First, I'll Have To Admit I'm Biased.
So, I might as well put my cards on the table up front.
I love Somatic Experiencing.
And it's not just because I've spent a ton (ton!) of treasure and four years of specialized training (past my MA) to secure my knowledge base, either. I love SE and my clients love it. I find it so useful I'm right this minute arranging for yet another year of Masters Level training, Organic Intelligence™ with the esteemed Steven Hoskinson, and following that with an additional two-year training in the NeuroAffective Relational Model™ with Dr. Larry Heller and Dr. Aline LaPierre starting in 2016. I can't get enough. And neither can my clients. There's a reason this is true.
Awesome. But What Does Any of That Have To Do With You?
1. Do You Have A Body?
It's neat how that all works.
So, Number One, you have a body. Great! Chances are, SE is good for you.
2. Have You Had Experiences In Your Body?
What kind of experiences qualify you as someone who might benefit from Somatic Experiencing and learning how to be more aware of what is going on in your body and how it impacts your life, relationships, habits, decisions, personality formation, anxiety, and ability to self-regulate?
Well, conception, gestation and birth. Got it! Anything from simple falls to surgeries, car accidents, earthquakes, tsunamis, and inescapable assaults. Attachment disruption in childhood and chaotic, violent, or addicted family systems. Somehow ending up feeling less-than, unseen, unlovable, invisible, alone. Or as the trauma community says: Big T trauma and Little T trauma (the things that may be even more traumatic but which we so often fail to note as trauma). All are suitable applications for Somatic Experiencing.
What it comes down to is we all have experiences stored in our bodies that have an impact on our lives and warrant our attention. Somatic Experiencing is a fantastic way to bring that healing attention to bear.
3. Are You Experiencing High Levels Of Anxiety Or Distress?
Why would Somatic Experiencing be an appropriate approach for anxiety? Anxiety is a very sensation-based and highly uncomfortable experience. In fact, it is so uncomfortable we will do anything to outrun or numb the sensations of panic and anxiety, including trying to turn off our access to feeling our bodies. Numbing coping strategies may include over-working, over-exercising, over-eating, drinking, drugging, gambling, obsessive use of pornography, over-doing anything, managing our lives through high levels of control, exhibiting controlling and distancing behaviors with the people we love most, and exhausting ourselves with worry. SE is one of my most powerful tools for taming anxiety and healing the anxious nervous system.
If you're experiencing periods of overwhelming anxiety, Somatic Experiencing is your new best friend. And it is a tool not just any therapist has in their bag of tricks. Although Peter Levine started developing this work over 20 years ago, it can still be hard to find a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) in your community. This is true in Orange County as well.
4. Have You Experienced Trauma?
Our bodies hold our experiences. All of them. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Given the right strategic support and care, your body is capable of metabolizing and releasing stored residual trauma. Your body houses your ability to be in contact with your own inborn and innate sense of well-being and wholeness and can become your most effective tool in healing. Nowhere is this more important than in addressing traumas of all kinds and PTSD. Somatic psychotherapy is fast becoming the Gold Standard for supporting these difficult life experiences.
5. Have You Had A Lot Of Therapy And Feel Like There Is Still Work Left To Do?
Really, some of the great buzz around SE is exactly about this point. We sometimes get the credit for solving an issue, when the reality is we came in as the Somatic Cleaning Crew and wiped up the last bits of stubborn residual experience.
6. Is "Personal Growth And Evolvement Over The Course Of My Lifetime" One Of Your Tenets?
7. You're SE-Curious.
This Is The Part We Call "The Call To Action."
You know my bias.
Somatic Experiencing is a healing balm for bodies with nervous systems. You have one. Consider supporting your body in a way that is nourishing, effective, and safe.