Discover Healing Through Somatic Therapy: Reclaim Your Body, Reclaim Your Life
By Tara Rullo, LCSW
Somatic therapy is a treatment approach that recognizes the mind-body connection and focuses on the experiences of the body, sensations, and movement to promote emotional healing and overall well-being. In the context of trauma, somatic therapy can be particularly effective because trauma often manifests not only as psychological symptoms but also as physical sensations and tensions in the body. Here’s how somatic therapy helps trauma survivors:
• Body Awareness: Trauma survivors often disconnect from their bodies as a way to cope with overwhelming sensations. Somatic therapy helps individuals reconnect with their bodies, increasing awareness of bodily sensations, movements, and postures. This awareness can provide valuable information about emotional states and triggers.
• Release of Physical Tension: Trauma can lead to chronic muscular tension and pain. Somatic techniques, such as body scanning and gentle movements, help individuals release physical tension stored in the body. This can provide relief from physical discomfort and promote relaxation.
• Regulation of the Nervous System: Somatic therapy focuses on regulating the autonomic nervous system, which controls the body’s stress response. Techniques like deep breathing, grounding exercises, and mindful movement can help regulate the nervous system, reducing symptoms of anxiety, hyperarousal, and hypervigilance commonly experienced in trauma survivors.
• Integration of Traumatic Memories: Traumatic memories are often stored in the body. Somatic therapy allows individuals to revisit and process these memories through gentle movements and body awareness. By integrating the body’s sensations with the emotional experience, traumatic memories can be processed and released in a safe and controlled manner.
• Mindfulness and Presence: Somatic therapy emphasizes being present in the moment and cultivating mindfulness. By focusing on bodily sensations and movements, individuals learn to stay present and grounded, reducing the likelihood of being overwhelmed by traumatic memories or triggers.
• Empowerment: Somatic therapy empowers individuals by providing them with tools and techniques to self-regulate and manage their physical and emotional responses. Learning to listen to and trust their bodies can enhance a person’s sense of control and self-efficacy.
• Holistic Healing: Somatic therapy recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body. By addressing both psychological and physical aspects of trauma, it offers a holistic approach to healing, promoting overall well-being and recovery.
Remember that healing is a nonlinear process. There will be ups and downs, but with time, support, and self-care, it is possible to move forward and reclaim your life after trauma.