There is no single road that one can take to heal from trauma. Each person suffering from trauma will go on their journey. Some might need a variety of healing modalities, while one might be enough for others. One specific approach to healing has been gaining popularity recently – somatics.
Before you begin to explore what trauma-informed healing is as a somatic practitioner, you must first ensure that all healing modalities for survivors focus on their self-determination. This could involve openly discussing the survivor’s goals for somatic healing, sharing information on specific approaches, and fully trusting that the survivor knows their life and experiences best. Remember that consent is an ongoing, informed, mutual negotiation that should always be present in any therapeutic setting.
Let’s learn more about trauma-informed somatic healing in this post:
What Does It Truly Mean to Be Trauma-Informed?
Today, more healing practitioners are focusing on a trauma-informed approach as more people experience and understand the massive impact of trauma in our lives. That said, there’s still a lack of clarity when it comes to what it truly means to be trauma-informed. But what’s generally accepted is that benign trauma-informed means acknowledging the breadth and depth of what is traumatic. This is in contrast to what the mainstream culture still thinks (that trauma is a rare occurrence).
Being trauma-informed is all about focusing on building trust, safety, and choice. It is a collaboration between the survivor and the practitioner. As the focus is on empowerment, the treatment given is holistic. The practitioner engages with every single aspect of the survivor and not just with the traumatizing event they experienced. Even the healing spaces are different from that of traditional care spaces, which are often retraumatizing for the survivors.
Aspects of Somatic Healing You Need to Understand
The word somatic comes from the Latin word ‘soma,’ which translates to ‘body.’ The founder of Somatic Experiencing, Peter Levine, Ph.D., described unprocessed trauma as the body’s “unspoken voice.”
Survivors usually look for somatic healing, even when they are often aware that it is what they’re looking for. They seek somatic healing when they hit a wall with the traditional therapy they’re getting. They start exercising, enjoying the outdoors, enrolling in dance classes, practicing breathwork, meditating, or enjoying a long and luxurious bath. But even with these, a survivor still needs a trained practitioner to guide them through an intentional trauma-informed somatic approach. A trained practitioner can help their client bridge their mind and body for a more holistic healing approach.
One of the goals of somatic therapies is to release trauma memories that may be somatically held in the body. When the body releases traumatic emotions, the survivor might finally experience relief from such symptoms as teeth grinding, chronic headaches, digestive issues, and other physical signs that could be related to trauma in the past.
Is Somatic Approach What You Need?
Anyone who feels traditional therapies are not working for them can try a somatic approach. If you are new to somatic healing, make sure to ask your practitioner any questions about this approach you might have in mind. Learn about their consent practices, especially if touch is involved.
A trauma-informed healing approach might be what trauma survivors need to release deep emotions that their bodies might be holding on to. As helpful as traditional therapies may be, some traumas are simply not accessible through mentalization and require a somatic approach. Remember that sometimes the body stores trauma even long after we have mentally processed our trauma or even healed from it.
Gwizhii Institute of Learning specializes in trauma-informed healing practice. We provide tailored training, workshops, and others. Find out more about trauma-informed healing today!