Somatic Experiencing for Treatment of PTSD Symptoms
Traumatic events such as war, rape, and severe accidents can lead people to suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What we have recently discovered is that any event that is experienced as threatening can generate PTSD-like symptoms and negatively affect a person’s quality of life.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) was developed by psychologist Peter A. Levine to address the effects of trauma. Levine developed this modality after noticing that prey animals, whose lives are constantly under threat in their natural habitat, are able to recover quickly by releasing stressful energy accumulated during the event.
Human beings don’t have this same capability of processing trauma. We tend to override this natural way of regulating our nervous system and instead feel emotions like fear and shame. Somatic Experiencing helps people move past the trauma.
What is Somatic Therapy Exactly?
Somatic therapy combines psychotherapy with physical therapies to bring about the holistic – or whole-person – healing. This modality focuses on the mind-body connection and uses talk therapy along with physical therapy techniques to release pent-up tension in the body that is negatively impacting a person’s health and well-being.
Somatic therapy can be very beneficial to people who have suffered trauma or abuse, as well as people who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and addiction. This technique can be used in individual and group settings and may prove effective when other traditional forms of treatment have not delivered results
What to Expect from Somatic Therapy
During a session, a therapist uses talk therapy to help their client revive past memories of traumatic experiences. The client then pays attention to any physical responses. Physical therapy techniques such as deep breathing, relaxation, and meditation are used to help relieve symptoms. Other adjunctive physical techniques that may be used with this therapy include yoga, dance, exercise, or other types of movement and massage.
How to Choose a Somatic Therapist
Somatic therapy can easily be integrated into other counseling practices. You’ll want to begin by looking for a somatic therapist that is licensed and experienced in somatic therapy techniques. In addition to looking for someone with the right skills and background, it’s also important that you find someone you feel comfortable with.
Much like Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing is an excellent way of getting rid of what is stuck and holding you back from experiencing joy and peace in your life. If you’d like to explore this treatment approach, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy discussing how I may be able to help.
Stephanie Post, PsyD. at Higher Self Psychotherapy is a certified EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapist. She specializes in anxiety therapy, depression therapy, self-esteem therapy, and in trauma therapy online anywhere in California and in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. She uses EMDR therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and IFS therapy to help clients thrive.