How does it work?
Since the bulk of what we call "trauma" resides in noncognitive parts of the brain, it makes sense to include the body, and all facets of the nervous system, in our healing approach. To cultivate a sense of safety, spontaneity and presence in the here-and-now is our aim. From this supportive place we are able to be, to engage with others, and to do our good work in the world. We are also able to habituate our systems to the experience of healthy human pleasure, more and more often.
A connection to the present moment, and more enjoyment... sounds like a good deal, right? This work with presence, mindfulness and pleasure lays the foundation for processing safe amounts of "activation" in the nervous system. Examples of activation include: experiencing emotions, unconscious physical movements (like clenching one's fist or shrugging the shoulders), a quicker heart rate, a change in breathing, etc. Witnessing and experiencing these waves and their "deactivation" is evidence of our systems' natural capacity for completion and healing. These not-too-intense waves can be experienced without discomfort, fear or shame. The utter humanness of this process is our innate organic intelligence.
Many people find that it is difficult to feel much at all, let alone intensely, and a general dullness or lack of energy dominates their life. In this case we use the same principles, with further work on the physiological states that underlie this sense of shut down.
We all experience fight, flight and freeze in our lives, but these self-protective responses were biologically intended to be short-lived, not to last forever and linger in the background, interfering with a healthy, happy life.
What can this approach address?
There are many symptoms that point to stress or disregulation in the nervous system. Some of these are strong emotional triggers, feeling unable to come down from stress on one's own, a pronounced startle response or general jumpiness, depression, social anxiety, fear, feeling manic, fantasies revolving around violence or victimhood, hypervigilence, outbursts, addictive behavior, chronic physical illness, digestive issues or insomnia. My professional background is in Bodywork and Massage Therapy—and although I offer Somatic Experiencing and Organic Intelligence as stand-alone healing modalities, this is not the same nor a replacement for working with a licensed therapist, and I refer clients and contacts to referrals in the area when appropriate.
What is it like to work together?
I recommend scheduling an initial session with the intention to learn and experience working together for the first time. Many clients choose a recurring weekly or biweekly appointment to support their ongoing process, while others find the most freedom in autonomy, and schedule sessions one or two at a time, making contact and coming in as needed.
My practice is justice-oriented and informed by a study of complex systems. I am proud to be part of a new culture in the healing arts that honors individuals' unique stories, including acknowledgement and healing around how deeply we are shaped by embedded systems: from those inside our bodies, to our family systems, cultural systems, political and ecological systems.