Somatic Integration

“Somatic Integration” is a term I use to describe the process of healing trauma through transformational, body-based modalities.

As a yoga therapist, the body is my primary focus. I’m especially interested in the ways the body can influence the mind and vice versa. Humans are not mechanical beings assembled the way a car is assembled, with bones & muscle & fatty tissue & nerves & brain crafted separately and then put together. Rather, we develop and adapt on multiple levels simultaneously, through subtle and overt and ever-ongoing processes. Modern science is learning: Our mind and body are not separate.

In fact, both science and experience bear out: if something exists in your mind, it also exists in your body on a subtle level. And conversely, your body’s state directly influences your mind. Therefore it is possible to observe, feel, and work with these subtle entanglements between brain and body. Changes on one level will influence the whole system.

Please read below to learn more about the specific trauma-healing modalities I use in Somatic Integration sessions.

Somatic Experiencing

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 symptoms.

Through dialogue and 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 the therapist. Then, we gradually (very gradually!) access and move through difficult bodily sensations and stored emotions. Then result is often a feeling of increased capacity, regulation, groundedness, and coming home to the body.

Although you may see immediate results after only one session, more are often necessary to reach your full healing potential.

SE is incorporated in every Somatic Integration session.

Read more about Somatic Experiencing here.

Compassionate Inquiry

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” and “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.”

Gabor’s intuitive, empathetic and compassionate method of inquiry has changed people’s lives all over the globe. This modality is a good companion to the work I already do. It offers additional possibilities for my clients to adapt to their circumstances, by unearthing and unraveling the deeper sources of harmful patterns. It holds the possibility to create profound, lasting shifts in perspective.

The approach is gentle, body-based, client-centered and present-moment-centered just like the other methods I use. It offers a dynamic repertoire of techniques and skills. CI can be a fast-track to discovering and healing the hidden sources of pain and addiction.

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