“What, what am I to do with all of this life?” ~ Gwendolyn Brooks.
During the last few months, we’ve been asked to lock ourselves down – to stay at home and be physically distant from others for our own health and safety. Many of us have been fortunate to be able to do this in comfortable and calm surroundings with supportive others – and others have not felt safe or comfortable and have been doing their best to cope and stay alive in a difficult situation.
Our nervous systems are tuned to assess potential risk in the environment – an unconscious evaluative process called neuroception. If we perceive our environment to be safe and free of threats, our social engagement system inhibits the more primitive limbic and brain stem structures that control our fight, flight or freeze responses.
When we feel threatened or upset, we look to others, to engage with their faces and voices to communicate our feelings, in order to feel safe. This is attachment behaviour and we learn it as a child, as a way to feel safe. When these behaviours do not resolve our responses to threat and prolonged stress, another more primitive system becomes engaged within us, which governs immobility, shutdown and dissociation.
So, while some of us have been able to feel safe and socially engaged within our body and nervous systems, many more of us have been stuck in shutdown – feeling hypervigilant, overwhelmed or dissociated from our own feelings in our life. It takes a conscious somatic process for us to begin to feel safe again – to soften our protective inhibitors and allow our senses to fully receive when we need to.
Many of us are not aware of what’s going on within our own physiology during stressful situations, and we may believe we are managing situations much better than our bodies actually are. When we begin to pay attention to our bodies and notice our physiology in the present moment, we begin to uncover sensations in our muscles and viscera – as well as other somatic symptoms, such as: gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, dizziness, spaciness, persistent pain, trouble breathing, chronic fatigue or a gradual disengagement from life.
Unexpressed, difficult or painful emotion from our life experiences can cause anxiety, overwhelm, depression, chronic symptoms, illness, creating stagnation or blockage in our energetic system. Working with your nervous system and how your energy is held in your body – helps reestablish a flow of energy – revitalizing the body and establishing balance in the nervous system and all of the systems of your body.
Together, we will focus on you has a whole person – to get to the roots of what is happening in your body, mind and heart – integrating healing practices for all parts of your being. Uncovering the hidden root cause of emotional concerns, somatic symptoms – and uncovering the roots of early developmental trauma, clearing the imprints left within us from our mother, father and intergenerational family connections.
Our Bodies Will Speak When We Invite Them Into Connection
Somatic Experiencing, referred to as SE™, is a whole body holistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized.
Animals 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.
- SE employs awareness of body sensation to help people “renegotiate” and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
- SE’s guidance of the bodily “felt sense,” allows the highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
- SE may employ touch, with client’s permission, in support of the renegotiation process.
- SE “titrates” experience (breaks down into small, incremental steps), rather than overwhelming the regulatory mechanisms of the organism.
Somatic Experiencing one-on-one sessions involve sitting in chairs across from one another – you will be guided and invited to connect with sensations in your body. You will learn how to track and fully connect with sensations both pleasant and painful in an easeful way. You will learn how your nervous system regulates itself and comes to balance. Images, feelings and/or spontaneous movements or gestures are welcomed and explored.
Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Trauma directly supports the regulation of your nervous system. This hands-on approach involves lying on a massage table so that the whole body can be supported and at rest.
We determine which joints, diaphragms and organs are to be physically supported. Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Trauma is helpful for resolving injuries, recovering from surgical procedures, resolving symptoms related to emotional stress, chronic pain and fatigue, as well as working with difficult behaviours that children are experiencing.
Clients often report feeling more relaxed or more energized after a session. Over time, as the work integrates, clients notice significant changes in how they relate to themselves, their bodies, stresses in their lives and in their relationships with others.
What if your anxiety, overwhelm, somatic symptoms, depression, relationship breakdown, debilitating fatigue, migraines, feeling like one is living in a fog, unexpressed rage, helplessness could be calls for support and a way that our body calls to us in an unspoken voice. Your body needs time to come into greater awareness, as well as to go slowly to renegotiate trauma held in the body.
We will listen to what your stomach or throat or kidneys have to tell us. Or it could be the head, shoulders, hands and feet that want to communicate a story. We listen and follow the cues of what the body needs to complete its story.
I welcome the sounds that your body makes. One of the sounds your body makes during sessions is digestion – when digestion is available, it means the fight/flight/freeze response of our sympathetic nervous system is resting. The body feels safe and calm enough to digest. Feelings of anxiety are usually less pronounced as the nervous system regulates. By connecting with the gut, anxiety has a chance to express itself.
Touch Helps Us Connect – Even Your Own Self-Touch
Touch helps us establish and reinforce a safe connection with our bodies. Self-touch can also be very grounding and help us contain what we are experiencing. I will offer suggestions for how to incorporate self-touch and offer touch sessions myself when it is safe to do so.
When there are less obvious areas of pain, or when we feel “awful all over”, touching into small areas of our bodies is a way to move our attention away from distress. From a more settled and balanced place, we can then explore the areas that are painful.
We will cultivate an ongoing body-focused practice to build capacity in your nervous system to bear the unbearable – to something you object to or are rejecting in your life. Allowing small drops of suffering to come in to your experience – being present to what is happening within you – and allowing yourself to express what you are feeling and for your breath to move – is one of many practices we will cultivate together to create embodied resources within you and to develop deep well-being.
By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, Integrative Somatic Nervous System Therapeutic Healing Work, done in-person and online, is also a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster your immune system and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with emotional and physical pain and dysfunction, including:
-Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
-Chronic Emotional Concerns such as: Anxiety, Depression and Panic
-Chronic Stress and Tension
-Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
-Digestive Concerns and Disorders such as IBS
-Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
-Chronic Fatigue and Sleeplessness
Every day you endure stresses and strains and your body absorbs them. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort our system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the autonomic nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.
What Happens in a Whole Body Health Somatic Practice session?
During a one-on-one session, you can choose to be either sitting on the couch in front of me, lying on the couch in front of me with pillows supporting you or on Zoom call, from your own home, we join together and listen to what is happening in your autonomic nervous system, your thoughts, as well as other systems in your body, including: your fluid body, connective tissue, breath, bones and skin.
When in-person touch sessions are safe to offer, you have this option to choose from too.
We take time to notice moment to moment – what your body and mind are telling us. Then we make adjustments to enhance emotional and physical somatic wellness. The autonomic nervous system communicates in sensation, emotion, images, and thoughts, as well as through subtle movements and gestures. It is through the vehicle of your nervous system that we find the tools we need to create balance and healing. This is a process of noticing threat and ease in your nervous system – along with witnessing and pausing for sensing what is happening in the here and now.
Whole Body Health Somatic Practice generates a body–wide experience of easing out of rigidity, tension or defensive body holding patterns (excess sympathetic or dorsal tone) and into the flowing ease of the ventral parasympathetic nervous system.
We are setting the conditions for flow to happen again in your nervous system. We have to encourage it with placing our attention into the present moment. There is a rhythm to the timing of the session, so I may ask you to pause and notice what is happening in the here and now, even when you are telling a story. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear what you have to say – I am listening to the language of your nervous system, and sometimes that means we need to pause to return to the present.
Sometimes we have old attempts at self-protection stuck in our physiology – and we may feel chronically shut down, stuck or frozen – if this is you, there is also a way to increase the capacity for the energetic “doing” part of the system. The practice of mindful awareness is at the heart of embodied healing, so as we re-encounter feelings and a sense of aliveness, we return to the vital presence that is at the core of being human.
This is deeply attuned work that is highly specialized for you. I want to help you learn about the messages held in your body and how your nervous system responds to stress and trauma. I will also help your body and mind feel safe at the level of the nervous system.
This is not the time to ignore yourself.
As we begin to slowly come out of self-isolation – allow yourself to feel supported – to renegotiate the survival energy that has been running through your nervous system during the last few months.
I’m here with you.
Touching in to your somatic boundaries – the edges of what you are holding and feeling deeply in the body.
This work is body-based.
Somatic. You learn it by embodying it, living it.
So it changes us at the deepest level.
The way you recognize and tend to your own needs.
The way you pay attention to the signals of your body.
The way you rest, move, the way you breathe, the way you live, work and love.
Invest in yourself – in safety, rest and ease.
Slow down – develop a fuller awareness of sensation, movement, and a more ease-full way of being. You will learn how to stay with your feelings slowly – instead of “checking out” when things feel difficult or scary.
I am now offering in-person sessions for those who would prefer to work in-person. I am also offering online sessions for those who feel more comfortable doing so.
With sensitive and individual attention, I can support you to find a greater sense of well-being through these powerfully effective teachings.
Get in touch – and let’s talk about your experience now and how I can support you – and I will answer any questions you may have about working together.
with love from my heart, Kim xoxoxo
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.kimcochrane.ca
Whole Body Health Somatic Practice – Well-Being from the Inside Out.
Psychosomatic Body-Focused Practitioner – Deep healing at the level of the nervous system enables you to explore and expand your inner landscape where self – confidence and inner agency reside. When you heal your nervous system, you can more readily access deeper ways of knowing and being that include intuition, imagination, sensuality, and the subtle body of emotions. Get in touch to learn more about working with me – email@example.com
What to Expect During a Session
For true emotional and physical healing, I know that we can’t leave our body and how it feels and responds, out of the process. Each person needs something very specific in their healing journey, which is why it is so important to have a customized approach with sessions that are specifically tailored for you – a combination of emotionally-focused psychotherapy and body-focused Co-Regulating Touch work for trauma.
Get in touch to learn more about Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Trauma, Family Systems Imprint Sessions & Individual Body-Focused Therapy Sessions – The Anxiety, Stress & Trauma Restorative Clinic – in-person, online or a mix of one or more of these sessions – and to set up a time to work together: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating Well-Being Through Nervous System Regulation.
Heal Relational Trauma – Break the Cycle of Inherited Family Trauma.
Nurturing Connection, Restoration & Building Resilience.
Easing the Body ~ Calming the Mind ~ Opening the Heart.
Somatic Experiencing ~ Somatic Practices ~ Co-Regulating Touch Bodywork for Trauma ~ Movement Practices ~ Whole Body Systems Approach for Healing Inflammation.
Somatic work can be done effectively online, as well as in person – online sessions are available for those who travel regularly, have a busy schedule, live far away from the office, or prefer to work from your own home – email@example.com