What’s all the hype around Somatic Experiencing?
Everybody is getting into ‘somatics’ these days, but what the heck does that mean?
It can mean a lot of things! The root soma means ‘body,’ which is a handy place to start in our definition. But beyond that the field of somatics is highly divergent. From bodywork to meditation to movement practices to activism to some forms of psychotherapy- somatic means centering the experience of the body.
“Somatic ExperiencingTM,” however, is a specific form of nervous system work used to process traumatic experiences and build greater capacity and resiliency. I know, it’s a whole bunch of buzzwords all thrown together in one sentence, so let me get a bit more detailed.
Somatic Experiencing (SE), can look a bit like talk therapy, in that the practitioner and the client are in a room together and in verbal communication. However, rather than centering narrative and the verbal piece, SE works to invite the client into what their body (their soma) is experiencing in the here and now so that bottom up integration is possible.
We work with 5 channels of noticing: sensation, emotion, movement, thought, and imagery. By inviting curiosity and awareness in these five channels we can begin to weave together your body’s story of a given experience. An SE practitioner is trained to track your physiology and help you notice changes in any of these five channels throughout the session. So while you may be reporting verbally that you feel ‘fine,’ I will ask you to notice what ‘fine’ is actually like, or to perhaps ask you to notice the heat rising through your face.
Why is this important? If you have had a difficult experience that comes to you as recurrent flash backs, it can feel like it runs your life. Maybe you have to avoid a certain part of town, or you can’t think about your baby’s birth without bursting into tears. Whatever it is, it feels out of your control. Somatic Experiencing helps your body makes sense of your experiences and regain a feeling of choice and agency.
Beyond acute trauma, SE is also an incredible tool for ongoing nervous system regulation. As a parent, Somatic Experiencing is hands down the most important practice in my life. It has allowed me to be present with my children through their rage, grief, and other big emotions. It’s given me tools to find my center and to move through my own rage and grief. Somatic Experiencing is what has supported me in being the parent I want to be, and not the parent I was taught to be through my own upbringing.
Nervous System Health = Emotional Health = Mental Health
SE can help with acute or chronic pain, anxiety, depression, rage, hopelessness, dissociation, and so much more. These expressions are founded in the state of your nervous system. The more we can move your activation through and build capacity to settle, the more safe and joyful you be inside your body, rather than dissociating from it.
It’s a bit like this:
It’s important to find an SE provider who feels attuned to you. Trauma happens within relationship (or the lack there of), so healing also has to happen in relationship (and the presence there of). If the relationship doesn’t feel right, healing is going to be difficult.
I see clients both in person and virtually out of my office in downtown Missoula.
I work a lot with folks who have experienced difficult or overwhelming births, gynecological trauma, and sexual boundary ruptures. I work with men, women, and non binary individuals.
One of the beautiful things about this past year of quarantine is so many more practitioners are working online, and are now available to work with even from afar. If you’re interested in exploring SE, I want to encourage you to shop around and find a practitioner that feels like a good fit for you.
You can find me, Prairie Wolfe, online at www.somaticconnections.org or on Instagram @somaticconnections.
This month we celebrate 7 years of Primal Practice. As we have traveled the journey a lot of things have changed - location (3 times!), staff, assessments etc, but one thing has remained constant.
We have talked about, dreamed about, and wrote about how to protect and improve a person’s health on a daily basis.
Health has been a hot topic lately, and everyone has different viewpoint on what constitutes health for themselves and society at large.
Our stance is never to presume we know what is best for yours and your family’s health. But, to encourage you to be proactive, to explore, and to support your health daily.
Health is NOT an absence of symptoms or a deficiency in medication when pain and dysfunction come calling. Health is a series of small daily steps that accumulate and can never be replaced by a grand gesture.
We like to think we’ve been talking about health before it was the ‘cool topic’ around the water cooler. We are here to support you in anyway that feels right to you. Reach out with a question or comment. We will always reach back.
Peace, Love & Wellness
September 18th is the birth of Chiropractic. We wanted to share a couple of fun facts that you may not know about this amazing healing profession:
Have you wondered about making your own herbal medicine? Herbs have long been used in many cultures to support the body and help as it heals.
Ginger Turmeric Oxymel is a delicious and easy way to support your body in times of healing. Ginger and turmeric are both potent herbs to assist with inflammation.
If you are looking to learn more about herbs and plant medicine, Learning Herbs is a great website full of helpful (and free!) information. As always, you can always reach out with questions!
In health and wellness,
Technology is all around us, and while it’s super beneficial in many ways it can be a detriment to our health.
Have you ever noticed the position of your neck while you’re on your phone? Bent over and looking down. Due to overuse of our devices this posture now has a name… text neck. And due to this position, the body is actually laying down a new bone in the neck to help protect and combat this position.
Our posture is intimately linked to our nervous system and how the messages from brain to body and vice versa communicate. Healthy curves keep our body functioning to its optimum.
If you catch yourself bent over your phone, stop and raise your head to neutral and bring your phone/tablet to meet your eyes… or better yet, put it down and connect to the people right in front of you!
Social connection via technology is a poor substitute for the real thing and can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. Intentionally use of technology is the secret sauce to getting the most out of our devices, while not feeling like a slave to them!
Let us know in the comments how you intentionally use your devices… or what you’d like to start implementing ;)
We are the sum of every action, reaction, and experience that we have ever had. This means that when it comes to thinking about our bodies and the expression of health, we are not just the person of today, but the sum of everything that has brought us to this point.
When put into that perspective health can feel overwhelming. You may be looking back on your past and thinking about all the things that you have done that are not remotely healthy. Or you may be remembering all the great things you’ve done to nourish your body.
No matter where you're at right now with your health, you have the capacity to make positive change. Our capacity to heal is tremendous and happens to and for us on a daily basis. Our bodies will continue to heal to the best of their ability, no matter how you treat it.
This means our health can fly under the radar of our consciousness because our bodies are so adaptable and resilient. If we aren’t choosing supportive actions for health, eventually our bodies will get our attention through injury, symptoms and disease. When this does occur, the length of dysfunction has been longer than we realize, because of our inherently adaptable nature.
We get one body and one life to live. Each action, reaction and experience can support your body's innate capacity for health or it can move it closer and faster to dis-ease. Everything we talk about in the office is grounded in supporting your healing potential and empowering you to trust your body to be well.
Choose health daily, I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
Peace, Love & Wellness