Trauma Work: Somatic Experiencing
Primary types of trauma I work with:
Prenatal and birth trauma
Relational and early attachment trauma
Familial and ancestral trauma
Medical and surgical trauma
Chronic illnesses and syndromes
Emotional, physical, sexual, relational and/or spiritual trauma
Volunteer trauma education and trauma relief work:
I have had the privilege to be actively involved in four very important projects, which are "near and dear" to my heart involving trauma education and trauma relief work — two in India, another in Sri Lanka and one in my local community — which I would like to share with you. Since February 2006, I have been part of an international trauma team of Somatic Experiencing Practitioners (SEP's) offering trauma relief work first to tsunami survivors in the Tamal Nadu region of Southern India and more recently to survivors of civil war trauma in Sri Lanka. This work is being offered through the Trauma Vidya Foundation and includes trauma education for hundreds of social workers, health care professionals, and field workers from over 50 NGO's (Non-Government Organizations), who offer services to diverse populations of adults and children suffering from the effects of trauma. To learn more about this humanitarian project, as well as to see a photo essay, go to: www.traumavidya.com. Also, I was a team member of the Women’s Empowerment Project organized by the and offered through the Village Action Committee of Auroville to women leaders in 70 villages surrounding Auroville, India.
Within my local community, I had the opportunity to collaborate with two of my SE colleagues for over five years in developing ways of teaching, integrating, and offering SE for the staff and participants of a local homeless shelter, Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), which offers emergency housing and longer-term transitional housing to homeless children and their parents, and to homeless adults. We developed an SE Clinic there, which offered SE sessions given by trauma therapists who volunteered their time so that there was no charge to the participants. To learn more about COTS and this truly remarkable, inspiring, and integral program for the homeless, go to: www.cots-homeless.org
Levine, P. (2013). In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
Scaer, R. (2014). The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease. New York: Routledge.
Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in Healing Trauma. New York: Viking/Penguin.
Somatic Experiencing Training Institute (SETI):
Much of the integral healing work that I facilitate with individuals involves working with trauma. I am trained and certified in Somatic Experiencing (SE) — a short-term and naturalistic approach to healing and resolving trauma developed by Peter Levine, Ph.D. Also, I have completed several post-advanced trainings to develop additional trauma resolution skills. I integrate the essential principles and skills of this body-based approach in all of my work, as well as utilize it specifically when working with all forms of trauma. I specialize in working with very early trauma, prenatal and perinatal trauma, attachment trauma, relational and developmental trauma, including abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual), as well as medical/surgical trauma. Also, I work with people who have chronic syndromal patterns, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders.
Somatic Experiencing supports people in accessing their innate resiliency and their inherent capacity to rebound and recover from overwhelming experiences. While SE focuses on and integrates all elements of human experience — sensations, feelings, thoughts and images, behaviors, movements — its unique contribution to healing trauma is the additional and foundational emphasis on shifting the underlying physiology of trauma as an essential ingredient in the healing process. SE facilitates the healing of trauma by teaching and guiding those who have been traumatized to release stored or blocked survival energy and to complete interrupted physiological processes that have gotten "stuck" in the nervous system — in a safe, effective and contained way. Not only does it facilitate a person coming out of a habitual “freeze” response, but also it supports the restoring of incomplete defensive and motor responses (“fight or flight”) that weren’t able to
be accessed or completed during the original traumatic event or situation. This work is facilitated within each person’s “window of tolerance” so that the capacity of the nervous system to tolerate increasing levels of activation is expanded and the capacity for containment within the body is strengthened, thereby expanding a person’s range of resiliency and capacity to experience and enjoy a greater range of life force, aliveness and freedom.