What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

by John Curphey, MDiv MA LMFT

Before we get into the topic of Somatic Experiencing Therapy, I want to discuss parenting and emotions as a preparation.

Parenting can be tough today. Sometimes children seem defiant. It takes the right “touch” as a parent to find that middle road between confrontation and embrace. At times children require a parent to “come up against” so that they can find the structure that they need. As the child matures inevitably the parent will need to loosen the structure and relinquish some of the control so that the child can gain autonomy. At the same time parents need to help children regulate their emotions. Sometimes the parent needs to mirror an emotion (growl playfully to indicate that they get the feeling of anger) and then offer some comfort. At times, any strong parental reaction to an emotionally distraught child simply rebounds into more confusion. When a child knows that the parent understands their frustration and anger, then that child can move through that feeling into a place of greater regulation and contentment.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy is a cutting-edge body –based approach to helping people deal with trauma. Many times people have experienced trauma and they are unaware of its impact upon their nervous systems and their emotional sensitivity. Trauma can cause emotional “shut down” or emotional “vigilance”. Trauma of any kind can lead to constriction in the body, a defensive posture, or chronic pain of some sort. There is a fight, flight, and freeze pattern with trauma. Clients can get stuck in patterns of emotional and physical constriction. They can get caught in “over-active” or “under-active” defense.   Somatic Experiencing Therapy helps people move through the “negative body memories” so that the constriction loosens and the general posture and well-being of the person is altered. The changes in both mind and body can be astounding for any person who has experienced this therapy.

Try out Somatic Experiencing Therapy with John Curphey . Call John (616) 208-4814 for a complimentary consultation. John Curphey works at Health for Life Grand Rapids. 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 . You may email John at [email protected] 

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