Somatic Approaches to Working with Trauma
Somatic approaches propose that when a trauma experience is unprocessed and becomes an issue to daily living it is being held in the body and the way to release this trauma is to work from a bottom up approach, that is working with the body.
Top down approaches are primarily language based “traditional talk therapy” which are helpful for looking at thought processes, belief systems, and the clients story/narrative, however can leave the connection to the body unexplored and unfulfilled.
Bottom up approaches are “getting out of the head” and learning to be attune to and trust ones own body, gut responses, and intuition. This is important for trauma survivors and also can be a very uncomfortable and difficult process because they are stuck in patterns of hyperarousal, dissociation, and/or numbing that have formed since the trauma experience.
Bottom up approaches encourages connection with our internal orientation, feeling through movements, and responding emotionally before moving to the cognitive integration.
The role of the therapist is not to interpret the trauma but to facilitate self-awareness and self regulation throughout the process by offering a non-judgemental and compassionate presence.
The focus of my work is creating safety through relational connection with the client and slowly guide the client to arriving in safety in their own body and experience for integration of their trauma experience with their present experience. I provide a creative outlet for integration of their processing, that is, to help access their right brain and help to integrate their learning through using modalities such as trauma informed expressive art therapy sensorimotor psychotherapy, sensorimotor art therapy, somatic experiencing, Polyvagal theory, and compassionate inquiry.