Somatic Experiencing: Healing Trauma and Stress Related Illness Through the Body

My current private practice is now solely online since the pandemic has dramatically changed our culture and the ways we work. In one regard, I miss the personal contact, doing hands on work, being in the same space. But I have found that being together on line is highly effective for most clients. Also, this allows me to work with people in their home environments which adds access to additional resources for healing.

The focus of my work, is offering sessions to people suffering from trauma from both developmental and shock trauma. One technique I rely on is Somatic Experiencing. The best explanation of this technique, when it is used, and the traumatic symptoms it can help are best articulated by Peter Levine. “Somatic Experiencing is a technique to help people access their own, instinctive ability to rebound from overwhelming experiences. It can be used to heal past and future traumas — because people can often learn how to prevent trauma before it happens. “

As I have seen over the decades and in different cultures, no two people experience or manifest trauma in exactly the same way. Although trauma is the source of tremendous distress and dysfunction, it is not an ailment or a disease, but the by-product of an instinctively instigated, altered state of consciousness. We enter this “survival mode” when we perceive that our lives are being threatened. If we are overwhelmed by the threat and are unable to successfully defend ourselves, we can become stuck in survival mode. When left untreated over time, it begins to form the symptoms of posttraumatic stress. These symptoms can invade every aspect of our lives, and are powerful enough to distort the very fabric of our individual, cultural, economic, religious and spiritual aspirations.

◆ These include events that are almost always traumatic : Pandemics, long Covid, climate crisis, racism, war, severe childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, experiencing or witnessing violence, rape or assault, catastrophic injuries and illness, loss of a loved one
◆ unexpected events that can be traumatic under certain circumstances:
minor car accidents, invasive medical and dental procedures, falls, natural disasters, illness

Some common Symptoms of Trauma (similar to chronic stress) include:
◆ Hyperarousal; Constriction; Dissociation; Denial, Feelings of Helplessness/ Hopelessness, intrusive imagery or “flashbacks”; extreme sensitivity to light and sound; Difficulty sleeping; Fear of going crazy; nightmares and night terrors; reduced ability to deal with stress; spaciness; amnesia and forgetfulness; abrupt mood swings; inability to love, nurture others; chronic fatigue; depression; feelings of impending doom; detached; alienated; isolated; unable to formulate plans.

Let us not forget there are many practical and Spiritual benefits of moving beyond traumatic activation. Post traumatic Growth is possible. In sessions, I teach Somatic Experiencing skills, coupled with meditative practice when appropriate. Thru experiencing embodied healing, I’ve personally seen and experienced that the nervous system can regain its capacity to self-regulate and thereby increase wellbeing.

Somatic work coupled with meditative practices, can help us gain insight and a greater capacity to live life more fully.

For my CV:
I received my MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University 1984
My SEP from Somatic Experiencing in 2000
My CMT from Diamond Massage School training in 1993
I trained with Marion Rosen, Randy Cherner, Raja Selvam, Peter Levine, many trainings and assisting trainings in somatic work too numerous to include
Mindfulness training in 1995 with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Ruth Denison over 25 years of deep Vipassana and movement training
Tibetan Buddhist teachers since 1976 including Trungpa Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche many more
Yoga training and teaching since 1974
And consistently training with great masters in Asia and US ongoing.

The lotus is unique and rises up through the mud and muck at the bottom of the lake ... resilient, sturdy, and radiant in its final manifestation