Somatic Trauma Integration
“Somatic Integration” is a term I use to describe the process of healing trauma through transformational, body-based modalities.
The body influences the mind, and vice versa. Humans are not mechanical beings assembled the way a car is, with parts crafted separately and then put together. Rather, we develop and adapt on multiple levels simultaneously. Mind and body are not separate.
Working at the level of your body, whether through sensation, touch, movement, or subtle internal senses such as proprioception — can create change on a system-wide level and even change the thoughts you have about a past event. Somatic integration enables you to finally be truly free of the past and to fully embody the present.
Please read below to learn more about the specific trauma-healing, body-based modalities I am trained in
Somatic Experiencing (SE), developed by Peter Levine, is a leading technique in trauma resolution. It is a short-term, naturalistic, bottom-up approach that works with the body to release trapped survival energies. It is among the most gentle trauma resolution techniques, suitable for highly sensitive nervous systems.
Somatic Experiencing is based in the idea that animals in the wild are exposed to trauma quite frequently, but are rarely “traumatized” by it. They are able to mobilize survival energies, then discharge those same energies and return to a resting state. PTSD occurs when the body’s own survival responses are thwarted or prevented from completion. This results in stuck, chaotic energy in the body and a wide range of destructive, often cascading, symptoms.
Through dialogue, awareness, and sometimes gentle touch, the SE process creates a safe container to allow thwarted survival responses to rise to the surface and find regulation, release and completion. This brings your system back into balance – sometimes completely resolving symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
SE does not require the verbal recounting of traumatic incidents; it works directly with the nervous system. First, we work towards a baseline level of regulation in your body. This means establishing a safe, connected relationship between client and therapist, and building up your overall resilience.
Then, and only as needed, we can explore a further process where we gradually (very gradually!) access and move through difficult bodily sensations and stored emotions.
Sometimes, the initial stabilizing work is all that’s necessary for someone to feel better. Other times, healing takes place over many months. How long it takes depends how far back the trauma is rooted. Sometimes the process feels slow or frustrating; at other times, fast and expansive growth is possible.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away, or if results come immediately after a session but don’t last more than a few hours or a day. Initially, one may only get glimpses of a different possibility. These glimpses are encouragement that change is possible. Many patterns go very deep in the past or in the family/ancestral history. These patterns take time, commitment, repetition, and lots of support to unwind.
The result of this work is often a feeling of increased spaciousness, capacity, regulation, groundedness, and coming home to the body. Life itself can open up. Our vitality which was trapped in harmful mental and physical patterns can be free to flow into passionate and free engagement with LIFE again.
For many people, the changes are so profound that family members, friends, and even coworkers notice and comment on it. Read testimonials from real Rooted Bliss clients here.
Compassionate Inquiry was developed by Gabor Maté, a Canadian physician who co-hosts the international workshop “Beyond Addiction” and has authored books including “When the Body Says No,” “The Myth of Normal,” and “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.”
CI is a dialogue process that can help unearth and unravel the deeper sources of harmful patterns. It is gentle, body-based, client-centered and present-moment-centered. It holds the possibility to create lasting shifts in perspective through deeper understanding.
CI is especially useful when a client is aware of a pattern, but unsure where it comes from. When paired with SE and yogic tools, it can be a powerful source of insight and revelation.