How Somatic Experiencing Therapy Can Help with Your Mental Health

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on April 24, 2023
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Bad mental health can affect anyone, at any time. When it happens to you, one of the hardest things to do is to reach out and seek help. So, firstly, congratulations on deciding to get therapy.

Secondly, you might be wondering what kind of therapy is best for you. If you are someone who experiences trauma or stress that manifests physically, you might want to consider somatic experiencing therapy.

In this blog post, we will discuss the types of people who benefit the most from this form of therapy and how it can help solve their problems with help of a licensed professional counselor.

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What Is Trauma?

Trauma is a lasting emotional response to a distressing or traumatic experience or life-threatening event. It can result from experiencing or witnessing a natural disaster, accident, abuse, or any event that causes physical and emotional harm.

Traumatic events can cause immediate shock and denial, and long-term effects can include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For more information, check out these resources:

Somatic Experiencing Therapy Summary

Somatic experiencing therapy is a therapy modality that is focused on healing physical symptoms of trauma or stress with help of indigenous healing practices. It is a non-invasive option that is grounded in the fact that the mind and body are connected. Therefore, it focuses on the physical sensations that arise from such traumatic events.

Who is SE Best For?

This therapy is best suited for people who experience physical symptoms after a traumatic event. These symptoms could include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, muscle tension, and digestive problems, among others.

  • People who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are some of the most common individuals who benefit from somatic experiencing. Somatic experiencing helps individuals reconnect with their bodies and regain control from the emotional rollercoaster that PTSD can create.
  • Survivors of physical or sexual abuse are also able to benefit from somatic experiencing therapy. These types of traumatic events can inflict physical harm, and over time, the physical harm can manifest into other physical problems.
  • Individuals who have experienced a natural disaster or a serious car accident can experience physical symptoms for weeks, months, or even years after the event. Somatic experiencing therapy offers a safe and non-judgmental place for individuals to explore and work through their physical symptoms.
  • Those who are dealing with chronic stress can also benefit from somatic experiencing therapy. Over time, stress takes a significant toll on the body. Somatic experiencing offers a way to reconnect with your body and develop coping skills and mechanisms to diminish the effects of stress.
What is SOMATIC EXPERIENCING in Trauma Therapy? | Kati Morton

Somatic And Body Oriented Therapy

Somatic And Body Oriented Therapy is a body-centric approach that helps release stress, tension, and trauma from the body.

Unlike traditional mental health therapy that focuses on talk therapy, Somatic Therapy focuses on the relationship between mind, body, brain, and behavior.

It is rooted in somatic psychology, a body-oriented approach to psychology that addresses the feedback loop between the body and the mind. Somatic therapies aim to engage the body as a therapy technique and to process trapped emotions in the body.

They draw from the basic functions of the nervous system during treatment to help release emotions and overcome psychological trauma.

How Does Somatic Therapy Work?

Somatic therapy is a form of holistic body-centered therapy that helps release stress, tension, and trauma from the body. It focuses on the mind-body connection to treat mental health issues.

Unlike traditional talk therapy, somatic therapy involves using physical techniques such as breathing exercises, vocal work, and body-mind centering to process emotions trapped in the body.

It is a powerful tool to help individuals struggling with mental health issues get out of their heads and into their bodies, creating a deeper sense of grounding and mindfulness.

If you are struggling with mental health issues and want to know more about somatic therapy, talk to a mental health professional to see if this approach is right for you.

How Many Sessions Does Somatic Experiencing Take?

If you’re considering Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy, you may be wondering how many sessions it typically takes.

  • SE sessions are usually an hour long and are recommended once a week, although clients have the option to book 1.5-hour sessions.
  • The number of sessions needed can vary depending on the type of trauma and level of stress, but it’s common for somatic therapy to last several months.
  • The first three to five sessions usually focus on education and traumatic events.
  • Remember that the most important thing is to find a therapist you’re comfortable with, and to communicate openly about your needs and goals for therapy.

How To Benefit From Somatic Experiencing (SE)

If you are struggling with mental health, Somatic Experiencing (SE) can benefit you by helping to reset your nervous system, develop bodily awareness, and rewire neural pathways.

SE is particularly effective for those who have experienced lifelong trauma and dysregulation. With special techniques, a somatic therapist can help release any pent-up trauma that has become trapped in your body, freeing you from physical, emotional, and psychological pain.

By practicing SE, you can develop a sense of engagement with all areas of life and develop healthier relationships with your own body, leading to a conscious state of emotional balance.

Prepare for SE Ahead of Time

The main author of this piece, Jared Levenson (hi!), thinks that body-centered meditation is the best way to learn the basic skills needed to teach and practice Somatic Experiencing. Vipassana, Mindfulness, and Zen are some examples.

If you are new to meditation, you can also learn mindfulness with one of the recognized apps available today. Headspace is a good choice if you are new to meditation because it has the best free trial and is easy to use. Calm is another great app, and our top choice – once you can meditate by yourself – is the Insight Meditation Timer.

We suggest the free trial of Headspace because their video series on how to start meditating is the best. Once you feel comfortable meditating on your own, you should switch to Insight Meditation Timer.

Somatic experiencing therapy is right for you when you are more at ease with your body and with being aware of it, and when your trust in meditating is growing.

If you’re almost ready to commit to SE and already have the skills you need, all you have to do is keep learning until you’re ready.

In other pieces on Online Mental Health Review, you can learn more about the pros and cons of somatic therapy, the benefits of SE therapy, where to find a certified Somatic therapist, the newish science behind body-centered therapies, and how to evaluate whether somatic experiencing therapy is right for you.

List of Somatic Experiencing Therapist Directories

How To Find a Somatic Experiencing Therapist

If you are looking to find a Somatic Experiencing therapist, there are a few steps you can take to locate one near you.

  1. Start by checking the Somatic Experiencing Practitioner Directory, which is the primary source of SE practitioners worldwide.
  2. You can also browse directories like Psychology Today to find somatic therapists near you.
  3. When searching for a therapist, look for someone with adequate training and verifiable referrals.
  4. The therapist should also have experience in somatic therapy to ensure they can provide the support you need.
  5. By taking the time to find a qualified somatic therapist, you can help support your journey toward better mental health.

Use Zocdoc to find SE Specialist Near You

Zocdoc is an online service that helps people find and make appointments with doctors and other healthcare workers based on where they live and what insurance they have.

Zocdoc’s database has information on thousands of doctors with different specialties. This makes it a good place to look for an expert for borderline personality disorder near you.

People can use Zocdoc to find a Somatic Experiencing expert near them by doing the following:

  • Visit the Zocdoc website or get the app on your phone.
  • Put in their address and insurance info.
  • Choose “Somatic Experiencing” from the list of areas of expertise.
  • Choose any interests they may have, like gender or language they speak.
  • Look at the list of doctors and read what other customers have said about them.
  • Make a meeting with the best provider for their needs.
  • Go to their session and start getting help!

What Are The Two Types Of Somatic Therapy?

There are many types of somatic therapy, but the most common ones are Somatic Experiencing (SE) and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.

SE focuses on physical sensations and releasing trapped energy caused by trauma, while Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is tailored to the individual’s needs and aims to integrate the body and mind.

These therapies use techniques such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, and breathwork to alleviate physical and mental symptoms. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, somatic therapy may be able to help you connect to your body and promote the healing process.

How Much Does Somatic Experiencing Therapy Cost?

If you’re interested in trying Somatic Experiencing Therapy, you might be wondering how much it costs.

The answer varies depending on several factors such as the therapist’s level of experience, location, and the type of session.

Typically, the cost ranges from $180 to $230 per session. Some therapists may offer a limited number of spots at a discounted rate, and insurance may cover up to 70-80% of the cost of a session, depending on your policy. It’s best to check with your insurance provider to determine what your coverage includes.

Remember, investing in your mental health can be a valuable step towards healing and well-being.

How Does Somatic Experiencing Differ From Other Trauma Therapies?

Somatic Experiencing is a body-centered approach to treating PTSD and other forms of trauma.

The key difference between Somatic Experiencing and other trauma therapies is that it focuses on the physical sensations and responses of the body rather than just the emotions and thoughts that arise from them.

Other types of trauma therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), may focus more on changing negative thought patterns.

However, somatic experiencing can address trauma at both a physiological and psychological level, addressing both the mind and the body. Somatic Experiencing can be used in conjunction with other forms of trauma therapy, as well.

Is Somatic Experiencing The Same As EMDR?

EMDR and Somatic Experiencing are both treatment interventions that can help individuals deal with emotional, psychological, and physical trauma. Although there are some similarities between the two, they are not the same.

EMDR Therapy incorporates some aspects of somatic awareness; however, Somatic Experiencing places greater emphasis on physical sensations associated with trauma and is more akin to body therapy than EMDR.

Both treatments are effective in treating trauma, stress, and other mental health issues.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy Near Me Conclusion:

Somatic experiencing therapy can benefit people who experience physical symptoms as a result of a traumatic event, stressful or anxious living situations, or chronic stress.

By focusing on feeling the body sensations, somatic experiencing therapy has helped individuals cope with and lessen their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, physical or sexual abuse, natural disasters or car accidents, and chronic stress.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, reach out to a qualified somatic experiencing practitioner today to learn more about how this therapy can benefit you.

If you have any questions about somatic experiencing therapy near you, or if you have a suggestion on what mental health counseling service, app, or course the Online Mental Health Reviews team should buy and try next, leave us a comment in the section below. We would love to hear your thoughts!

If You Are In Crisis

If you or someone you know is in a crisis and needs help right away, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a free, confidential helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This service is available 24/7 and can help people who are struggling with mental health issues find treatment and get more information. Help is always available so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need it.

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