Healing Systemic Trauma through a Somatic Approach Geri Laurence

Healing Systemic Trauma through a Somatic Approach Geri Laurence

Understanding Trauma and Its Impact

Trauma can have profound effects on both our physical and emotional wellbeing. When left unaddressed, trauma can manifest in the body through chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety, and more. Healing this trauma requires a holistic, compassionate approach.

The Role of the Nervous System

Unresolved trauma gets trapped in the nervous system and body. Somatic experiencing provides a way to address this trapped trauma through gentle exercises, breathing techniques, and mind-body awareness practices to calm and regulate the nervous system.

Somatic Experiencing Principles

  • The body has an innate capacity to heal when provided the right support
  • All healing involves some degree of resourcing and self-regulation
  • Trauma recovery does not require reliving or retelling the trauma story
  • Emphasis on interoception and body sensations over narrative memory
  • Titrated exposure combined with pendulation allows the nervous system to process difficult sensations

Benefits of Somatic Experiencing

A somatic approach recognizes the adaptive nature of symptoms and provides tools for self-regulation. As clients build somatic resources, they report improvements including:

  • Reduced anxiety, panic, and depression
  • Increased ability to self-soothe and tolerate difficult emotions
  • Enhanced sense of empowerment and self-efficacy
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Decreased physical pain and somatic issues


What is somatic experiencing?

Somatic experiencing is a body-oriented approach to trauma therapy developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It focuses on healing unresolved trauma that manifests in the body and nervous system.

How does it help heal trauma?

Somatic experiencing helps clients build somatic resources to safely discharge trapped survival energy and counteract habitual freeze responses. This allows the nervous system to return to a state of balance.

What happens in a somatic experiencing session?

Sessions involve learning to track subtle body sensations, incorporate grounding techniques, discharge energy through shaking/stretching and pendulate between difficult sensations and places of comfort and safety.

Who can benefit from somatic experiencing?

Somatic experiencing can help those struggling with both shock trauma and complex developmental trauma. It’s compatible with many health conditions but gentler than exposure-based therapies.

How is somatic experiencing different from talk therapy?

Unlike talk therapy’s emphasis on storytelling, somatic experiencing focuses on shifting out of thinking brain into sensing. The priority is providing the nervous system resources to process difficult sensations.