Many of us suffer from symptoms which are related to an event or events in the past – something usually very intense and threatening – where we were overwhelmed and were not able to defend ourselves or to escape.
This can be a single event trauma for example an accident, an assault or a natural catastrophe. (also known as posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD in English or PTBS in German).
Or it can also be a repeated traumatizing for example in physical abuse or sexual abuse or a violent family situation or neglect in the childhood. (also known as early childhood trauma or developmental trauma).
Somatic Experiencing is a soft method for healing these kinds of trauma and shock symptoms.
• Frights, fears, phobias or terror
• Avoiding certain situations or thoughts
• Physical pains and disorders
• Difficulties in relating
• Feeling frozen or feeling numb
• Exhaustion or lethargy
• Hyperactivity or hyper vigilance
• Light irritability
• Depression and anxiety
• Grief and sorrow
• Sleeplessness or nightmares
Sometimes we have these symptoms but we are unable to remember the original event or events which may be the cause.
In a life-threatening situation a huge amount of energy is mobilized to get ready for fight or flight. Once the threat is removed, we are usually able to discharge this excess energy. But often, for various reasons, this is not possible. The aroused energy remains stuck or locked in our nervous system, in particular that part of the nervous system which is responsible for our physical survival, our reptilian brain. This part of the nervous system in some ways works independently of our normal mental and cognitive functions and to access it we need to slow down and to get in touch with our body sensations.
Sometimes the mobilized energy is so much that an automatic shutdown occurs and the whole nervous system goes into a freeze and may even become fragmented.
To access this energy locked in our nervous system, we have to slow down, relax and come into contact with our body sensations.
When we have found this access to our nervous system, we have a possibility to release this blocked and stuck energy. As the amount of energy we are dealing with can be very big and very wild, we need to work slowly and in a manageable way, dealing with small doses and constantly remaining in touch with our resources like feelings of safety, protection, trust and relaxation.
This is why Somatic Experiencing is a soft and gentle method. It supports our nervous system’s ability to regulate itself. This is also why often it is necessary to take several individual sessions at regular intervals.
Once our nervous system re-learns to regulate itself, the old stuck energy which had manifested in all these unexplainable symptoms is released and we feel at peace with ourselves and our environment.
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