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Somatic Trauma Therapy

Thank you for your interest in the Somatic Trauma Therapy sessions. 

I am currently doing a year long course with The School of Holistic Therapies which will award me the title of Somatic Trauma Therapist in June 2024. The course is based on Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing® and Babette Rothschild’s model of trauma resolution and fundamentally informed by Polyvagal Theory as proposed by Stephen Porges, PhD. The course is accredited by The Federation of Holistic Therapists and is underwritten by Balens Insurance.

 

Whilst studying, I will be offering sessions at the reduced rate of £40 per session. If you are a LGBTQI+ person on low income, you may access the LGBTIQI+ fund to receive a further 30% off per session.

I look forward to hearing from you! 

 

What is Somatic Trauma Therapy and what are its aims?

 

For those not familiar with Somatic Trauma Therapy, it is a type of trauma resolution therapy that places particular emphasis on mind-body integration by working with the nervous system to help calm and regulate. It aims to help individuals make sense of bodily sensations and behaviours in the aftermath of the a traumatic incident as well as helping them to integrate these into a comprehensive narrative. This therapy also aims to eliminate symptoms of nervous system hyperarousal in connection with traumatic memories thus relegating the devastating  and often debilitating effects of trauma to the past. Somatic Trauma Therapy helps individuals improve their body awareness, recover and discover healthy and positive ways of relating to one's body in a context of safety and therapeutic containment. 

“Somatic” itself means “of or relating to the body”.

How is Somatic Trauma Therapy carried out?

 

During a session we sit with whichever feelings you might have on that particular day and become curious about what the body has to say. A somatic therapist will help you track and explore these feelings, sensations and emotions in a gentle and safe way in order to safely discharge emotion from your body by using various mind-body techniques. These discharges will gradually happen as your body recognises it is safe enough to do so.  It is natural, although not a requirement, to cry, laugh, move and release emotion in a variety of very individual ways. Not everyone will respond or discharge energy in the same way but it is worth understanding that nervous system discharges are not out of control 'outbursts' of emotion. You will always be in control of your session and be held in a as safe as possible environment. 

 

Is there any touching involved?

Generally, no. When required, appropriate touch might be introduced during the sessions but this is not mandatory. For example, I might ask you to push against my hand/foot/pillow when trying to release a movement in the course of the session. 

Do I have to commit to a minimum number of sessions?

 

It is advisable that you reflect about the time and financial commitment you're willing to make. It is particularly important to build rapport with a therapist and spend time creating a safe environement before we start exploring more uncomfortable feelings. For that reason, I'd recommend that you commit to a minimum of 6 sessions and then review every 3 sessions whether or not you feel like you'd like to continue the therapy. If you decide Somatic Trauma Therapy isn’t for you, we don’t have to continue the sessions. Some people are more suited to one type of therapy than another and that is absolutely ok. 

Can the sessions be done online?

 

Yes, we can work both in-person (from North Junction Street) and online, according to your preference. Both are £40 per session.

Are the sessions confidential?

 

Our work together will be confidential within the confines of the usual safeguarding considerations which means that disclosure might need to be made if I become aware of serious criminal activity, you are at serious imminent risk of harm from yourself or someone else or that someone else is in danger. I will discuss my client work with my supervisor but clients will never be identified to the supervisor.

 

How does Somatic Trauma Therapy differ from talk therapies like counselling and CBT?

 

Typical talk therapies such as CBT mostly engage the mind, encouraging people to become aware of disturbing/unhelpful thoughts and behaviour patterns and work to change them. In Somatic Trauma Therapy, the body is the starting point to achieve healing (this is known as bottom-up approach, as opposed to CBT’s top-down approach). Somatic therapy cultivates an awareness of bodily sensations, and teaches people to feel safe in their bodies while exploring thoughts, emotions, and memories.

 

Do I have to relive traumatic events?

 

No, doing so could be re-traumatising. However, uncomfortable sensations connected with past memories/trauma will come up in the course of our work together but these will always be handled in a safe way to avoid retraumatisation. The focus of the therapy is in facilitating you to release these emotions from the body.

 

What do you consider trauma to be?

 

What's traumatic is personal. Other people can't know how you feel about your own experiences or if they were traumatic for you. You might have similar experiences to someone else, but be affected differently. 

 

Trauma can include events where you feel:

  • frightened

  • under threat

  • humiliated

  • rejected

  • abandoned

  • invalidated

  • unsafe

  • unsupported

  • trapped

  • ashamed

  • powerless

  • ...

 

Ways trauma can happen include:

  • one-off or ongoing events

  • being directly harmed

  • witnessing harm to someone else

  • living in a traumatic atmosphere

  • being affected by trauma in a family or community

  • ...

 

Your experience of trauma might relate to parts of your identity, including if you've been harassed, bullied or discriminated against. If you've experienced trauma and identify as LGBTQIA+, Mind’s information on LGBTQIA+ mental health may be helpful for you.

 

Is there research evidence that Somatic Trauma Therapy works?

 

Existing research on Somatic Trauma Therapy is extremely promising and encouraging. However, this field of study hasn’t benefited from research funding in the same way CBT and counselling has but hopefully this will change in the future as we start to understand the benefits this type of therapy has on traumatised individuals.

Where can I find more information about trauma and how it affects the body?

 

I recommend that you read 'The body keeps the score' and 'The myth of normal', both also available as audio books.

 

*Text excerpts above were taken from Harvard, Mind and Forbes websites.

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