Why? For the most part women have been socialized to override our own instincts and we do so at our own peril. Women and girls have been taught to be “polite.” Even to our own perpetrators. Even when we are in danger. We’ve been socialized not to speak up, not to shout, not to use our voices to protect ourselves. We’ve been socialized to be milder than our male counterparts. Yes, some girls and women have overcome this or were taught different lessons, but it is still common to find women who are unable to sense their lack of safety, speak to it, or speak out strongly, even in just an everyday disagreement.
I know. I work with women in my therapeutic counseling office every day. Many of us still need help speaking up on our own behalf. Even in our homes. Particularly in our places of employment. And often on the street or in other situations where our well-being may be threatened.
I'm a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) in Orange County.
I’ve been trained in Somatic Experiencing (an extensive three year training) and am certified in this powerful body-oriented modality. Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a significant part of the work I do. SE is, first and foremost, a trauma-healing therapy. It’s also a powerful tool for connecting directly to the body and to the nervous system, learning how to track the body’s responses to many kinds of stimulation, and listening closely as a way of exploring emotional and physical responses. So very important.
Being able to feel the many subtle and large ways our bodies speak to us every minute of the day, day in and day out, is a huge bonus for women, in particular. And it is the birthright of all people, regardless of gender or orientation. Our bodies are the cornerstones of our early warning systems. They are always signaling our instinctual responses to us, but we don’t always remember how to listen.
When we’re not feeling our bodies, really feeling them, or really listening to them, we miss the gift our bodies can give us and the signals they send us. We miss a huge component of our great mammalian self-awareness.
Mammals listen to their bodies.
Women and men are not physically designed to feel unsafe all the time. We are designed to pick up cues from our bodies and know when we are in a threatening situation and when we’re not. We’re designed to know when we’re with safe people. We’re designed to know when we need to leave or even just to advocate strongly for ourselves. Dogs are sniffing each other out all the time: friendly/not so friendly. In a way, we’re designed to do the same.
Are you hearing your body’s Somatic Cues?
- Every individual has a different sense of personal space. Some of this is determined by culture, but a great deal of it is highly individual. And intuitive. Chances are, you’re not nearly as aware of that physical and energetic boundary as you think you are.
- Do you find yourself getting into situations that are hard to get out of?
- Do you find you’re misjudging how safe you are in a situation or with a particular person?
- Are you doing risk-taking behavior and declining to be mindful of your surroundings?
- When you’re scared, angry, confused, do you have a hard time finding your voice or speaking out strongly?
- Do you often cry when you are angry, even when you don’t want to?
- Do you find your throat tightening up when you even think about speaking up, even in nonthreatening situations?
- Perhaps it is even impossible to speak? Or feels so.
- If you want to shout out, do you find it hard to even take a deep breath, let alone use your voice?
- Is it hard for you to say “No” to anyone, let alone say “No” when it’s about your safety?
- Do you find yourself being coerced at home, at work, or socially, and you don’t want to “make a fuss,” so you just go along?
- Are you being sexual with people, even when you don’t want to be?
- Do you repeatedly find yourself in traumatizing situations?
- Are you experiencing a sense of powerlessness in your life?
Using Somatic Experiencing to increase your self-awareness.
- I work with women in my office every week around inability to speak up on their own behalf in many different kinds of situations. We do this by working with voice, volume, statements, and the powerful emotions that come up when we do this work in a conscious, directed, attentive manner. Your body has a strong response to being silenced.
- When we slow down and pay attention, it’s possible to track exactly what physical distance feels the best for you. There’s a subtle interior trigger you’ve likely been overstepping without noticing. Once you learn what that subtle sensation feels like, you can tune in when your boundaries are being challenged, emotionally or physically.
- Using your body sensations, we identify what it feels like to feel strong and powerful in your body. What it feels like to feel deep well-being and safety in your body. What it feels like to be empowered. Once you’ve slowed down and learned to listen to your body more closely, you’ll have a much better sense of how you’re actually feeling about things at any one time.
- Learning to tune into your body helps you be more attuned to all your emotions, even subtle ones. There’ll be fewer surprises in store for you. Less times when you suddenly “discover” how you feel about something.
- Once you are listening and responding to your body and it’s unique language, it will be easier to make decisions, easier to know how you feel about anything, any person, any job offer, and any situation. Men and women all have the innate capacity to tune in to themselves through the body. Often, however, we have heard it referred to as Women’s Intuition.
Somatic. It’s a big word that means “body.” You have one. We can use it to promote your healing and your safety.
It’s possible to use your awareness of the sensations in your body to promote well-being and a deeper sense of self-knowledge. It’s possible to find your voice through any therapy, but it’s an especially profound experience to utilize the powerful capacity of your body as your tool in doing so. That’s something that is unique to Somatic Experiencing as a healing modality and self-development tool.
If you’d like to chat with me about how Somatic Experiencing can support you on your journey, create a greater sense of wholeness, well-being, and safety in your body, please contact me. I’d love to speak with you. And your nervous system.