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Somatic Experiencing® for Trauma

“Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence.” ~ Peter A. Levine

Millions of us suffer from the devastating aftereffects of traumatic experience. While many can bounce back with the love and support of family and friends, others may find that the effects of lasting trauma can cause deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress long after the event has passed.

In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a trauma therapist are fundamental to healing from trauma.

If these sound like you…

  • I feel trapped in overdrive – on edge, irritable, ready to snap,
  • I have sleep disturbances or nightmares,
  • I have poor concentration, confusion, or feel easily overwhelmed,
  • I struggle with anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress,
  • I’m hyper-vigilant, get easily frightened, or feel numb or guilty,
  • I avoid situations or reminders of the traumatic event,
  • I suffer from emotional scars, intrusive thoughts, or flashbacks or relive traumatic events with accompanying unwanted memories, vivid images, and physical signs like sweating, palpitations, and panic attacks,
  • I have difficulty remembering details of the distressing event,
  • I have a chronic condition – pain, fibromyalgia, IBS, type 2 diabetes,
  • I feel like the joy, love, and other positive emotions have been sucked from my life.

…what you’re experiencing isn’t your fault.

Trauma can alter brain function, and trauma therapy may offer you the ideal approach.

Our responses to life stresses, problems and tragedies are quite individualized. Trauma can be the experience of a battlefield veteran, the result of distant, neglectful parenting, sexual abuse, an auto accident, the loss of someone dear to you, ostracism for personality or sexual characteristics, childhood neglect or poverty, or household disruption.

These and many other experiences can leave individuals with feelings of loss, shame, pain, worthlessness, anxiety, or depression. If you recognize any of these feeling in yourself, let’s explore whether it’s your body’s chronic or retained response to your trauma history.

To learn more about trauma, including a more complete list of symptoms and examples of traumatic events:

How I can help –

While trauma’s symptoms can feel complex and at times overwhelming, feeling better is possible. In fact, with trauma therapy, I believe that you’ll find yourself becoming more balanced and at ease as we implement compassionate, evidence-based techniques and strategies together in a safe, supportive, compassionate environment.

We’ll collaborate to

  • implement techniques to manage your distress,
  • identify triggers that lead to emotional and physical suffering,
  • reduce the impact of unhelpful thoughts,
  • allow your nervous system opportunities to release energy that got stuck in the body during trauma,
  • decrease or even eliminate unhealthy behaviors.

Ultimately, we’ll help you break free of old habitual patterns and find newer, healthier ways of being.

Body Centered Treatment for Trauma –

Renowned trauma experts, including Bessel van der Kolk and Peter Levine, know that “our issues are in our tissues.” If you didn’t have enough support or resources to manage a difficult experience, you may have become overwhelmed by stress.

Suppressing the energy of overwhelming emotions causes that energy to create patterns of tension and constriction that can lead to anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, pain and even chronic health conditions like fibromyalgia, IBS, Type 2 diabetes, and more.

Bringing awareness to the body through Somatic Experiencing®, Inner Relationship Focusing, mindfulness meditation, trauma sensitive yoga, or other body centered modalities is an important component of healing from physical and emotional trauma and chronic stress and stress related conditions. These therapies can locate and release the energy “stuck” in our system.

What is Somatic Experiencing® (SE)? –

Decades of study and clinical work have led trauma expert Peter Levine, PhD to believe that trauma-related symptoms are caused not by the traumatic event itself, but by residual energy not fully discharged after the event ended.

Levine brought his study, observations and experiences together to develop Somatic Experiencing®, a gentle, effective therapy being used worldwide to help those suffering the ill effects of trauma or stress. Treatment is based on the premise that since trauma leaves its imprint in the body, it’s essential to include the body into the healing process.

Trauma experts comment about Peter Levine and Somatic Experiencing®:

“Peter Levine is in the forefront of trauma healing, as theorist, practitioner, and teacher. All of us in the therapeutic community—physicians, psychologists, therapists, aspiring healers, interested laypeople—are ever so much richer for this summation of what he himself has learned.” –Gabor Maté, MD, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

“Peter Levine is in the forefront of trauma healing, as theorist, practitioner, and teacher. All of us in the therapeutic community—physicians, psychologists, therapists, aspiring healers, interested laypeople—are ever so much richer for this summation of what he himself has learned.” –Gabor Maté, MD, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

“Memory has many layers, and Peter Levine has contributed his own unique and powerful way of thinking about how we can understand these systems and optimize their unfolding after trauma.“–Daniel Siegel, MD, NY Times bestselling author, Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute

Working with me

As mentioned, Somatic Experiencing®, is a powerful tool to address nervous system dysregulation. I’ve completed the three-year training with Dr. Levine’s organization, the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute, and am a SE practitioner and training assistant.

I enhance the process by drawing on the learning and experience that I’ve gained from mindfulness practice, Inner Relationship Focusing, Heartmath®, Internal Family Systems, NeuroAffective Relational Model (for complex PTSD), self-compassion techniques and various other trauma trainings, each with research backing its efficacy.

Together we’ll monitor activation (anxiety) or dissociation (spacing out/numbness), taking steps to settle the nervous system when appropriate. Directing attention back and forth between what is comfortable and uncomfortable is another means by which blocked survival energy can be released in a slow, safe, and manageable manner.

Mindfulness, attunement with a compassionate person, and resources that provide a sense of safety and wellbeing can gradually enable the nervous system to settle. Once the system recognizes that danger has passed, it can return to a more balanced state.

Fully aware of the suffering that results from our embodied reactions to stress and trauma, I am wholly committed to being a companion on your path towards wellbeing.

The services offered are not medical treatment or psychological therapy and are not performed by a medical professional. Please consult with your doctor or therapist to determine if mindfulness, Somatic Experiencing®, MindBody Therapy or NARM is right for you.

Click here to schedule a free consultation.