What is Blocking YOUR Healing?
Somatic Experiencing can be the cord that binds the two dimensions of physical and spiritual healing together. This can unlock the power of any healing journey.
At this present time, we are witnessing a shift in the way in which medical professionals view health. Finally, many practitioners are beginning to acknowledge the mind-body connection. In other words, doctors are increasingly recognizing that our physical symptoms have deeper roots than they once believed. A growing number now acknowledge that past adverse experiences have a direct impact on our current state of health. They are understanding that the way our bodies respond to trauma influences our physical bodies and our ability to heal!
Some specialists, such as nutritionists who focus on gut healing, recognize that there is a direct link between trauma; and IBS, for example. And many doctors understand the impact of trauma on autoimmune disorders. These professionals are beginning to encourage patients to seek therapy for reducing the impact of trauma and they will refer patients out to mental health professionals for treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), or Prolonged Exposure Therapy.
What if you had a doctor who is not only trained to recognize trauma and understands that it can block the path of your healing, but can offer a gentle, specialized form of therapy that can be integrated seamlessly into your healthcare plan, without any anti-anxiety meds or anti-depressants? What if you could integrate trauma and increase your ability to manage stress as you also heal long-term health conditions such as hormonal imbalances and GI issues?
All of this, under the care of the same doctor?
This is how Dr. Alexandra Cope describes Somatic Experiencing (SE) as the therapy she uses to help you uncover the root issues underneath your disease:
Somatic Experiencing is a “Bottom-Up” approach to adverse stressful experiences. The primary focus is to uncover bodily sensations linked to feelings rather than examining memories and emotions associated with a traumatic event or an event that caused major stress.
Almost every Somatic Therapist begins with education to help you learn and understand your nervous system more. From there, your therapist guides you to become more curious and familiar with your body sensations, which are almost always connected to your story. Your therapy sessions are designed to help you stay aware of your body; or embodied, as you build tools to stay with your body as you explore.
As her long-time patient, this is how I describe how Dr. Cope used SE in my gut healing plan:
Dr. Cope’s treatment addresses both the mental/emotional component of IBS as well as the physical/dietary component. As an advanced Somatic Experiencing practitioner, Dr. Cope helped me to release trauma and increase my capacity to manage stress. Her therapy also helped me to reset my nervous system, thus calming acute GI symptoms. SE also helped me to integrate positive emotions for improved mental health. This was all coupled with her nutritional guidance and meal-planning tips plus a supplement protocol that healed my leaky gut, restored a healthy balance in my microbiome, and eventually eliminated my symptoms.
Bessel Van Der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, says it like this:
“If the memory of trauma is encoded in the viscera, in heartbreaking and gut-wrenching emotions, in autoimmune disorders and skeletal/muscular problems…, this demands a radical shift in our therapeutic assumptions” (Van Der Kolk, 2014, p.88).
Dr. Cope has made this shift and believes in the critical need for increasing vagal tone through Somatic Experiencing as a vital component of her individualized healthcare plans.
*** An additional note from Dr. Cope:
Somatic Therapy is slower therapy and a body-first approach to stress. If you are feeling a disconnect between your mind, body, heart, and others, try SE with a practitioner, and feel free to contact Dr. Cope for referrals for counselors that work from a holistic mindset. It is often the missing link in order to resolve chronic holding patterns. Any vagal-nerve approach to dis-ease must be considered in your healing plan, or else you are leaving a key piece of the root cause of discomfort and/or disease out of your plan.
Article by Celia Layman, age 52, VA
To schedule an SE visit with Dr. Cope, click here.