Somatic Experiencing and healing of trauma

In this approach, various protocols based on touch and movement are offered. They are intended to stimulate organic intelligence in order to allow a discharge of enkystees traumatic energy. This gentle and reassuring of the Somatic Experiencing approach aims to encourage the incarnation, defined as the conscious perception of the presence of our body. It is based on gravity as a unifying principle of the intrinsic movement. When the body gives way to the force of gravity, the person may move in the here and now and get into immobility without fear, which is a way of freezing out.

Traumatism healing

What does just mouse before being trapped in the legs of the cat? It is the dead. What do we, humans, when we face a danger that exceeds our ability to cope? We also, we freeze we. When the fight or flight are no longer possible, it is indeed "the last instinctual response available to reptiles and mammals", says the American Peter A. Levine, founder of a therapeutic trauma resolution method called somatic experiencing (SE) or "somatic experience". Little known in France (50 practitioners), it is very developed in the United States.

It is by studying animals this physiologist has had, there are some forty years, the intuition of a similarity between their response in the face of danger and our. But he also noted a key difference. If the cat does not eat the mouse after having played with it, celleci out of the freezing, short in all directions and unloading the chosen voltage (she flees and attacks "into the void"), takes over the course of his life without damage. Man, streamlines, looking for explanations, wants to show it has notes and everything is fine. And as a result it leaves freezing to continue. For Peter A. Levine, it is this mechanism of extension of the freezing well beyond the period of danger that creates the trauma. And not the event itself.

In mice as in humans, immobility is not cowardice: it is a strategy of last resort that allows him to stay alive until the danger has passed. By the dead, the mouse can deceive its predator and enjoy a moment's inattention to escape. In the worst cases, this altered state of consciousness will have the ultimate advantage to lessen his pain.

Breaking the vicious circle

To limit the trauma after a fall, for example, let your body. "Don't get up immediately as if nothing had happened." Observe without judgment the numbness and tremors, the sensations of hot and cold running through your body – with, if possible, the benevolent support of another person who provides your physical and emotional safety. Stay on the ground and wait that your nervous system discharge spontaneously the strong activation it contains. When you witness a crash, do the same: try to regulate your own nervous system by breathing, by anchoring in the ground, then, once appeased, to help each other unload his energy.

In humans, this anesthetic physical and psychological is designated by the term of "mechanism of dissociation". It's what allows us to bear the unbearable. But this way of 'cut out' has significant implications for the organization. "It's as if, in a car at 100 mph,"flee or fight", we suddenly pulled the hand brake," he details. The energy that could not be discharged is then trapped in the body and can cause countless somatic, behavioural and relational symptoms classically described in the "post-traumatic anxiety disorder. As a result, then a pathological cycle: responses of fight and flight, unspoken, lead to feelings of rage and terror. Internalized, they terrorize us as we repress them. And, to better suppress them, we develop more symptoms, which us freeze more and fuel our fears. This is the vicious circle of the trauma.

To read Peter A. Levine, we are all traumatized. "Each of us has lived at least a traumatic experience during his life," he wrote. Our birth, abuse, sexual abuse, fire, flood, natural disaster, anesthesia or surgery surgery, all that the body has felt as a threat that he could not react by running away or fighting is potentially traumatic. However, points out Michel Schittecatte, the postulate that the trauma is not related to what happened to us, but is the result of a process that did not go to its natural end, has three positive consequences. "The first is that we have in our body our own healing potential: is our instinctual ability out of freezing." The second is that we can participate actively, with the support of a therapist. The third is that the trauma is not a life sentence because he is not linked to the experienced event but track he left. And this trace, we can transform it. »

The advantage to work on freezing and not on the event is that it is unnecessary to remember what caused trauma, even if this therapeutic method is designed for specific and identified trauma (five to ten sessions are enough then usually).

Somatic experiencing

The purpose of the SE is to break the vicious circle of the trauma by decoupling the fear of immobility.

The first step is to allow the person traumatized to become aware of the places of his body that are still frozen, but also those who are active and can rejuvenate her. The therapist helps him reconnect to her sensations without that she is overwhelmed by them, nor by the terror that accompanies them.

Then comes the stage of the "renegotiation." This is to allow the body to complete the answer, usually leak or combat, that he wanted to achieve at the time of the event to deal with the danger. For example, in the case of a car accident, this is not to suggest to the patient what it could "rationally" (turn the wheel), but to observe that his body would have had to make. His arms can for example start a movement to protect her face, etc. When he lets these movements go in their term, anxiety decreases, then disappears. He learns that trusting instincts rather than his intellect abilities, he can out of the freezing. This is not to relive the trauma, but to "renegotiate" by transforming the physical sensations related.

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