It’s no secret that the mind and body are connected. Pain in the body can make it difficult to concentrate or lead to increased feelings of low self-worth or depression. In the same way, mental anguish, trauma, and mood disorders can take a toll on the body as well. Understanding the innate connection between mind and body can help individuals to express trauma response and other deeply felt emotions in order to reclaim a sense of stability, calm, and fulfillment in everyday life. In this blog, we’ll discuss a unique therapeutic approach called somatic experiencing. Specifically, we’ll discuss the many benefits of somatic experiencing as part of the trauma recovery process.
What Is Somatic Experiencing?
Somatic experiencing is a body-centered form of therapy that helps release the mind and body that are stuck after trauma response or other stresses and deep or overwhelming emotional responses. Somatic experiencing combines psychology, biology, physiology, and neuroscience to help the mind and body process information in less painful ways. During somatic experiencing therapy sessions, a counselor will guide individuals through certain images or experiences and discuss the physical sensation the client experiences and thoughts and emotions that enter their mind. Throughout the process, the therapist will observe the individual’s behavior and affect. Together, through the process, the therapist and client will work to find deeper understanding and begin releasing the tension, stress, pain, and other physical responses held within the body.
Why Is Somatic Experiencing Beneficial During Trauma Recovery?
Following a traumatic experience, the body enters a state of heightened sensitivity and acute awareness of surroundings. You may have heard this trauma response referred to ask fight, flight, or freeze. When sources of danger that trigger this response are clear and can be fully resolved, the body should naturally release this tension. Think about an experience you had that was very frightening. Maybe you nearly had a car accident or almost fell off a high ledge. You likely experienced tension in the body, accelerated heart rate, trembling, and other physical reactions to this traumatic event. After this danger resolved itself, the body relaxed, and feelings of relief and calm replaced the tension.
Unfortunately, many sources of danger or fear cannot be as clearly resolved, leaving the body and mind feeling stuck in this heightened fight, flight, or freeze response. Somatic experiencing can help the body release this tension and trigger feelings of relief and calm.
Interested in Learning More About Somatic Experiencing?
If you’re interested in somatic experiencing or other forms of therapy to process and heal following trauma, the Center for CBT in New York City invites you to get in touch with us to schedule a session. Many of our therapists have advanced training and experience, including the training and experience to develop skills related to therapy for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), utilizing the somatic experiencing approach. To get started, simply call our office at (917) 688-4410 or complete our online consultation request. We look forward to hearing from you.