Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Recovery Using Somato Emotional Release
Somato Emotional Release (SER) is developed by Dr. Upledger and Dr. Zvi Karni. They discovered that undischarged emotional stress settles in the body tissues.
These observations re-establish the fact that one’s psychology has a direct impact on the body.
Undischarged emotional stress, caused by a traumatic event, accident or period in one’s life creates concentric tensions within the body tissues.
In the therapeutic process of Somato Emotional Release these tensions are referred to as ‘energy cysts’.
How Does the Body Store Psychological Trauma
When an incidental event or period in one’s life has been too overwhelming to deal with – the body’s response is to store the trauma in the body by ‘walling’ off this energy.
Through further exploration we identified this, on a psychological level, as dissociation. This means that a response to a traumatic event pushes the emotion into the unconscious (dissociation) and stores that energy of emotion in the body tissues through the formation of an energy cyst. This truly is a survival strategy, so as to be able to carry on, in one way or another, with one’s life.
The problem is that these energy cysts (trauma identities) require a lot of energy to be kept in place. Our remaining available energy must then move around this area.
In time, when we go through different experiences and difficulties, our compensating systems are overstretched and we might start breaking down. Depending on the exposure of trauma a person has gone through, this can be relatively soon after an event or take shape later in life. Physical symptoms will most often show up as chronic pain, complex syndromes and possibly manifest as cancer. Psychological symptoms will appear as lack of energy, burnout, depression and mental dissociative disorders. Often you will see a combination of physical and psychological symptoms.
Ways of Reversing the Dissociation Processes through assisted Somato Emotional Release
In the SER therapeutic process, a practitioner is able to feel the energy cysts through palpation skills using the hands. Also through guided relaxation, the client/patient can become aware of these energy cysts and tensions in the body.
A dialogue will be initiated to access and work with the trauma. This will entail: tracking body sensations during the dialogue, giving voice to a body part or organ, regressing to and replaying the event and associated emotions in slow motion, bringing a new perspective to the current situation and using survival strategies, once the emotional energy is released, as constructive strengths.
The unfolding of the therapeutic process is assisted by providing context and containment. It is NOT the aim to move as fast and with as much catharsis as possible through trauma. This would only lead to re-traumatization. Rather, it is important to slow down the whole process so that emotional energy which is freed up can be digested and constructively integrated into one’s life.
How does emotion affect you physically? Leave your comment below.
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