The body wants to heal. I help the body heal from the effects of trauma with EMDR therapy. “The body keeps the score”, says renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk. He shares that, “Trauma literally rearranges the brains rewiring, specifically areas of pleasure, engagement control and trust”. Trauma is experienced somatically in the body and early trauma in childhood is associated with somatic disorders later in life including, chronic pain symptoms, chronic fatigue, conversion seizures and other somatic disorders.
I use somatic, body-centered techniques to help prepare clients for EMDR therapy. Some clients benefit by somatic resourcing techniques to strengthen their tolerance for processing the traumatic material and tracking their body sensations using mindfulness. We also work with clients to help them learn and experience boundary setting with their bodies. We assist them in identifying areas in their body that feel pleasant, relaxed or neutral and oscillate back and forth between those areas of their body and areas that feel tense, tight or painful. This method helps clients to be aware and stay with body sensations for strengthening their tolerance for EMDR therapy. We help clients to metabolize the trauma in their body with the use of EMDR therapy and other body-centered techniques.
When I work with clients with trauma I am always aware of the effects on not just the mind but the body too. In fact, part of the EMDR therapy process asks clients to identify where in their body they feel distress related to the traumatic memory. During trauma processing we might ask a client to “notice that sensation in their body” and at the end of a EMDR session we will have them scan their body to see if they are noticing any disturbances in their body. This is our way of checking to make sure the body and the mind have released and metabolized the trauma.