Somatic Trauma Therapy comes from the word soma, meaning body, and is a gentle therapeutic mind/body approach to help a person recover from significant overwhelming events. A single brief exposure to an overwhelming incident can throw a normally functioning individual into a continuous state of emotional and physical suffering. Somatic Therapy provides a safe, contained environment for a person to complete the thwarted responses of fight/flight/freeze. It permits an individual’s body to release the stored excess energy, and at the same time allows their nervous system to lay down new neural pathways.
Because people’s responses to traumatic events vary greatly, the easiest way to understand the nervous system and a person’s ability to recover from an overwhelming event is to think of a cup that is almost full or overflowing. Most people associate trauma with events such as violence, war, and extreme forms of abuse. However, many nonthreatening events can also be traumatic. For example, so-called minor automobile “whiplash'' accidents frequently lead to confusing and incapacitating physical and emotional symptoms.
Normal medical and dental procedures or other incidents such as a fall, or being bullied can negatively impact the nervous system. Over time a person may develop symptoms of PTSD, fears, anxiety, insomnia, asthma, headaches, ringing in the ears, chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, and chronic fatigue. Often to deal with an overwhelmed nervous system, individuals can become dependent on alcohol or drugs.
Somatic therapy helps to discharge the excess energy in the nervous system, and an individual can expect to feel better at the end of each session. Occasionally, a person can feel an increase in pain as their body comes out of dissociation, but it doesn’t last long. As the nervous system balances, an individual will feel more aware, more alive and better able to manage daily stressors in their life.