Healing Trauma Through the Body

As we go through life we all encounter difficult and challenging experiences. Sometimes these experiences are scary and painful, and may leave a residue in our mind, body or soul. This residue is trauma.

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as…

…an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, [war and combat experiences, child abuse or neglect,] rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.

Other forms of trauma can be the accumulation of microagressions, particularly toward oppressed and minority groups. Some examples of this are repeated and continual exposure to violence, oppression, racism, homophobia, transphobia, mysogyny, xenophobia, and much more.

Working through and resolving trauma can be challenging and difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Finding the right therapist to help you work through it can be one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.

There are a variety of ways to work through and resolve trauma, and they all begin with building trust, safety and cultivating self-care resources. Working with trauma through the mind and body together has proven to be the most effective, according to studies. Some of the ways I work with trauma are with a somatic (body) based therapy called NeuroAffective Touch (NAT), and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy .

NeuroAffective Touch: A Body Based Approach

“NeuroAffective Touch (NAT) integrates the key elements of somatic (body based) psychotherapy, attachment and developmental theory, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and affective and interpersonal neurobiology.”

This modality is very effective in helping the nervous system and body to find more calm, which in turn allows the brain and heart to follow. When these parts feel this support, the whole person begins to feel more safety to allow the trauma to unfold and unravel.

What does a NAT session look & feel like?

We begin by talking a little about the troublesome emotions and exploring how they show up in the body. This work happens fully clothed and generally reclining in a chair or laying on a comfy massage table. We mindfully follow the sensations in the body and listen to their stories, emotions and needs for care and attention. We work together to bring comfort, support and protection to the body through contact or touch with warm pillows, blankets and consensual touch.

Through these practices the body can start to change and release stories from the past, relaxing body tissues, bringing more ease to the body, mind and heart.

For more information about NAT visit the website here.

EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is an information processing therapy. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for traumatic symptoms, the current situations that trigger painful emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health.

For more information about EMDR Therapy and research on it’s effectiveness, visit the EMDRIA website.

If you’re curious about how NAT, EMDR Therapy or other therapies might be able to help you resolve trauma, please contact Nick for a free consultation.

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