Somatic Therapy Techniques for Dealing With Trauma
Somatic therapy techniques are a type of psychotherapy that works with the body to heal from trauma, chronic pain, and emotional and mental health challenges. These approaches should be seen as complementary to traditional talk therapy but not an alternative replacement for it.
Practicing somatic techniques can be done independently or with the guidance of a therapist. It is an effective way to release tension in the body while decreasing stress and anxiety levels.
Mindfulness is a somatic therapy technique that encourages you to become more mindful of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. It may be especially beneficial for those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other symptoms related to anxiety, depression and stress.
Centering is a fundamental practice in somatic therapy and it involves creating a sense of calm within the body through breathing patterns, movement and meditative techniques. This process assists patients in cultivating an attitude of acceptance which is necessary for healing to take place.
Centering, breathing exercises and meditation are powerful tools for managing chronic stress. When used together with other types of somatic techniques, these can further compound their benefits.
Tensing & Relaxing is a somatic therapy technique that can be helpful in relieving stress and tension from the body. This technique involves tensing then deeply relaxing each muscle group, particularly useful for relieving back, neck, and shoulder pain or discomfort caused by long-term stress or anxiety.
Titration is a somatic therapy technique that can be effective for healing from traumatic experiences. During this session, the therapist will guide the patient through their memory of an event while paying close attention to how their body responds.
Therapists use sequenced breathing to monitor the body’s response to trauma. They pay close attention to the order in which feelings such as tightness in the chest or trembling of the throat leave, so that patients can recognize when it’s time to alter their response when faced with painful or stressful circumstances.
Titration is not the only somatic therapy technique that can be effective for dealing with trauma. In pendulation, the therapist gradually transitions their client’s focus from stressful sensations to calm feelings while discussing their traumatic memory.
Boundaries are an essential element of somatic therapy and can be taught during sessions through movement, verbal, and nonverbal cues. This provides clients with healthy boundaries when interacting with others as well as in daily life.
Bodywork is an effective somatic therapy technique to release tension in muscles and the nervous system. This can be done through working with a massage therapist who manipulates tissue within muscles, tendons, or joints.
Sensorimotor work is a somatic therapy technique primarily utilized for those suffering from PTSD or other forms of trauma. This therapy works on the idea that our bodies hold onto painful memories and experiences, manifesting in various ways such as intrusive images, thoughts, tension, panic, unhealthy relationships and feelings of sadness or despair.