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I am beginning to go to a trauma therapist and she practices this. So i looked it up on youtube.. to see how the session would look.




I was wondering what was your experience? i am a bit doubtful, i hope this doesn't offend anyone, but it looks like hypnotherapy...is it a form? Do you feel it actually helped? How long did it take before you noticed a huge change?






Somatic Experience


I would just like to know how the therapy session goes with this... what is the actual process?





I appreciate anything you can share and you responding to this post. I posted this in this part of the forum because it's mostly used for PTSD. I am scared that once i tell my past to this therapist that she will just call me a big drama queen in nicer words lol.


Anyway!! Thanx!

Edited by CherryBlossom

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EMDR does end up with kind of a hypnotic effect for some people. I can see why you'd wonder if it was a form of hypnosis. Some people have found EMDR to be incredibly effective for their trauma, so much so, that it's considered an evidence based practice for PTSD.


Your tdoc should work with you to set up safety in the relationship before 'diving in' to EMDR. You should have good grounding techniques at your disposal as well as relational safety with your therapist.


Having said that, the trauma I had was very much about breach of trust and the experience I had with EMDR was not very helpful for me. I found that I tended to get "flooded" and stuck instead of being able to process through memories in the time allowed for the sessions.


The theory behind somatic experiencing makes a lot of sense to me from a neuro-physical-psychological perspective. Peter Levine's book Waking the Tiger is one of the seminal books about trauma theory that I think every tdoc and pdoc who work with trauma should read. 


Did you see the little example of "anger" at the end of this video clip? How he notices/brings awareness to how he's holding his jaw and fists? SE is all about bringing awareness to how the emotions are held in the body, then going a little deeper into them and then releasing them a bit just to see what happens and what changes you notice. It can be pretty subtle but can also be really powerful, especially if you connect with big emotions underlying the physical state.

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I was afraid to do EMDR because it felt too much like hypnosis to me.  But it is hugely supported by scientific studies to be effective.  And I have heard from others that it was very helpful.  It's very popular where I live and I had a hard time finding a therapist who was willing to work with my trauma without using EMDR. 


The therapist I ended up working with had me talk about the worst of the memories.  I cried, and let out the emotions, and it helped.  I think my therapist was a very special lady because I had years of physical and sexual abuse/torture, and that must have been hard for her to hear.  I can't remember everything that happened because I often disassociated when I spoke about the trauma, but as I went on with the therapy, I disassociated less.  Now I can talk about what happened with little disassociation. 


My therapist also had me ground myself and brought me back from disassociation by using physical grounding.  For example, we would go for a walk, and she would have me focus on my movements.  Or one time, she gave me hand lotion that had little beads in it.  I put the lotion on my hands, and focused on the sensation, and that brought me back. 


I do believe my trauma has been healed.  I don't dissociate like I used to.  I'm not in abusive relationships anymore.  I don't have flashbacks very often (and when I do, I go in to see my therapist for a tune up).  


I think the explanation of Somatic Experience looks interesting.  I know I still carry a lot of the trauma around in my body.  I have chronic pain, and chronic health issues that I believe are a result of my holding the trauma in my body for so many years. 

Edited by lavender fairy
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Appreciate all your experiences..thoughts..and advice thank you!!!

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There is one difference between somatic experience (peter levine) and sensormotor psychotherapy (pat ogden) is that sensorimotor focuses more on a theory that people need 'complete' an action sequence that they could not at the time of the trauma (e.g pushing somebody away, punching). I didn't find that part specifically helpful at all and I really disliked it. Noticing what my body was doing WAS helpful, and that was more down the path of mindfulness. 

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