Somatic Experiencing

Dealing With PTSD

By: - Health & Fitness - September 21, 2011
somatic experiencing dealing with ptsd

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder has varied symptoms that can be resolved and relieved with a special type of therapy known as somatic experiencing.  Somatic experiencing therapy also assists in the treatment of other health problems that are connected to other physical and mental traumas.  It helps by getting the person being treated to focus on their somatic experiences or bodily sensations that the person perceives when recovering from any life-threatening types of situations.  The key in this therapy is to use sessions of face to face pyschotherapy, helping the patient to track their sensation experiences which in a sense mirrors the steps taken by wild animals to overcome such traumas.

Somatic experiencing in the form of therapy is good for shock type traumas, usually for short term use.  It can also be used as a somatic experiencing therapy to enable patients to make healing changes for traumas that have developed over a period of years.  Such therapy assists patients in enabling them to become aware of the physical tensions left behind by traumas and to become aware of these so they can slowly discharge the typical freeze, flight, fight or other survival type responses that would under normal situations shut down naturally.  However, each session used is done gradually, exposing the patient to tiny levels of their personal distresses in one go, helping them to redevelop the ability to have a higher tolerance level and the ability to hand further distress without having the typical PTSD responses.  Most importantly, the therapy gets the patient to the point of awareness and survival responses, helping him or her to return back to the normal state that they would have had before their trauma.  Using a type of pendulum effect, the patient is slowly conditioned physically and mentally to naturally go back to normal under seriously stressful situations, and it is believed that with time and work, the patient’s ability to return to a self-regulation mode that would happen in people under normal conditions is eventually restored.

Somatic experiencing as a therapy has been shown to help with people who have experienced one single event of trauma, including car accidents, battlefield events, earthquakes and the like.  However, it is also the key to treating insufficient parental to child nurturing and insufficient main caregiver to person attention or traumas that have been developmental.  As such somatic experiencing therapy can work with anyone who has to relive the fight or flight type responses that kick in with unrelated situations based on childhood and adult type traumas.

Photo: one source of PTSD, at a war memorial – public domain photo –

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