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What Is Somatic Experiencing®️ Like? – Trauma Resolution In Practice

Written by: Betsy Kudlinski, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Let me help you understand what I see as the goal of Somatic Experiencing®️, how SE works, who does SE, and what my style of an SE session looks like.

What SE can do for you


My aim is to make you feel more comfortable in your own skin and able to handle the average ups and downs in your life.


People I work with have frustrations, problems, and patterns that they notice and want to change. Like wanting to be able to feel joy. Or needing to downshift their constant state of anxiety. Or being plagued by intrusive thoughts. Or they have past traumas that they are aware of, and feel are affecting their quality of life.


Somatic Experiencing is first and foremost a trauma-healing modality. Here at Brainz, there are lots of people and articles talking about trauma, like here, it’s real and it’s finally becoming part of the zeitgeist. And through that lens, it’s possible that all the discomforts people come to me with are based on trauma that took root and took over. What SE does is help us to resolve and ease the stuck places in our brains and bodies. For more technical information check out the Somatic Experiencing website.


How SE works


Somatic means “relating to the body,” in case you were wondering. Specifically referring to the body, not the brain.


We do plenty of talking, though. Talking does three things for us: the client and the practitioner. It brings “stuff” up in the body for us to work with. It also brings us back into connection, soothing the nervous system after time spent reflecting. Finally, we talk about the nervous system as it relates to keeping us safe; what it does, how it works on a basic level and establishing a shared vocabulary.


We learn about your nervous system, and the coping mechanisms it has developed over a lifetime of stress, socialization, and trauma. We find out what your system is comfortable with, which is often at odds with what we think we can handle.


In SE, we almost always work more slowly than you would imagine, making the changes subtle and lasting.


We are learning a new language, that of your body. Chances are, neither of us knows more than a few words of that language, like pain or hunger ‒ mostly negative sensations. Some of us only recognize pain, while others feel well-versed in our physical signals.


What we do together is explore; we get curious and pay attention to all sorts of sensations.


Sometimes that does include thoughts. But many of us are culturally so biased toward thoughts and thinking that this way of working feels foreign. It takes a lot of guided practice to realize that these other senses and sensations are at least as valuable as the thoughts. We note physical sensations (both internal and external, using all our senses,) visual cues and images, physical motions and behaviors, emotions, and a little bit of the meaning piece.


Who Practices SE


Somatic Experiencing practitioners are healers, one and all. But we come from all walks of life. The only prerequisite is that you work with people.


There are psychotherapists of every type, manual therapists or bodyworkers, medical doctors, teachers, life coaches, and any other caring soul you can imagine. There are even others here on Brainz, like Farah.


Each of us adopts SE into our unique way of working with people, singly and in groups.


What an SE session is like


This is what a session with me looks like.


We talk. We get comfortable with each other, our space, and our bodies. This is important, and not something to be rushed.


Then we might bring up some charged topic that's either on the top of your mind or has been festering. We will almost immediately stop talking about the “thing.” Instead, we get curious and watch what happens in the body. We will talk about the sensations and what it all brings up- in terms of images or emotions. But we don't need to talk about that charged topic much to do the work of resolving what the body is holding on to.


That doesn't mean any of it is fast or easy.


It's hard because it's new and uncomfortable, and we aren't immediately good at it. And the more uncomfortable it is, the slower we take it. Rushing through this and bulling through can do more harm than anything else. We take it at exactly the pace that your nervous system needs- not the pace your mind wants to set.


Finally, we make sure that there is the time at the end of the session to come back to a relaxed state- whatever that means to your body at that moment. Then, organically, to a normal “here-and-now state.”


This is a partnership; I'm not healing you. You must meet me and do the work for yourself. But there's not really any homework, things will start to naturally occur to you and shift in between sessions, after a while. That's the point. This work isn't intellectual, it's somatic.


What’s the process?


Truly, this work can be anything from one session to years of consistent work. It depends on your nervous system, your goals, and what you want to do with what comes up!


See my website to read more about me and my work in Renaturing.


Follow me on Facebook, and visit my website for more info!


 

Betsy Kudlinski, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

As a Freedom Guide, the nature Betsy explores is yours: someone who is living with trauma, stress, and overwhelm as together you work your way toward personal freedom. After a lifetime of being everything to everyone, the way she was taught to be, she was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses and turned the lens on herself. She found herself renaturing, becoming who she always was, and who she feels she was meant to be. By bringing that same healing to others, she finds peace and purpose. The final piece of the puzzle has been training to become a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, where everything, the nature and animals she loves, trauma-induced illness, and healing, clicks into place.

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