Somatic Therapy: A Way To Health And Well Being

By: Heather Martin


Changing the world begins with changing ourselves. Or as Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” There are some who believe the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012. Still others believe it was not the end of the physical world that they predicted, but a major shift in human consciousness, or the end of a cycle.

If another cycle is to unfold, how are Angelinos and an evolved army of practitioners helping ‘ordinary’ people to live extraordinary lives and shift their own consciousness?

Many are finding unique and less understood methodologies to help them deal with emotions and visions for their life in ways that they hope will lead to a greater enlightenment, and a more enjoyable life experience, for themselves and others. After all, a more joyful and grounded person can only benefit society at a whole. We know this from simple observation such as recent events where unbalanced individuals have spread their trauma onto entire communities with violent acts.

The basis of many different practitioners is to assist individuals to gain control of their emotions and to articulate traumas. Human lives are transformed by traumas, epiphanies, and their reaction to or choice of how they deal with these respective experiences. If traumas have not been properly ‘resolved’ or were embedded into the cellular memory of an individual during their formative years, these traumas become a subconscious influence on an individuals’ behavior – fears, triggers, patterns, etc.

If left unaddressed, these traumas can have various effects on the individual from mental and emotional disorders to physical and physiological effects. Creating a block of energy within the person, it can prevent them from reaching their true potential, achieving happiness, and expressing the true potential of their unique being that was destined when placed on this earth. This ‘new’ wave of practitioners is helping people to actively evolve themselves through innovative approaches to therapy that often supplement more traditional methods, allowing people to face and resolve their traumas, lead them to epiphanies, and help them find a greater capacity to face life’s challenges with renewed vigor.

One of these practitioners is Lindsay Joy Greene. Lindsay has a quiet, yet powerful strength to her tall, slim frame. But you discover quickly that she is in touch with her own personal power and holds a bold ability to parse trauma. Lindsay says that “Every organism, from insect to animal to human, is wired to respond to threat via fight, flight, or the lesser talked about- freeze. These built in, biological survival responses call upon tremendous amounts of energy to either fight off the threat, run away from it, or shut down so as not to feel the pain of death. Every time an organism perceives threat, the nervous system prepares a survival response. If the threat is ascertained to be non-harmful through higher brain analysis, natural self-regulatory mechanisms built in to the nervous system tell the organism to ‘call off the guards,’ and return to a resting state. If this process is interrupted through a traumatic event, or the experience of frequent unsafety over time upon a developing nervous system, the self-regulatory mechanisms can become impaired.”

Lindsay’s practice applies a form of healing known as Somatic Experiencing, originally developed by Dr. Peter Levine. Somatic Experiencing is a “body awareness approach” to healing trauma, providing tools for self-regulation that reestablish a sense of wholeness for traumatized individuals. In more layman’s terms, somatic work focuses on the mind-body connection.

Lindsay became a Somatic practitioner after living in a Meditation center for years and receiving bodywork from a physical therapist. Often she would experience emotions that were difficult to deal with during these sessions, however this physical therapist would state that she didn’t “do emotions.”
She soon found herself driving 50 minutes in one direction to see one therapist, and 50 minutes in another direction to see the other wondering why there “wasn’t one therapist who has the skills to address both mind and body simultaneously?” She decided to become that therapist.

She continues to explain that “debilitating symptoms of shock and trauma (such as anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, sleep disorders etc.) arise from immense amounts of this survival energy locked within the nervous system that never accomplished what it set out to do, fight or flee.”

In a session with her, she gives the nervous system time to begin to feel the edge of this trapped energy and gradually coaxes it to the surface as they focus on stabilization and containment. “We essentially grow the nervous system and ‘rewire,’ or reestablish a sense of safety and healthy, appropriate instinctual responses to threat. Like strengthening a muscle, we challenge the capacity of the nervous system to contain higher levels of activation one notch at a time until what may have felt terrifying or overwhelming before, now just feels a bit uncomfortable. We teach the nervous system how to manage stress differently via mindfulness of the physiology, not the psychology.”

That is the difference between this approach to healing trauma and others like talk therapy. “Somatic Experiencing is unique because of its focus on neurobiological underpinnings as they weave themselves through the clients present moment experience, where a practitioner can make well-timed interventions that ultimately help the client regain a sense of mastery over their experience.”

Lindsay believes that the implications of her work go far beyond that individual’s nervous system. “A well regulated individual has considerable impact on those around them.”

Another practitioner, Stephanie Syd Yang, is self-described as an “intuitive coach and healer.” Her path to healer was borne out of her own traumatic evolution. In 2004 she experienced many life changing events, including the devastating loss of her grandfather.

Syd explained that “his spirit visited me several times and it was so normal for me to accept this and receive this. I knew his visits were also teaching me more about my path – he was always a teacher for me in life. There was a lot of clearing out and healing I needed to undergo in my own body to be ready to step onto a path beginning to be revealed.”

She continues to explain that she didn’t choose this path, “the path chose me! As a child, I was extremely sensitive. In addition to seeing and hearing things that were ‘there’, I could feel, sense and take on other peoples thoughts and emotions. I always seemed to know things that I wasn’t supposed to know. This made things very challenging for me in the home I grew up in. My gifts were not appreciated, recognized nor encouraged. This was extremely confusing and without the support around me to understand what was going on, I pushed it all away. I tried so many things over the years to not let these gifts integrate and the funny thing is, the more we resist, the more it persists.”

Syd practices Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapies (IET) which help people clear out emotional and mental spaces, leading to emotional and spiritual healing. Clearing space can also involve the physical realm “about clearing out our physical space of those objects we cling to (i.e. clothes, books, belongings, knickknacks, appliances, things we never use). If we want to move into more joyful spaces in our lives, we have to first create the space for that joy to flow in. Our external worlds are merely a reflection of what is going on for us in the inside. Shifting the external, shifts the internal. Once this work begins, then it is normal to start feeling the need to shift stuff on the inside – emotions get triggered, riled up – our sense of security and comfort get challenged as we let go of objects that have been holding us back from moving forward.”

Syd summarizes her work stating clearly that she is there “to offer a hand to anyone choosing to step into their fullness, into their life’s’ calling. I am here to guide. My calling is to lead as a healer to the wounded. I have lived through the pain of emotional abuse, self-hatred, depression and more. And because of that I have come to know that our insecurities are NOT who we are. Our Anger is not who we are…and yet they are there, in our bodies to teach and show us where we still need to heal. By addressing these thoughts and feelings in our bodies, we can clear them out, heal what is underneath and in doing so, clear space for joy to bubble up and reside. This is transformative change and we all have the power inside us to create this magic every day.”

Lindsay and Syd are just two examples of ‘alternative’ healers that people are seeking out to help them achieve their goals, to become better people, to choose a path that may at first seem daunting but that lead to positive life transformations. And it is through our own personal transformation by using our free will to evolve, that we all have the power to contribute to this Mayan consciousness shift, whether it happens this year, or every day that we are alive.

*Lindsay Joy Greene can be reached at lindsayjoygreene.com. Stephanie Syd Yang can be reached at bluejaguarlove.com. The author would like to thank Joseph Robert Marrufo for his indirect, but valuable, contribution to this article.

 


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