Want to discuss Trauma on my blog?
Healing Trauma with Somatic Experiencing®
David A. Lillie, S.E.P., Level 1 EMDR, Musabp
Mobile Phone +353-86-055-4756
Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.
--M. Scott Peck, M.D.
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I work with people who have suffered various traumas (situations in which the nervous system gets overwhelmed) as in automobile accidents, sudden impact injury, attacks, falls, surgery with general anesthesia, near-drowning or suffocation, witnessing horrible events, and so on, which can leave the person shut down, having panic attacks, hyper-alert or with severe muscle spasms or many other long-lasting symptoms -- as well as with severe emotional upsets from verbal abuse and other long-term mistreatments.
I like to fix things, and find great pleasure in having the right tool to do the job. I don't fix people, people heal themselves, but using the right tool to assist in bringing that healing about is also very important. For healing physical shock trauma, Somatic Experiencing is the best tool I have encountered. For working on developmental trauma and emotional anguish, EMDR can be very effective in a few sessions (multiple traumas require more sessions).
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma that has been developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in immunity to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly charged life-threatening experiences.
Although humans are born with virtually the same regulatory mechanisms as animals, the function of these instinctive systems is often overridden or inhibited by, among other things, the rational portion of our brains. This restraint prevents the complete discharge of survival energies, and does not allow the nervous system to regain its equilibrium. The undischarged energy remains in the body, and the nervous system becomes stuck in survival mode. The various symptoms of trauma result from the body's attempt to manage and contain this unused energy.
SE employs the awareness of body sensation to help people renegotiate and heal their traumas rather than relive them. With appropriate guidance into the body's instinctive "felt sense," individuals are able to access their own built-in immunity to trauma, allowing the highly aroused survival energies to be safely and gradually discharged. When these energies are discharged, people frequently experience a dramatic reduction in, or disappearance of, their traumatic symptoms.
Because traumatic events are often encounters with death, they evoke extraordinary responses. The transformation process can allow people to deepen their sense of self and others. The healing journey can be an awakening to untapped resources and feelings of empowerment. With the help of these new allies, people can open portals to rebirth and achieve an increased sense of flow. The experience can be a genuine spiritual awakening, one that allows people to re-connect with the world.
"Acts must be carried through to their
completion. Whatever their point of departure, the end will
be beautiful. It is (only) because an action has not been
completed that it is vile." -- Jean Genet, from Thief's
EMDR (from EMDR Institute)
EMDR was originally an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and, as eye movement is no longer a requirement for treatment, it is now called Emotional and Mental Development and Reorganization. It is an innovative clinical treatment that has successfully helped millions of individuals who have survived trauma, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, combat, crime, and those suffering from a number of other complaints including depressions, addictions, phobias and a variety of self-esteem issues.
EMDR is a complex approach to therapy that integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches in combination with eye movements or other forms of rhythmical stimulation in ways that stimulate the brain’s information processing system. With EMDR therapy it is unnecessary to delve into decades-old psychological material, but rather, by activating the information-processing system of the brain, people can achieve their therapeutic goals at a rapid rate, with recognizable changes that don’t disappear over time.
Many controlled studies support the efficacy of EMDR, making it the most thoroughly researched method ever used in the treatment of trauma. There are five studies with individuals suffering from events such as rape, loss of a loved one, accidents, natural disasters, etc. which found that 84-90% no longer had post-traumatic stress disorder after only three treatment sessions. Another study financed by Kaiser Permanente revealed that EMDR was twice as effective in half the amount of time compared to the standard traditional care. However, clients and clinicians should note that EMDR is not a race. While many people show dramatic responses in a short amount of time, there are also those who will progress more slowly and that the slower progression is not abnormal. For instance, those with multiple traumas such as molestation and combat veterans will generally need longer treatment. The one study offering a full course of treatment to combat veterans found that after twelve sessions, 77% no longer had PTSD. Just as in any therapy, we all progress at the rate appropriate to the individual and the clinical situation.
Dr. Francine Shapiro is the creator of EMDR. She is a licensed psychologist and a senior research fellow at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. She is the Executive Director of the EMDR Institute, which trains clinicians in the EMDR approach. She is the recipient of the 1993 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award presented by the California Psychological Association.
ABOUT DAVID A. LILLIE
David has had an interest in healing traumatic wounds since 1988, when he discovered
Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) which he studied and practiced for 15 years.
He then trained in Somatic Experiencing® (SE) with Dr. Peter Levine and others for five years, receiving an SE Practitioner Certificate in 1998. In his practice, he has helped hundreds of people alleviate their symptoms and improve the quality of their lives. David received Level I EMDR training in January, 2003, and has developed expertise in this form of treatment through many sessions with clients. David is a full Practictioner Member of the United States Association of Body Psychotherapists.
He currently practices at the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine near Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland and also has a private practice near Ashford, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
David has written a document on Resourcing for Mental Health Workers for use in the Trauma Therapy training sessions that were held in Dun Laoghaire. Psychotherapists and other mental health workers may find it useful.
SE Information and Practicioners
Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute- Peter Levine
Khiron House (UK - London, Oxford)
SE in Ireland
Kate O'Boyle, BSc, MA, MIAHIP, MUSABP, MISCA
Helma Mair, PhD
David Balwin's Trauma Pages
Helpful suggestions about PTSD by Julia Merrill
The Trauma Awareness Project
Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse: Scientific Research & Scholarly Resources
Frozen Trauma, Benjamin Fry, Khiron House
Franz Rupert, Constellations based on Bonding & Trauma
Becoming your true self: A handbook for the journey from trauma to healthy autonomy, by Vivian Broughton
Avoiding Trauma - Pre and Peri-Natal Work
Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children
Healing of Pre and Perinatal Trauma
Adoption Insight [to illuminate the mind and heart]
Petition to end Circumcision by Ashley Montagu
General Health and Stress Reduction
Jan DeCourtney, CMT
Life Spring Healing Arts - Boulder, Colorado, Therapeutic Massage, Stress Relief, Chronic Pain Therapy, Self-Help, Therapies, Holistic Health Care
NeuroTek Corp.(EMDR alternate stimulation tool)
Last update 15 October 2016
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