Somatic Experiencing / Trauma Resolution

Trauma can be a reality for many of us and can present differently for each person. Whether it comes in the form of anxiety or sleep issues, migraines or depression, the one commonality is that this trauma is stored in the memory of the body.

So we begin there: by gently working with the wisdom and innate knowledge of the body. By tapping into our inherent resiliency, we find the key to not only symptoms and suffering, but also solutions to what might have felt at one time inexplicable or beyond hope.

When we experience a traumatic event, time may seem to speed up or slow down, or even stop. This is a common theme I hear: that the lens we have always looked through to gauge our lives has somehow changed. Time or making connections and a sense of our lives is beyond our understanding. Confusion, disorientation, and ultimately, challenging emotional states become an everyday experience for some with symptoms of trauma.

Here are some examples of how trauma may look:

  • Panic and Anxiety
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Addictions of all kinds
  • Eating disorders
  • Migraines
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Sense of feeling disconnected
  • Numbness
  • Depression

How we can best understand how trauma both manifests and resolves is in understanding the biology of the body.

During a traumatic event the body experiences, at the cellular level, a surge of intense energy that can often stay stuck in the system. It is as though this stuck energy freezes there, taking hold of our vitality and strength and replacing it with often debilitating symptoms.

This freeze response holds the key to understanding trauma. Once aroused, our survival responses of fight or flight need to come to successful completion in order for our nervous systems to come back to a state of rest and balance.

When we are unable to complete these responses, our nervous systems become frozen. This frozen, immobilized state may look calm on the outside, but internally the state can be compared to what happens in a car when we step on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. A huge amount of energy is revving, creating the symptoms of trauma.

The Somatic Experiencing approach, developed by Peter Levine, is a gentle therapy for resolving and discharging unresolved survival energies, thereby healing the symptoms of trauma.