Somatic Experiencing -
A Treatment for Truama, Axneity, and Depression
Somatic experiencing is a specific treatment approach that is most helpful in dealing with traumatic experiences. The term somatic refers to the body, and trauma is stored in the body. When we experience trauma, our brains cannot encode the experience properly. It's too much information and too much emotion entering our bodily system all at once. So the body will store the information in a "scattershot" kind of way. There may be memories of the experience, but those memories may be divorced from emotional experiencing. Or a person might feel anxious, fearful, hypervigilant, or depressed, and not really understand why. They may have no corresponding memories of the trauma. But because trauma activates and bombards the nervous system, the trauma is literally stored in the body. An overwhelming experience hits the nervous system like a lightning strike, and thereafter the person walks around reverberating from that lightning strike. It's like you're still ringing like a bell long after being struck.
Some trauma therapists will use the technique of EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and retraining. Studies have shown that it's not the eye movement in itself that is helpful in processing the trauma. The trauma needs to be discussed verbally, and even reexperienced at a manageable, safe level. But most importantly, the physical body must process the trauma. I have found the approach of somatic experiencing to be by far the best means of helping people recover from trauma. Somatic experiencing is also an incredibly helpful technique for those dealing with various anxiety issues or depression. Many of the disorders we deal with in therapy are disorders of the body's physical emotional processing system. So somatic experiencing works very well with any disorder related to the emotions.
I would be very happy to answer any specific questions you have about this approach that I take. Please don't hesitate to call me with any questions you might have.