What’s Somatic Therapy and How does it Work?
Being human isn’t easy.
This is especially true when you’ve experienced any type of trauma. For those who’ve never been traumatized by a specific event during their lifetime, the concept of living with trauma can be hard to understand.
And yet a large percentage of people in the United States suffer crippling trauma every year. This is a painful experience that makes it difficult to function normally in their daily life. Fortunately, working with an experienced therapist is a great way to begin the healing process. Here we take a look at what is somatic therapy and how it can help you recover from the impact of trauma.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Somatic Therapy?
Let’s start by defining what we mean by somatic therapy. It is essentially a therapeutic approach that’s used to address a patient’s physical and mental health simultaneously. The intent is to help the patient find relief as quickly as possible.
This is an incredibly useful form of therapy for people who have experienced trauma. Why? Well, it enables an individual to work through painful feelings and emotions that have resulted from traumatic events.
A therapist who practices this form of psychotherapy understands that a patient’s inner feelings have a very direct impact on their body. Thus, the need to use specific exercises designed to release pent-up trauma energy.
What Is Trauma?
A person can experience trauma in a nearly endless number of ways. This includes everything from childhood trauma from an abusive parent to witnessing a serious accident.
When a traumatic event occurs, the brain is unable to properly process the experience. Thus it holds on to those feelings and emotions, reliving the trauma over and over again. These memories can be triggered at any moment, causing both the mind and body to believe the trauma event is still present.
The vast majority of people who experience trauma tend to push down their feelings, ignore them, and attempt to go on with life as if nothing happened. Unfortunately, ignoring the impact of trauma does not help you heal.
The key to healing is to seek ways to release the traumatic energy so that the brain can treat the traumatic event like any other memory.
Why Does Trauma Require Therapy?
Everyone has a different response to trauma. Some ignore it. Others choose to suffer in silence. And others spend their lives confused about why they feel the way they do.
It’s important to understand that trauma doesn’t have to be permanent. In other words, you don’t have to suffer the pain that results from a traumatic experience forever.
Therapy is a mental health tool that helps a patient process exactly what happened to them, understand that they haven’t done anything wrong, and show them that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if they’re willing to do the work required to fully heal from your experiences.
A skilled therapist is trained to walk you through the memory of the traumatic experience, show you that the experience is in the past and can no longer harm you, and help you understand that hope is available but requires facing the trauma before the healing can begin.
So, is therapy really necessary? Many people resist the notion of going to therapy. This is mostly due to the fact that they don’t understand it. Thus, it’s important to schedule a consultation with an experienced therapist and explain what they do and how they can help you heal.
What Are the Benefits?
Somatic therapy is incredibly effective at supporting the mind-body connection. But you might be wondering about the benefits of this type of therapy.
Keep in mind that a good therapist understands that mental and emotional trauma that happened in the past disrupts the automatic nervous system. Because of this, the trauma will likely manifest in a variety of physical and mental symptoms.
The most common symptoms include physical pain, immune system dysfunction, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, sexual dysfunction, depression, and anxiety.
Somatic psychotherapy teaches you how to become aware of the body’s response to past trauma. The intent is for the patient to understand how to sense and disrupt habitual patterns so that they can release the toxic emotions and move on, allowing them to become happier and healthier.
This process provides the opportunity for freedom from the past by releasing stored emotions that you likely aren’t even consciously aware that you’re holding onto.
How Does somatic therapy Work?
Now let’s look at the somatic psychotherapy process.
The key is to understand that this type of therapy will help you develop resources within yourself to self-regulate what you’re feeling. This requires acknowledging your fight/flight/freeze response to emotional triggers.
For example, you will learn about physical awareness. This helps you become aware of your body telling you that you’re upset. For example, you might notice your stomach tightening or have a sudden change in your heart rate.
Next, you will learn how to center yourself so that you always have a home base when you feel yourself getting triggered.
A good therapist will also teach you how to use bodywork to manipulate your breathing patterns as well as your body’s tissue to release negative energy produced by trauma.
Finding the Right Therapist
Healing from trauma is a journey. Thus, it’s important to understand that healing won’t happen overnight. First, you need to find a therapist who understands your pain and has the training to patiently guide you through the PTSD treatment.
The key is to look for a therapist with experience in this type of practice and who makes you feel comfortable discussing your pain.
A Guide to Understanding Somatic Therapy
The key to living your best life is to focus on improving your mind-body connection. Fortunately, this guide to understanding somatic therapy provides the foundation for taking your overall quality of life to the next level.
Please contact me today to schedule your free 20-minute consultation.