There are many events in which our nervous systems might perceive some type of danger or trauma, and it is very different from how our minds or emotions process it. Trauma can be the result of a specific event, or an accumulation of stress. Often our minds can justify or push through an experience, and tell us that it’s not a big deal or we’ll be fine. However, our nervous system can store this trauma and it can create lasting effects that we might not be able to explain.
Imagine our nervous system as an electric circuit, and when something significant or startling happens, the circuit is cut short. Our body will try to reconnect or relive the event, trying to process and release it, often unsuccessfully. Somatic Experiencing is a way to begin reconnecting the circuits in your nervous system. It is a body-oriented approach to healing trauma or stress disorders based on physiology, psychology, neuroscience and Indigenous healing practices, with over 45 years of research.
Somatic Experiencing often works by moving our body from the nervous system’s sympathetic response of fight or flight, and creates release in its “rest and digest” parasympathetic system. It is quite common to experience a sense of exhaustion or tiredness, or digestive response after a session. Each time, the body is able to release some of what it has been holding onto, creating change within the body and mind.