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Trauma Sucks, Somatic Therapy for Trauma Doesn't Have To

Trauma Sucks, but Somatic Therapy for Trauma Doesn’t Have To

I get it, taking the plunge into Somatic Therapy for Trauma can be daunting.  

It is a step that requires courage, vulnerability, and a willingness to dive into experiences that you would rather leave behind.  

You are told “just get over it”, “man up”, or “move on” and can’t.  If it were that easy you would have done it by now.

Therapy can evoke both hope and apprehension if past experiences have been less than satisfactory.  

How do you know who to trust when so many people are saying they can help? Can you even be helped?

I want to acknowledge that there is a part of you that is hesitant about committing to therapy and a part of you that is ready for change.

 

Why Therapy Can Suck 

Let’s be honest, therapy is not a walk on the beach.  Even with the best therapist, sometimes things feel worse before they feel better.

For some people, Therapy can feel like an endless cycle of frustration and disappointment.   

I’ve encountered clients who’ve shared stories of being on their 10th therapist because therapists kept cycling through their program.

Some clients have been in therapy for 20+ years but are still dealing with the same issues.

It’s mind-boggling to think about the amount of time, money, and effort these clients have invested in trying to find relief from the past.  

 

Therapy Horror Stories

Unfortunately, therapy horror stories are not uncommon.

Clients have recounted experiences where their therapist fell asleep during sessions

and even ate lunch while clients poured their hearts out.

Others have had endless cancellations or felt like their therapist didn’t remember their name from week to week.

Some clients felt a lack of connection with their therapist, but stayed due to the scarcity of available help and long waitlists.  

 

It’s heartening to see clients persist in seeking help despite encountering such obstacles.

The resilience and determination speaks volumes about the commitment to their own healing journey.

However, it’s essential to recognize that this isn’t how therapy should be.  

I’ve been there as I was doing my own work.

 Thankfully I found a wonderful therapist, Alia.

 

 

Why Can’t I Just Feel Better Now?

 I have had clients come into therapy with the expectation that pouring out all of their experiences and emotions in one or two sessions will instantly alleviate the pain.

They leave the session feeling better for a while and then comes in the shamed and overwhelmed.  

The client becomes reluctant to return for “oversharing” and feels set back without adequate resources to cope with all that came up.  

Clients then believe that not only is therapy not helpful but that it made things worse.

 

Doing Somatic Therapy for Trauma that Doesn’t Suck

Healing is a process that takes time and patience.  My teachers say “We go slow to go fast”.  

Somatic therapy, in particular, emphasizes the connection between the mind and body,

recognizing that trauma is often stored in physical sensations and patterns.

By engaging in somatic therapy techniques such as mindfulness, breathwork, movement, body awareness exercises, brainspotting, and Compassionate Inquiry,

clients can begin to safely notice what is happening in their body.

It’s not about rushing through the process but rather allowing oneself to fully experience and integrate with themselves during the healing journey.  

Often with trauma our bodies have been a crime scene that we want to avoid.

 

When Coping Skills Don’t Work Like They Used To

Many clients feel afraid to allow themselves to experience body sensations or emotions.  

They developed coping skills to avoid that very thing.  They numbed out because being in their body was unbearable.  

They weren’t allowed to express feelings, it wasn’t safe.

 

Those coping skills that once kept them protected from something even worse are now part of the problem.  

This is where working with a therapist who is trauma informed becomes so important.

 

A therapist can help you recognize your individual reason for developing the coping skills you did.  

Then your therapist can help you find ways to let go of those old ways that no longer work.   

In therapy you develop resources and skills to navigate the things that come up in session and the rest of your life.  

With tools, you have ways to directly address the issue, instead of running away from challenges.  

You get to the root so you are no longer lost in the weeds. 

 

 

 

Trauma Happened in Relationship and So Does Healing

Gabor Maté and Peter Levine teach that trauma happened in relationship when there was a lack of an empathetic other to help us through what it was that happened to us.  

What we experienced was overwhelming and we were unable to manage on our own.  

There was no one to talk to about our experience, no one to go to for help or protection.   

As a result we lack connection to ourselves, lack connection to others, and lack connection to the world.  

It doesn’t feel safe.

 

This is why it is so important to find a therapist that is really attuned to you and feels safe to be with.  

You deserve a better experience in your life.   You deserve to have your needs met.   

You deserve to be heard and seen.   You deserve to be treated like an individual.   You are worth the effort.    

 

Being Disconnected From Yourself Can Lead You To Settle for Less

People-Pleasing and Self-Modification:

One of the hallmark signs of a lack of connection to the self is the tendency towards people-pleasing and self-modification.

Clients may find themselves constantly altering their behavior, beliefs, and preferences in an attempt to gain approval or validation from others, particularly their parents or partners.

This can also happen in the therapeutic relationship where clients alter their expectations or goals for therapy to match what they feel the therapist wants or thinks is best.

This perpetual cycle of seeking external validation often leads to a sense of disconnection from one’s true desires and values, eroding their sense of self-authenticity.  

No one knows your life like you do.   With somatic therapy for trauma I trust that your body and brain know what you need to heal and I follow that lead.

 

Constant Negative Self-Talk:

Negative self-talk becomes the unwelcome companion of those who lack connection to the self.

The inner dialogue becomes a relentless stream of self-criticism, doubt, and self-deprecation.

Clients may find themselves trapped in a cycle of self-sabotage, unable to break free from the grip of their own harsh judgments.

This internalized negativity further deepens the disconnection, reinforcing feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy.  

Often clients blame themselves for not making progress in therapy.  

While it is true that clients make more progress if they do work outside of session,

it is important for clients and therapists to have honest talks about progress and what may be a barrier to progress.  

 

 

Emotional Numbness and Dissociation:

Another manifestation of lacking connection to the self is the inability to sense or recognize emotions within the body.

Clients may describe feeling emotionally numb or detached, as if they are observing their experiences from a distance.

This emotional dissociation serves as a protective mechanism, shielding them from the discomfort of confronting painful emotions or traumatic memories.

However, it also perpetuates the cycle of disconnection, preventing them from fully engaging with their inner world.  

Clients may be unable to recognize that they are dissociating in session.  

Clients may be so used to feeling unsafe they don’t realize that shouldn’t be the case in therapy.  

While it’s not expected that voila! You step into therapy and all of a sudden you feel emotions and no longer dissociate.  

It is expected that therapy reduces dissociation and numbness over time.  

 

 

Constant Second-Guessing and Lack of Trust:

Clients who lack connection to the self often struggle with persistent feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.

They may second-guess their decisions, constantly seeking reassurance or validation from others.

This lack of self-trust extends beyond decision-making and permeates every aspect of their lives, from relationships to, therapy, and career choices.

The fear of making mistakes or facing rejection paralyzes them, trapping them in a state of indecision and stagnation.  

Often clients say that they were never able to end relationships because of fearing they were making a mistake or feeling like a failure.

Let me be clear, I’m not the somatic therapist for everyone.  Not everyone wants a little snark and playfulness in their session and I get that.

Finding a therapist is very personal, like finding a perfume.  What works for your best friend might not work for you.  

For therapy to work best, you need to really (deep in your bones) feel safe.  

You want to feel heard and not judged.  

You also should believe that other person can help.  

You deserve that kind of relationship with your therapist.

 

Feeling Not Good Enough:

At the core of a lack of connection to the self lies the pervasive belief of not being good enough.

Clients may harbor deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, stemming from early experiences of rejection, criticism, or trauma.

This underlying sense of inferiority colors their perceptions of themselves and the world around them, fueling self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.

No matter how much external validation they receive, they continue to feel fundamentally flawed and undeserving of love and acceptance.  This belief is not only in their mind and brain,

but also in the body.  

Recently I had a client who stated she struggled with feeling that she didn’t deserve to pay what I charge for therapy.   She felt like she didn’t deserve to spend money on herself.  

No matter what the rate was, the client would have felt the same.   She decided to stay working with me and reported that she values the progress we are making.  

With somatic therapy for trauma we are able to do deep work which means that you aren’t in therapy for years.  

I also think about health implications of chronic stress and anxiety on a person’s quality of life and lifespan.  

I want you to know that you deserve to live a happy and healthy life.  

Moving past trauma and anxiety contribute greatly to that. 

 

 

My Approach to Somatic Therapy for Trauma

As a somatic therapist for trauma, my goal is to create a safe and supportive space where clients feel seen, heard, and understood.  

I help my clients slowly start to reconnect with their emotions and body as they discover the beliefs that are keeping them stuck.

Each session is an opportunity for clients to explore their experiences without fear of judgment or indifference.

It’s about building a therapeutic relationship based on trust, empathy, and collaboration.  

Trauma happened in relationship and so does healing.  

 

 

What does Somatic Therapy Look Like if you are Virtual?

 

I use modalities like Compassionate Inquiry,  brainspotting,  and other somatic interventions to help you learn to work with your body to let go of the past.  

We work with the vagus nerve, body movement, posture, and sound.  

I customize somatic therapy exercises for trauma to your specific needs according to what comes up for you in the moment.  

These exercises you can do at home on your own or do with a trusted partner.  

I provide you with tools that you can use in your natural environment and daily life.  

I can combine this with EMDR and IFS or other modalities so that we work from the bottom up and top down in therapy.

What Else You Should Know About Working With Me

I keep it real AND I keep it light.  

I am going to be honest with you and help you to be real with yourself. 

This work is difficult and it is a delicate balancing act between the trauma work and bringing in humor and playfulness.  

I believe in being authentic and will be that with you.  

 

Moreover, therapy shouldn’t be an endless journey with no end in sight.

We work together to establish clear goals and a timeline for therapy, ensuring that progress is made and milestones are celebrated along the way.

The goal isn’t to keep clients in therapy for decades but to empower them to navigate their own paths towards healing and growth.  

If you would like to book a consultation or a session you can schedule that through the button above.  

You can read more about how I can help here.

Healing is Possible and I can help!