Trauma-Informed Somatic Therapy

Disconnection

Humans are instinctively wired for connection, but trauma re-wires our instincts for self-preservation. This is why people who have been hurt or traumatized may have difficulty trusting others and being open to new experiences, even when it’s safe or beneficial to their growth.

 

Playing small

Our early upbringing and later life experiences shape our beliefs about ourselves and the world, which in turn influences our patterns of walking, talking, and taking up space in the world. For instance, if one was frequently judged growing up, a person might develop a belief of "I'm not good enough," accompanied by a slumped posture, a pattern of holding the breath, and a tendency to withdraw emotionally and avoid opportunities to speak up. While “playing small” in this way was effective at keeping one safe as a little person, this survival strategy might not serve them at work or in their adult relationships.

 

The body remembers

There’s a saying, “What the mind forgets, the body remembers.” The is because unprocessed traumas and wounding experiences remain stuck in the body (central nervous system), often away from conscious awareness. This is nature’s way of helping us to keep calm and carry on.

Survival

When unprocessed trauma goes “underground”, it can manifest as less obvious issues such as chronic pain, anxiety and nervous tension, fatigue, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, and other issues we may mistake for “normal” (e.g., difficulty relaxing and plain old pessimism).

Here's an example: A client who, on one occasion, had woken up to the sound of her baby choking, later found herself habitually waking in the middle of the night since the incident. Too overwhelming to fully process at the time, her body “remembered” this incident and remained vigilant on behalf of her (waking her up to check on the baby). This is Survival 101: What we can’t confront explicitly, our bodies act out implicitly.

Explore & Heal 

By working with the body (e.g., patterns of movements, sensations, etc.) in addition to thoughts and emotions, we can more fully explore what happens for you in response to life events. This process of “what happens for you” is referred to as your “organization of experience” and it encompasses the ways your thoughts, bodily sensations, movements, sensory perception, emotions, and impulses all map out in the present moment.  Once we have a clear picture of your organization of experience, we can collaboratively use experiments and other helpful experiential exercises to transform the patterns that aren’t working for you