Somatic Experiencing is a type of therapy that works in conjunction with psychotherapy. It is a collaborative approach between an individual and a therapist that focuses on the nervous system and the body. It is especially great for working with trauma and facilitates the mind body connection. Somatic Experiencing is also great when working with psychosomatic issues. Scroll down for More Info
While talk therapy can by highly effective, sometimes the body needs to be icluded into therapy. In fact, when it comes to trauma, we might have learned to disconnect from our bodies. Therefore, a body (somatic) approach is shown to be effective in healing and resolving trauma, amongst other ailments. Somatic Experiencing is a body oriented approach, that also works with the nervous system, such as the fight, flight or freeze response that might be stuck in the body. It helps slow down the traumatic experience, so that more time can be added to an experience that occurred too suddenly, too fast and unexpectedly.
TALK THERAPY VS SOMATIC EXPERIENCING
Somatic Experiencing works in conjunction with talk therapy. The difference is that it enables people to also get in touch with the body's response when they are talking about an experience. Often, we can speak about something that happens to us while being out of touch with our bodily experience. Therefore, it helps connect the mind and body experience, so that people can become more attuned with body. Furthermore, while talk therapy is great to understand and work through situations, sometimes our body will still respond in a particular way no matter how much understanding we have. For example, we may understand why we get angry at a particular situation, but still respond in anger automatically, despite that understanding. Therefore, this modality can help work with automatic responses to triggers that goes beyond our understanding. Furthermore, talk therapy works with the prefrontal cortex, that can get shut down in the event of a threat. Therefore, Somatic Experiencing can work with the amygdala, that gets activated when feeling triggered by a traumatic story.
The nervous system works to keep us alive. For example, if we encounter a bear, we will automatically respond through the fight, flight or freeze response. It is something that occurs automatically, without logically thinking about it. In fact, this will activate the amygdala, the part of the brain that signals a threat. This will send survival energy to activate either the fight, flight, or freeze response to keep us alive. And when an event that is overwhelming occurs, that survival energy can get stuck in the body. Especially if we did not have enough support during or after the event, or enough time to process or respond to it. In turn, that can cause someone to freeze, for example, even though there is no more threat.