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Lido Wellness Center Blog

How Somatic Experiencing Therapy Can Help with Trauma

June 2, 2022

The following are several common questions we hear about somatic therapy: “What is somatic experiencing therapy?” “How exactly does a somatic therapist help?” and “Does somatic therapy actually work?”

For those unfamiliar with trauma healing, this may be a new practice. Perhaps you or a loved one are ready to heal and wish to take a more holistic approach rather than relying solely on prescription medication. The Lido Wellness Center multidisciplinary team is here to help you answer all of these somatic therapy questions and share what you need to know about this insightful treatment.

What is Somatic Experiencing? (SE)

Somatic experiencing is a type of trauma therapy. This practice operates on the principle that past trauma can become trapped in the body and eventually lead to symptoms such as PTSD. Through this somatic experience, practitioners work to release that stress from the body.

First developed and practiced by Dr. Peter Levine in the seventies, somatic experiencing is designed to help patients increase their sense of awareness of their internal experiences. Dr. Levine, along with several researchers, conducted a study that demonstrated somatic experiencing helped restore core response network functionality (CRN) while considering the instinctive and natural reactions and protective mechanisms.[1]

They found that this practice proved effective when dealing with trauma and stress by using the patient’s attention to interoceptive, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic sensations. In laypeople’s terms, attention to gut instincts, physical movement, and tactile feeling.[1]

The human body possesses natural ways of regulating trauma response and the nervous system. Somatic experiencing practices natural release techniques of the negative symptoms of trauma.

Somatic practitioners and therapists believe the body’s inability to fully process a potentially traumatic event causes negative symptoms such as anxiety, shame, and aggression. Unresolved trauma can influence more serious physical, emotional, and mental health issues.

What To Expect During A Somatic Experiencing Session

Somatic Experiencing is a whole-body-focused therapy, so professionals may apply it across various disciplines such as psychotherapy, medicine, psychiatry, physical therapy, and even teaching.

A patient’s first somatic experiencing session will often be different from the sessions that follow. A commonly practiced form of somatic therapy involves the patient discussing their concerns, similar to other mental health therapies.

Going beyond discussion, somatic experiencing guides the patient’s focus toward the underlying physical responses. Moving the focus from the body, we strengthen the mind-body connection through exercises such as visualization, grounding, breathwork, meditation, dance, and massage.

There are also several subgroups of somatic experience that may be employed at the discretion of the practitioner including bioenergetic analysis, biodynamic psychotherapy, and brain-spotting. These are therapies that blend body, medical, and analytic modalities together for an even more comprehensive approach.

Somatic Experiencing Techniques

Each somatic experiencing session will be unique. However, there are several common threads to give a clearer picture of what to expect.

The therapist will help the patient develop a stronger awareness of their body, summon emotional resources, or encourage emotional release.

Grounding is a technique that requires contact with natural elements such as earth, fire, wind, and water to receive the positive electrical charges that can improve mental health.

Alternating the patient’s focus from a stressor to something that relieves tension is an effective way to help release tension.

Does Somatic Therapy Really Work?

Trauma is captured not only in the mind but in the memory banks of your physiology. Think of the common “fight, flight, or freeze” mechanism that can be triggered by a myriad of different events that all vary from person to person.

A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that somatic experiencing was an effective treatment for people with PTSD. Over 44% of patients included in the study reversed their PTSD diagnosis. Those who didn’t reverse the diagnosis experienced a reduction in negative symptoms.[2]

Somatic experiencing has been closely associated with other successful mindfulness techniques. But it takes a unique therapeutic stance by promoting healing without forcing an explicit retelling of past trauma.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy: Orange County’s Best

At our premier trauma treatment center in Orange County, Lido Wellness Center employs a whole-body, holistic approach to health, including mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Our center is a compassionate, patient-centered treatment center and a haven for people suffering from a variety of disorders and conditions.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about somatic experiencing therapy and mental health treatment, contact our offices today for a confidential assessment.

 

Sources:

[1] https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093

[2] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jts.22189.1002/jts.22189

 

 

 

Lido Wellness Center Blog

Talking With Loved Ones About Mental Health Treatment

May 25, 2022

When you have a family member experiencing mental health concerns, it can be challenging to know how to help them. You’re not sure what to say, you’re fearful of saying the wrong thing, and you want to be supportive and help them seek mental health treatment. Orange County offices of Lido Wellness Center have some helpful tips for you and your loved one.

Ideally, you and your friends and family are circling this loved one to provide a community of comfort and safe space for them to be vulnerable. It’s important to handle each conversation with care, whether you’re dealing with a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or friend. Here are our best recommendations to help you play a positive role in your loved one’s journey.

How To Talk to Someone About Their Mental Health

Revealing and discussing a mental health struggle takes courage. Here are a few ways to ensure they feel heard and seen as whole people, not just patients.

Talking with Loved Ones About Mental Health Treatment
 

Share Honestly.

If you have concerns about a loved one, tell them. While this is upsetting for some to hear, it is much preferred to live with their temporary frustration than lose them.

Actively Listen.

It can be overwhelming to listen to all the struggles your loved one is facing, but knowing you hear and understand is essential. They need empathy more than anything else.

Concentrate on them and their story and repeat segments periodically so they know you are listening. Open-ended questions are the most effective way to encourage them to share.


 

Comparisons Aren’t Helpful.

You were most likely selected for this conversation because your loved one trusts you. You may be tempted to minimize their experience by comparing it to someone with a seemingly more challenging experience. It’s important, however, to keep the focus on them and them alone.

Don’t Pressure Them for More.

Allow them to speak uninterrupted and avoid pressuring them to share more than they’re comfortable with. Don’t give the impression that you’re rushing through the information to get to something you think is more important.

Don't Compare to Others and Actively Listen to someone who is having struggles with mental health

Don't diagnose or try to fix someone's mental health concerns
 

Don’t Attempt To “Diagnose” Them.

Only a psychiatrist, medical professional, or therapist can truly give an official diagnosis. You don’t want to confuse your loved one with diagnoses or treatments that may or may not apply.

This can also feel dismissive, as if slapping on a label fixes everything. At Lido Wellness Center, our compassionate patient-centered treatment plans apply an integrative mind/body/spirit holistic model guided by experienced specialists.

Don’t Try To “Fix” or “Save” Them.

Your love and support are invaluable, but you cannot take on another person’s mental health journey. You may be able to influence them, for better or worse, but “fixing” or “saving” them isn’t something you’re capable of or responsible for doing.


 

Avoid Dismissive or Judgmental Language.

While it’s tempting to try and “cheer up” our loved ones when faced with potential mental health challenges, avoiding language that feels dismissive is important. Making light of a serious situation is not what they need.

Harmful Phrases to Avoid:

  • “You’re fine.”
  • “Suck it up.”
  • “I’m sure this will all pass.”
  • “Cheer up.”
  • “Snap out of it.”
  • “Get over yourself.”
  • “Pity party.”
Avoid dismissive language when talking to someone about their mental health

Knowing when to seek professional help for mental health.
 

Know When Professional Mental Health Help Is Needed.

As hard as you try, your support may not be sufficient. If you notice their struggle drags on over a long period of time (weeks or months) or they begin showing signs of a serious condition, it’s time to consult a professional.

How To Correctly Convince Someone to Seek Mental Health Treatment in Orange County

Whether you are local to Orange County or from another region across the country, Lido Wellness can help. Many conditions are treatable with modern medicine combined with an ancient holistic, whole-person approach to mental health. It’s okay to encourage your loved one to seek help or find the most suitable mental health treatment Orange County offers for their needs.

Share honestly about your concerns for them but be sensitive to the environment and timing of your conversation. Expect some resistance but always treat loved ones with respect for their whole-person wellness.

Make sure they know how important their relationship is to you but avoid ultimatums. Help them understand that they can fully heal and grow by focusing on a holistic mind/body/spirit approach to wellness.

Consult Lido Wellness Center for A Holistic, Patient-Centered Approach

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or if shouldering the burdens of life is overwhelming, let us help. Lido Wellness Center can help you see and achieve your next steps at our premier mental health treatment center in Orange County. Contact us today for a confidential assessment.