Somatic Touch Therapy is a deep system of healing and personal growth that affects the physical body while also tapping into the neuro-affective systems (emotional architecture and cognitive systems) that help make us who we are. Somatic therapy can be used to address a number of common issues that keep us feeling stuck such as anxiety, stress, depression, addictions, and trauma and help us open up to our most authentic selves.
Somatic Therapy can help release unhelpful emotional reactions that accumulate over a lifetime. Each and every experience leave an imprint on us and somatic work can help by returning us to a balanced state that allows us to take on life’s challenges from a place of balance, confidence, and ease.
The Somatic therapist uses his or her regulated nervous system to help bring regulation back to the client’s nervous system. This happens through an entrainment process in which the two nervous systems link up. With support from the outside, the client’s nervous system can again regain regulation that is responsive to the environment, rather than staying “stuck” in high gear (stress, anxiety, panic) or low gear (frozen, depression, shut-down, numbness). The goal is flexible and flowing regulation – which is the way the nervous system is designed to work.
Many of the things that people seek traditional psychotherapy for: depression, anxiety, addictions, and anger are the result of our inability to process events in our lives. We hold onto emotions that, for a variety reasons, we have not brought to completion and are frozen in our physiology. We have all experienced holding onto anger for a while only to feel much better after expressing our truth, setting a boundary, and resolving the situation. Yet we have also all experienced emotions like fear, regret, and hurt that for some reason or another we couldn’t immediately resolve and go round and round in our minds. Maybe it was with a parent, boss, or loved one that we are afraid to confront or perhaps it was an unnerving situation that no matter how many times we talked about it, we still felt haunted by unwanted emotions.
These unresolved issues are a part of everyone’s lives and are at the heart of being human. As we grow, we are shaped by our relationships with our primary caregivers, environments, interactions with others, and the innumerable experiences that accumulate over a lifetime. If we experience safety and security as a young child, we likely had more opportunity to express ourselves and resolve our issues and we likely grew up better able to connect to others and act with confidence. If we experience the world as scary and unsafe then we may have frozen and shut down our emotions when feeling angry, scared, sad, or shame and as adults we are more likely to go numb when in need of help, shrink away from trying new things, and hesitate to connect to other people. Even with optimal parenting, we all have unresolved experiences in which we felt overwhelmed and we drew disempowering conclusions about ourselves and our world, coupled with disempowering physiological responses to stress.
Somatic therapy brings balance back to our system so we can respond to live from our best selves. When. Our nervous systems are in flow, we develop greater resilience, zest, and confidence and are more present for ourselves and others.
Somatic Transformative Touch is a Psychobiological Approach to Resolving Nonverbal Trauma History, TEB, developed by Dr. Stephen Terrell, is a reflection of 20 years of work with clients. TEB is a titration of attachment theory, Polyvagal Theory, Somatic Touch Skill and regulation. TEB has a reputation for effectively transforming the experience-based brain in the most challenging of clients.
The Transformative Touch therapist uses his or her regulated nervous system to help bring regulation back to the client’s nervous system. This happens through an entrainment process between the two nervous systems via touch. With support from the outside, the client’s nervous system can again regain regulation that is responsive to the environment, rather than staying “stuck” in dysregulation. This “stuckness”, frequently a result of trauma, can be on the sympathetic side of the nervous system (e.g. anxiety, panic, etc.), on the parasympathetic side (e.g. depression, shut-down, etc.), or occurring on both sides (e.g. bipolar, medical syndromes, etc.). The goal is flexible and flowing regulation – which is the way the nervous system is designed to work.