Overcoming Trauma using tools like Somatic Experiencing and awareness
In the following you will get basic understanding of how trauma works and how Somatic Experiencing combined with mindful awareness helps overcoming it.
Highly stressful events can leave the nervous system disorganized and be experienced as traumatic. What happened exceeded our range of tolerance and capacity to self regulate.
Trauma therefor primarily is a physical experience. It only secondarily effects the psyche.
Good news are: the human nervous system is designed to cope with stress.
It can work through perceived danger and find its way back to rest. That’s its nature. In this process consciousness as well as time, space and connection is key.
Effects and symptoms of trauma
High levels of energy released in the moment of subjectively experienced threat are stored in the nervous system. That profoundly effects pretty much any functioning of the body: from breathing to heart rate, digestion, eye sight, capacity to relax and be present and so on.
A wide variety of symptoms point to deeply embodied trauma such as flashbacks, overthinking, numbness, being highly alert, inappropriate reactions, depression, anxiety but also migraine, very high or low blood pressure and many more.
How to work through trauma and release it’s effects
First and foremost it’s to say that in the process of trauma healing it is fundamental to be with someone who can hold the space with awareness and can offer a safe container for whatever wants to surface.
Somatic Experiencing® doesn’t deal with the traumatic event itself so much, but with the physical reaction to it. Together with a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner you can gently move through embodied memory of traumatic events even with no explizit memory present about what had happened. All that is needed is mindfulness, awareness of arising body sensations (felt sense) as well as a sense of safety.
This enables the body to complete a natural process which couldn’t happen in the moment of overwhelm. High levels of stored stress can finally discharge.
Trauma is part of life. However you are not doomed to live with its effects for the rest of you life.
Benefits of healing from trauma
Going through this process mindfully the nervous system can gradually return to its natural flexibility. The further we proceed on the healing journey…
- The better we can self regulate
- The easier it gets to resource ourselves
- The quicker we find back to a place of calm and clear seeing
- The bigger gets the window of tolerance, meaning we can tolerate more without needing to go into overwhelm reactions
- The less we are chased and remote controlled by old experiences
While working with overwhelming experiences the focus is on shifting…
- From dissociation to connection
- From numbness to aliveness
- From stress to rest
- From overwhelm to joy of life
- From tuned out to being present
In a nutshell it is working towards a more balanced and therefore healthier nervous system.
However is important to understand professional help is needed.