Episode 55:

Treat Your Trauma Like A Crying Baby

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When animals go through a traumatic experience that triggers their fight-or-flight response, they are able to complete the cycle in their nervous system once the threat has passed by literally shaking it off and not holding on to the trauma. As humans, most of us have not mastered this skill of letting the trauma go. To make things even more intense, our perceived threats can be anything from an email from our boss to an actual life threatening situation (think: walking too close to the curb on a busy street.) In this conversation with Sarah Wolfman, a Chicago-based Somatic Therapist, we delve into somatic experiencing and how it is used to “shake off” traumas you feel in your body so you can regulate your body once again. Sarah goes deep into what somatic therapy is and gives us a thorough understanding of how this works in the body and what to expect.

In the “You Want Me To Do What??” section, Shanna shares more about what she experienced in the somatic experiencing exercises Sarah walked her through during the interview. And Nicole talks about how this interview helped her recognize the need to bring awareness to her body and how it feels on a daily basis.

Episode Recap:

Interview with Sarah Wolfman - 2:52

“You Want Me To Do What??” section - 56:20

Highlights:

  • Somatic experiencing strives to connect you to your body and bring awareness to the fact that your body is always present. In connecting to the body, you can recognize what is physiologically happening so you can find ways to feel different rather than being stuck in your thoughts.

  • Somatic therapy brings an element of “talk therapy” to the practice while also practicing physical connection.

  • As Sarah describes it, somatic therapy is a way to space out “the story” ruminating in your head safely, slowly, and with consent so you can pause, restore, and find completion.

  • Somatic experiencing therapy was developed by Dr. Peter Levine based on his observations of the animal kingdom and how animals dealt with stress and trauma.

  • Trauma is an incomplete fight-or-flight response that becomes a survival pattern that manifests in a number of ways, including: chronic pain, emotional pain, psychological disorders, compulsive behaviors

  • In somatic therapy, you work with:

    • The breathe/breathing techniques

    • Touch

    • Grounding

    • Orienting to the room

  • Somatic therapy isn’t about “healing” a specific trauma, but rather working with the body to recognize what is coming up in the body, how to physically complete the fight-or-flight response to that trauma response, and then regulate the body

  • Somatic therapy training is 3 years for the base certification through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Center

  • Top 3 Breathing Techniques Sarah shares:

    • Breathing in and out through the nose with the exhales lasting longer than the inhales (eg. inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 4)

    • Breathing for energy by “closing” your left nostril with your finger and breathing in and out through your right nostril

    • Breathing for calm by “closing” your right nostril with your finger and breathing in and out through your left nostril

Resources:

Where to find Sarah Wolfman:

 

Somatic Experiencing Trauma Center website: https://traumahealing.org/

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