What is Somatic Experiencing?

For the last 3 years I have been immersed in the study of Somatic Experiencing…it’s a body based approach to working with the symptoms of trauma and accumulated stress…in what’s being referred to as ‘the new traumatalogy’ Somatic Experiencing is one of the leading disciplines in a new and vibrant field.
However… around Monaghan and Cavan it probably isn’t widely known – as far as I know I’m the first around these parts to have earned the title ‘Somatic Experiencing Practitioner’ SEP! Intending to put this right and spread the word about this wonderful therapeutic approach it’s my plan to write a series of articles to explain its background and potential.
In the meantime, here’s and extract from an email I sent out to my network recently – may begin to put you in the picture…but as it says – there’s more to come

Somatic Experiencing, or SE is a way of  working with trauma and accumulated stress that’s based on latest knowledge of the brain and nervous system. Over the last couple of decades there has been a veritable explosion of new knowledge about the human brain and nervous system. This new knowledge has been the result of both new technologies (Cat scans, fMRI scanners etc) and an unprecedented wave of inter-disciplinary research involving neuroscience, neurobiology, psychophysiology, psychotherapy, attachment theory, sociology, anthropology, nutrition, functional medicine etc, etc…a new understanding is emerging on the many and inter-related influences on human well-being.

The main focus of Somatic Experiencing is the nervous system. I promise to not get too technical, but  feel I should at least introduce you the nervous system. It’s job is to regulate all our essential survival functions: breathing, heart rate, digestion, elimination, muscle tone, the rhythm of sleep/wakefulness, and stress responses. Given half a chance, the nervous system does this really well, helping us rise to the occasion in a crisis and settle back down to normal functioning when the crisis is over. However the nervous system can be overwhelmed by trauma or accumulated stress. Now bearing in mind that it regulates all our vital functions, it’s easy to appreciate how nervous system disturbances can have far-reaching consequences on our health and well-being: it can contribute to symptoms which range from problems with sleep, digestion, headaches, chronic muscle tension to full-blown syndromes such as IBS and ME. Somatic Experiencing Practitioners are trained to recognize signs of nervous system dysregulation and to work with the client in re-establishing the conditions which allow the nervous system to resume its normal function.

But I promised not to get technical – if you’re curious about the scope or SE (and I hope you are!), I intend to post a series of articles on my website explaining a bit more. As well as providing some background, I’ll offer some  easy self-help techniques you can use yourself to help your nervous system stay healthy and resilient.

For the moment, suffice it to say that SE has had a profound influence on me: in both my work and personal life I have felt it’s very positive impact.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to the many new and hopeful areas of research and practice with which SE is associated. But with study over for the moment, I am hoping now to immerse myself in spreading the word…At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, I feel this information is so important  that everybody needs to know! And  I have a bit of a strategy  for making it available in a way that will be easy for you to access. At the moment it’s a 3-pronged strategy that goes something like this:

1. From Stress to Resilience: a 6-week course
Understanding how our brain, body and nervous system work can be a powerful tool in mitigating the feelings of anxiety, tension that can be caused by trauma or accumulated stress. So, I’m offering this 6-week psycho-education programme based on the theoretical underpinnings of Somatic Experiencing. Blending fascinating input with nourishing practice, the course aims to be informative and deeply encouraging – offering tools for living with greater ease, connection and resilience.
Starting in the Be Well Clinic in Monaghan on Wed 27 Jan, 7 to 9pm Further details, see the attached flyer

  1. Somatic Experiencing: One-to-One Sessions
    Perhaps you are experiencing persistent symptoms of stress: digestive problems, issues with sleep, mood swings, chronic pain, and fatigue are frequently the result of trauma or accumulated stress. If you feel you need more than a course, why not contact me and I can explain how Somatic Experiencing works as a one-to- one therapy.  Tel: 086 8120332
  2. Articles to appear soon on www.ways-to-wellness.org
    You might not want to take one-to-one sessions or attend a course, but I’d still love you to know something about this material – I’m hope to start posting by the end of the month

 

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