for protection were actually the threat (to read more about trauma that comes from childhood, see Developmental Trauma vs PTSD). In this sense, it is important for you to know that we will work to make this process as gentle and effective as possible for you, all the while teaching you methods for managing your symptoms between sessions.
I am ready to start . . . what is the next step?
Simply click the Get in Touch button below and fill out the contact form. We will handle the rest.