Therapeutic Soma: Integrating Trauma By Somatic Experiencing

Healing Soma: Integrating Trauma Through Somatic Experiencing

There’s an embodied revolution occurring within the discipline of psychotherapy, counselling, and psychological well being. Somatic psychology, which is the psychology of the physique, prioritizes a person’s residing expertise of embodiment as the muse for experiences in life. Somatic therapies work with an individual’s physique, thoughts, and spirit.

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Trauma is inherently an embodied response, though the physiology of trauma has solely obtained skilled consideration in more moderen years. Offering protected physiological retailers for pent up vitality throughout the physique can assist to resolve traumatic tensions for people, because it seems that trauma isn’t outlined by any particular occasion in life, however slightly displays an individual’s incapacity to discharge survival vitality.1 Trauma isn’t a illness or a dysfunction; trauma displays how we will turn into fragmented once we turn into fully paralyzed, helpless, and overwhelmed inside a wide range of conditions in life.2

Dr. Peter Levine, who pioneered and developed somatic experiencing, realized traumatic experiences have an effect on excess of simply our ideas. Regardless of many finest intentions within the discipline of remedy, it seems we will’t assume ourselves out of traumatic experiences; essentially, trauma is a felt sense expertise and never a wholly cognitive or rational course of.

Supply: Photograph by Nidhi Bhat on Unsplash

That’s why somatic experiencing guides individuals to hook up with their bodily sensations, feelings, behaviours, deeper which means, and the unconscious photographs related to their struggling. As a substitute of specializing in individuals’s narratives or cognitive understandings of trauma, somatic experiencing works with the physique’s physiology to discharge survival energies safely. somatic experiencing helps people to attach with their felt sense experiences in a brand new means, and to develop a deeper relationship to their inside sources in a supportive therapeutic surroundings.

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One of many distinctive hallmarks of somatic experiencing is that trauma responses, comparable to battle, flight, freeze, or fawn, might be skilled in small, incremental, and manageable steps slightly than evoking overwhelming misery.3 This method is extremely compassionate, because the gradual nature of the remedy helps keep away from re-traumatization because it doesn’t expose individuals too rapidly to their very own traumatic experiences. Dr. Levine refers to this as titration, which implies, much less is extra. Pausing, slowing down, observing, changing into extra conscious and extra inquisitive about our inside experiences is a gradual course of.

Over time, people who’ve skilled trauma are slowly capable of develop their arousal states, and their private vary of resiliency for tolerating misery. That is what is named pendulation, which is a gently paced strategy of shifting out and in of inside sensations. The flexibility to expertise sturdy sensations with much less stress takes time as famous above, and pendulation must happen at an attuned tempo that isn’t too overwhelming or underwhelming. Finally, individuals can expertise new embodied sensations that assist them really feel safer, extra well-regulated, and empowered in day-to-day life.

Is There Proof to Help Somatic Experiencing?

Sure. Listed here are three key examples of somatic analysis for trauma:

  • Discipline based mostly analysis demonstrates what number of people have had partial or full decision of trauma-related signs in relation to pure disasters, inside each acute and long-term settings.4,5
  • A quasi-experimental research discovered that somatic experiencing had a major discount of post-traumatic stress for refugee ladies, along with growing mindfulness ranges.6
  • A randomized management trial has demonstrated how somatic experiencing considerably diminished PTSD signs related to persistent decrease again ache.7

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This analysis record is a beneficial place to begin, however it’s not exhaustive by any means. But, it is usually troublesome to grasp the total effectiveness of somatic experiencing as this therapeutic orientation just isn’t as effectively researched in distinction to different mainstream therapeutic approaches. Extra holistic and integrative approaches to therapeutic routinely face political and systematic boundaries, which implies much less funding for analysis.

It is also essential to notice that there’s a super quantity of anecdotal proof for somatic experiencing’s efficacy from clinicians themselves, and individuals who have been the recipient of this distinctive therapeutic modality. Furthermore, somatic experiencing is slowly build up a powerful quantity of analysis demonstrating its efficacy. As a fairly accessible remedy (with considerably accessible coaching for therapists), somatic experiencing as an intervention is extraordinarily beneficial for additional analysis to discover. The modality’s worth is additional demonstrated given that’s a non-pharmacological intervention that requires no gear, might be practiced in-person or just about, and has an intuitive embodied element that interprets effectively cross-culturally.

Connecting to soma (physique) is crucial if we hope to re-discover a felt sense of vitality and well-being after a traumatic expertise. The physique doesn’t should be solely a supply of ache, stress, or concern; it may be a profound place of connection, pleasure, and marvel.


1. van der Kolk, B. (2014). The physique retains rating: Mind, thoughts, and physique within the therapeutic of trauma. Penguin Books.

2. Levine, P. (1997). Waking the tiger: Therapeutic trauma. North Atlantic Books.

3. Payne, P., Levine, P., & Crane-Godreau, M. (2015). Somatic experiencing: Utilizing interoception and proprioception as core parts of trauma remedy. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 93.

4. Leitch, L. (2007). Somatic experiencing remedy with tsunami survivors in Thailand: Broadening the scope of early intervention. Traumatology, 13(3), 11–20.

5. Parker, C., Physician, R., & Selvam, R. (2008). Somatic remedy remedy results with tsunami survivors. Traumatology, 14(3), 103–109.

6. Neslihan, A. (2021). The effectiveness of somatic experience-based stabilization program for refugee ladies’s post-traumatic stress, mindfulness, and social assist stage. Psycho-educational Analysis Evaluations, 10(1), 46-60.

7. Andersen, T., Lahav, Y., Ellegaard, H., & Manniche, C. (2017). A randomized managed trial of transient somatic experiencing for persistent low again ache and comorbid post-traumatic stress dysfunction signs. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8, 1-9.

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