Somatic Therapy for Healing Trauma
When it comes to healing trauma, verbal processing has its place. It’s often incredibly transformative to be able to give voice to your story, and to name your experiences honestly and authentically. Experiencing the safety and containment to finally put words to things that feel unspeakable, and to be witnessed in that, can be so powerful.
And…healing trauma also requires a somatic, or body-based, component.
To understand why somatic practices are so important though, we have to back up a few steps to understand what’s happening when you experience trauma.
What Is Trauma?
You’ll find a variety of definitions out there about what trauma is. It’s a complex and nuanced experience that deserves many more details than one blog post can offer. But I find it helpful to distill it down to Gabor Mate’s definition: “Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you.” Trauma is how overwhelmed your body was after the experience. Or how your internal system perceived aloneness alongside the event.
And because of the overwhelming effect on your body, we have to tend to your somatic experience in order to heal the trauma.
Somatic Therapy + the Nervous System
One way we facilitate somatic healing is by working with the nervous system. As Deb Dana describes it, your autonomic nervous system is your “personal surveillance system” that listens “moment by moment to what is happening in and around our bodies and in the connections we have to others.”
Its priority is your safety and protection.
But when trauma disrupts your nervous system’s ability to return to a regulated state, you’re left with a body bogged down with survival energy.
The survival energy needed to get you through the overwhelming moment gets stuck, causing you to feel chronically anxious, hypervigilant, or hopeless. Thoughts matter, but you can’t think your way out of this or into safety. Breaking free from anxiety requires rewiring your nervous system. And rewiring your nervous system involves speaking the language of the body: sensation.
Doing so may involve learning to listen to your body, exploring gentle movements that regulate your system, or utilizing visualizations to expand your sense of embodiment. In any case, you deserve to have a thriving relationship with your body.
Your body tells the story you’ve lived. As a somatic-based trauma therapist, I help you learn how to listen.
Next Steps: Connect with a Somatic Therapist For Trauma Support
Ready to embrace your body’s wisdom and find freedom from trauma & anxiety? Reach out to a qualified trauma therapist at Fio Counseling following the 3 easy steps:
- Schedule a free 20-minute consult call at a time that’s convenient for you.
- Connect with a trauma specialist in Denver, CO at Fio Counseling.
- Find the support you need to heal from trauma.
About the Author: Ali Arteaga, LPCC
Ali Arteaga (she/her) is a trauma therapist and the founder of Fio Counseling, a mental health therapy practice in Colorado. With a passion for connection, compassion, and curiosity, Ali is dedicated to helping her clients reclaim their lives from trauma and live abundant, authentic lives.
Embracing her own healing journey through complex trauma led Ali to devote her life to helping others feel at home within themselves. She’s been there (personally and professionally) and is a gentle, compassionate guide helping you find your way back to you.
Ali honors the uniqueness of your story and meets you where you’re at. She weaves in evidenced-based modalities such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy and somatic therapy into her work with clients.