Somatic Trauma Resolution
Somatic Trauma Resolution can address any kind of trauma, old or new. Physical traumas can be completely cleared from the nervious system using these techniques, after which some hands-on Cranio-Sacral Unwinding can more fully release the physical tissues. STR is also amazingly effective with emotional, mental, and spiritual traumas, and supports release of long-held patterns and re-organization of the nervous system towards greater resiliency.
Somatic Trauma Resolution is based on Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing, and further developed by Sharon Porter, founder of the HealthWave Institute. It is generally done with the client in a sitting position and without me using any physical touch, yet it results in releasing trauma energy from the physical body and nervous system.
This is accomplished by engaging the frontal brain in becoming gently curious about body sensations, which are the language of the hindbrain, seat of animal instincts. As body sensations become the focus of awareness, hindbrain processes temporarily become available to the body/mind. There is an animal instinct available in the hindbrain that knows how to discharge excess adrenaline energy when the immediate threat of a trauma has passed. When this instinct is activated, frozen trauma energy held in the nervous system and body tissues begins to melt and discharge, signs of which can obviously be felt by the client.
The beauties of this modality are many:
* As frozen energy melts, you tend to feel warm and tingly, so healing from trauma is actually enjoyable!
* You don't need to know what traumas are discharging to release frozen energy ― you don't have to re-live all your traumas.
* You may get images and emotions and other information as the energy leaves your body, or you may not, and the energy will release just the same.
* Once released, always released ― energy released in an STR session is permanently cleared from your being at the nervous system and energetic levels.
* These energetic releases generally inspire simultaneous shifts in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions as well.
The Human Brain Overrides the Instinct to Discharge Trauma
Animals in the wild routinely experience life or death situations that stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, dump adrenaline into the bloodstream, and provide the energy or "charge" for a fight, flight or freeze response. When a zebra is chased by a lion, adrenaline surges and the zebra runs for its life (a flight response). When the zebra knows it has reached safety, it instinctively "discharges" the remaining adrenaline energy by trembling, shaking, twitching, and jumping around. Because the animal completely discharges the excess adrenaline energy after the chase is over, it doesn’t hold the memory or the energy of the trauma in its system.
Humans have this same discharge instinct available in our hindbrains, but our frontal lobes overwhelm the hindbrain. Following a traumatic event, we do tremble and shake, but as soon as our frontal lobes engage and become dominant, the discharge process is interrupted, and any remaining excess adrenaline energy is locked into the body.
For example, following a severe car accident, it would be good to shake and tremble until you were done, and you wouldn’t be done until all excess adrenaline energy had been discharged from your system and you felt calm. But you will have to override this shaking and trembling instinct and activate your thinking brain to take down driver’s license and insurance information and answer questions for police reports and emergency responders. Some of the trauma energy may naturally discharge, but the energy remaining in the system when the frontal brain becomes dominant will be stuck there.
When the discharge of trauma energy is interrupted and incomplete, the excess adrenaline is still surging around the body trying to do what it is designed to do: provide energy for a fight, flight, or freeze response. When the frontal brain overrides the hindbrain and demands that the body stop trembling and shaking, the body has to do something to contain the adrenaline energy. So it “freezes” it into body tissues with chemical bonds to hold it still. This frozen energy remains in the tissues and the nervous system until it can be discharged, sometimes for the rest of a person’s life. This held energy can create a multitude of symptoms and compensating behaviors.
Engaging Our Instinct to Discharge Trauma
Somatic Trauma Resolution is a method of engaging the frontal brain in supporting the hindbrain to complete its discharge cycles. Using the conscious awareness to support the hindbrain activates the animal instinct of discharging held adrenaline energy. Once the discharge cycle is activated, the chemical bonds holding the stored trauma energy in the tissues begin to break. The breaking of chemical bonds gives off heat. As the adrenaline energy frozen in the body begins to melt and discharge, the client can actually feel a wide variety of itching, tingling, prickly, bubbly, fizzy, or burning sensations, and may heat up so much as to sweat. These are all indicators that discharge is happening.
As a Somatic Trauma Resolution practitioner, I am trained to skillfully guide you into the “discharge zone” so that held adrenaline energy can be released. The discharge zone is a state of being activated enough to achieve discharge, and not so activated that your nervous system is overwhelmed. Remember, the zebra doesn’t shake off the chase until it knows it is safe from the lion. So we always work within a zone of safety and comfort, which supports you to achieve maximum discharge.