What is Somatic Trauma Resolution

Somatic Trauma Resolution (STR) is a therapeutic process that tracks sensation in the body with the goal of releasing shock that has been trapped due to the individual’s inability to release the shock at the time of the incident. The fight/flight/freeze response is a primitive defensive reaction to perceived threat. It is automatic, causing the body to orient, contract, defend or run from danger.

Sometimes the threat is so intense and life threatening that the individual’s nervous system freezes to enable survival. These responses have a process, often this process is interrupted or because of the circumstances, unable to be expressed. When there is perceived threat, the body creates a potent cocktail of chemicals which ignites the fight/flight/freeze process into action.

Adrenaline is the main chemical, which can get trapped in tissue and fluids and when not released, can produce symptoms. Symptoms can be seen as; anxiety, anger, headaches, disassociation, fear based thinking, sleep issues, as well as a host of other physical symptoms. The instant “on” button to protect the body from harm gets stuck and cannot shut off. Sensation is the language of the body. The therapist is interested in encouraging the patient to follow sensation without giving it meaning, which allows for a gentle release of trapped adrenaline through the skin.

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The theory behind somatic therapy is that the mind, body, spirit, and emotions are all related and connected to each other. As a result, the stress of past emotional and traumatic events affects the central nervous system and can cause changes in the body and even in body language, often resulting in altered facial expressions and posture as well as physical pain. Through developing awareness of the mind-body connection and using specific interventions, somatic therapy helps you to release the tension, anger, frustration and other emotions that remain in your body from these past negative experiences. The goal is to help free you from the stress and pain that is preventing you from fully engaging in your life.

Somatic therapy combines talk therapy with what are sometimes considered alternative forms of physical therapy. The therapist helps you revive memories of traumatic experiences and pays attention to any physical responses you have once the memory is recovered. Physical techniques, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and meditation are then used to help relieve symptoms. Some of the adjunctive physical techniques that may be used with somatic therapy include dance, exercise, yoga, or other types of movement, vocal work, and massage.

What is the difference between Psychotherapy and STR work?

Psychology deals with the content of the mind. Neurology, on the other hand, deals with the way the brain processes the content. Recovery from trauma requires attention to body, mind, and spirit at different stages of the recovery process. None of these dimensions of the human person can be overlooked in the recovery process.

STR helps the brain to shift into a state of empowerment, where it is no longer ruled by the past, but functions in the present moment. An empowered person doesn’t feel helpless and can make choices from opportunities and possibilities. By shifting their lives from attempting to be in control, into taking charge of their experiences, they gain empowerment. The instant “on” button can then shut down and their nervous systems can return to a state of balance and harmony.