Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a naturalistic form of healing that will help you learn how to settle and release physiological activation from your body. Very often this process helps people to reduce stress and return to a sense of regulation and mastery in their lives. SE will support you in learning how to attend to uncomfortable sensations in your body and gently unwind them through your conscious attention. SE is particularly useful in managing stress because so many of the symptoms are physiological. If you would like to read more about SE, visit our website at www.traumahealing. org or read In an Unspoken Voice by Dr. Peter Levine.
NARM™ (NeuroAffective Relational Model)
The NeuroAffective Relational Model of therapy (NARM™) is designed to address attachment, relational, and developmental trauma or wounding. This type of wounding can be incredibly subtle, and many--if not most--people are unaware that the experiences they’ve had might have resulted in some of the patterns they experience as adults that get in the way of what they want for themselves.
These attachment patterns can cause life-long psychobiological symptoms and interpersonal difficulties and early unconscious patterns may show up in thoughts, beliefs, emotions, relationships or behaviors, and--prior to beginning to heal these wounds--we often believe these patterns are a part of who we are. Each of these patterns are helpful in the times when we need them, but with this kind of trauma, the patterns become the default. NARM™ therapy helps to be able to choose when and how to utilize these skills more effectively.
“The coping strategies that initially helped us survive as children over the years become rigid beliefs about who we are and what the world is like. Our beliefs about ourselves and the world, together with the physiological patterns associated with these beliefs, crystallize into a familiar sense of who we are. This is what we come to view as our identity.” (Laurence Heller, PhD & Aline LaPierre, PsyD, Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship)
The NARM™ session is a process of inquiry and somatic mindfulness to bring survival strategies into conscious awareness. We will inquire about what you most want to focus on and decide on what we most want to accomplish in our session, what you might want for yourself from our time together. As we go along I will inquire about your insight, feeling and physical responses to ensure we are bringing these into awareness before moving forward. I support the journey of uncovering your true self with safety, self-regulation, mindful self-inquiry, the expansion of agency and life affirming realizations promoting healing and growth.
The benefits of this work can include:
- Shifting patterns of self-judgement and self-hatred to greater self-acceptance and confidence
- Developing more sense of agency and choice in life
- Feeling less like a victim of your childhood
- Developing the ability to connect to feelings and needs that previously felt overwhelming
- Experiencing more connection to self and others
I am a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) as well as a NARM (NeuroAffective Relational Model) therapist. I also hold a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. I am a licensed psychologist in Maryland. I have been in practice since 1993.
Benefits and Risks Somatic Experiencing
SE may offer you many benefits such as an increase in your ability to self-soothe and feel empowered. However, there may also be risks as with any treatment that focuses on healing trauma. Although SE is designed to help you resource and work with manageable amounts of discomfort, you may experience challenging feelings, images, or thoughts. Furthermore, as with any stress reduction treatment, there can be no guarantee that you will reach your goals. That said, many people report that SE has helped them tremendously and has created positive change in their lives. Learning how to reorganize “body memory” is often a vital to learning how to relax and calm your nervous system.
SE Session Format
SE sessions are done seated in a chair or couch depending on your preference. Table work may also be offered if appropriate and agreed upon by both client and therapist. You will be asked to share an impression of the sensations that you feel in your body, such as tightness, heat, shakiness, expansion, relaxations, etc. I will teach you ways to track, or follow, these sensations with your awareness and come to a place of rebalance.
SE is not a form of massage. I may offer you touch support for the following reasons: grounding, containment, support, mobilization, or awareness building. You will always be asked before being touched and have the right and my full support to decline. If you do not feel comfortable with touch, or if the session does not call for it, session work will not include touch.