What is somatic therapy?
Somatic therapy is an integrative therapy model that uses the whole body. Meaning the body and the mind, feeling and thinking, sensations and ideas. It means we notice the body sensations in the moment while we are discussing the past memories. Somatic therapy is a powerful modality to relieve stress, trauma, depression and anxiety.
I was trained and certified in a specific somatic therapy called the Trauma Resiliency Model.
What Is the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM)?
TRM is a type of therapy that utilizes natural body responses to help people heal from traumatic events and daily stressors. Like other somatic therapy methods, TRM recognizes that our bodies, nervous systems and minds are connected and offers specific skills to reduce symptoms of traumatic stress in the nervous system.
Our minds and bodies are designed to have specific responses when they perceive a threat. However, if you are struggling with the after-effects of trauma, you may be suffering from uncomfortable, distressing thoughts and sensations even after the danger has passed. You might be having intense emotional and physical reactions at any sign of stress. This doesn’t mean you are broken – just that your natural responses are stuck in overdrive. Drawing on TRM, I can help you learn more about your nervous systems and help them begin to regulate your mind and body so you don’t become flooded (dropping low), triggered (spiking up high) or dissociative (removed from yourself) when faced with stressful situations. As you become more aware of how to bring calm and stability to your nervous system, you can develop greater internal resiliency.
Human beings are resilient, and sometimes, many of us need help to break free from natural responses that are no longer serving us. Current brain research (neuroscience) shows that our brains can be changed (neuroplasticity). TRM can help you create new (neuro)pathways and experience relief.
What Do You Mean by “Our Nervous Systems”?
The Autonomic Nervous System is comprised of two branches working together: the Sympathetic Branch and the Parasympathetic Branch. You can think of the Sympathetic Branch as the accelerator and the Parasympathetic as the brakes. The Sympathetic Branch causes the organs to prepare for action in cases of perceived or real danger, which increases breathing rate, blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration and stress hormones while decreasing digestion and saliva. The Parasympathetic Branch causes the organs to slow down and rest. Breathing rates slow, heart rate slows, blood pressures drops and sweating slows or stops. Your digestion and saliva return to normal. Anxiety, trauma and other issues can keep your Sympathetic Branch on high, which makes it difficult to feel relaxed or present. TRM can help you calm your Sympathetic Branch and activate your Parasympathetic Branch, allowing a sense of greater stability and ease.
What Do You Mean by “Our Brains”?
Humans have complex brains. In order to simplify the complexity of our brain, let us think of the brain in three parts: the 1) Neocortical, 2) the Limbic or Mammalian and 3) the Reptilian or Survival brain.
The Neocortical part of the brain controls problem-solving, planning and social functioning. This part puts words and labels to our sensations and our feelings of anger, fear, sorrow, joy, disgust, etc. When this part of the brain reaches maturity (around age 25 years old), it helps regulate emotions.
The Mammalian or Limbic part of our brain is the emotional brain. It processes memories and feelings. This part gives us expression and mediation of feelings, interactions and major activities like attachment, friendship, love and aggression.
The Survival or Reptilian brain controls alertness and arousal, breathing, blood pressure and other autonomic functions. This is the part of the brain that goes into defensive survival responses based on perceived threats. These are the Flight, Fight, Freeze or Tend & Befriend responses. It responds to sensation and body memories, not to language or conscious thought.
What Does This All Mean? How Can TRM Help?
Through observing and then identifying your body sensation, you can build a greater awareness of your body responses to difficult or stressful situations. By working closely with a skilled therapist, you can unlock some of the trauma causing you pain, process it through your mind and body, dissipate some of the sadness or anger and “re-file” the trauma away in a different part of your brain, where it can no longer interrupt your life. Then, you can feel better equipped and empowered to move into the future.
I invite you to call me at 323-539-7717 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can ask any questions you have about treatment and my practice. Schedule an appointment today.