Somatic Therapies for Trauma Recovery

Psynergy Centre Health & Wellness is your premier site in Medicine Hat for all things trauma recovery facilitated by specialty trained licensed professionals. Somatic therapies encompass a range of therapeutic approaches that focus on the body-mind connection to promote healing and recovery from trauma. These therapies recognize that trauma is stored not only in the mind but also in the body, and they aim to address the physical manifestations of trauma to facilitate emotional and psychological healing. Common forms of somatic therapies for trauma recovery, all of which are offered at Psynergy Centre, are:

  1. Trauma-Informed Yoga: Trauma-informed yoga integrates gentle yoga poses, breathwork, mindfulness, and meditation techniques to help individuals reconnect with their bodies, regulate their nervous systems, and release tension and stress stored in the body in small intimate group sizes (1-5 participants). Trauma-informed yoga classes prioritize safety, choice, and empowerment, allowing individuals to practice at their own pace and comfort level.
  2. Somatic Experiencing (SE): Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing is a body-centered approach to trauma therapy that focuses on releasing physical tension and restoring the body’s natural self-regulation mechanisms. SE therapists help clients track bodily sensations, movements, and impulses to facilitate the completion of the body’s natural stress response cycle and discharge trapped energy from traumatic experiences.
  3. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy combines principles of somatic therapy with traditional psychotherapy approaches to treat trauma-related symptoms. This approach helps individuals explore how trauma is stored in the body through movement, posture, and sensory experiences. Sensorimotor therapists use techniques such as mindfulness, body awareness, movement exploration, and grounding exercises to help clients process and integrate traumatic memories.
  4. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): While primarily known as a cognitive therapy, EMDR also incorporates elements of somatic therapy. During EMDR sessions, clients may experience physical sensations and movements as they process traumatic memories. EMDR therapists may use techniques to help clients stay grounded in their bodies while engaging in the reprocessing of traumatic material. Another similar branch of memory reconciliation is (ART) Accelerated Resolution Therapy which is often less sessions and more directive. Flash Technique and Image Deconstruction are often utilized as gentler preparatory interventions.
  5. Trauma Somatic Touch Therapy: Somatic Touch Therapy is a hands-on bodywork approach that focuses on providing safe, nurturing touch to help individuals release tension and trauma stored in the body. Trauma Somatic Touch therapists use gentle touch, massage, and body awareness techniques to support clients in reconnecting with their bodies and accessing a sense of safety and relaxation. Vagal toning “rocking” is based on Polyvagal Theory and is utilized at Psynergy Centre in conjunction with Somatic Touch Therapy.
  6. Dance/Movement Therapy: Dance/movement therapy involves the use of movement and dance as a form of expressive therapy to promote emotional, psychological, and physical healing. In the context of trauma recovery, dance/movement therapists help individuals explore and process their emotions, memories, and body sensations through movement, expression, and creative exploration. Somatic Movement classes including  Ecstatic Dance and (TRE) Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises may be  incorporated.
  7. Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness: Trauma-sensitive mindfulness practices adapt traditional mindfulness techniques to address the specific needs of individuals with trauma histories. These practices emphasize grounding, safety, and self-regulation techniques to help individuals cultivate present-moment awareness while minimizing the risk of re-traumatization.
  8. Breathwork: Various forms of breathwork, such as Holotropic Breathwork, 9D, Integrative Breathwork, and Rebirthing Breathwork, are used in trauma recovery to help individuals release emotional and physical tension, access deeper states of relaxation, and facilitate emotional processing and integration.
  9. Brainspotting: is a therapeutic technique used to process and release trauma, negative emotions, and other distressing experiences stored in the brain and body. It is based on the idea that where we look can influence how we feel and that our eye positions can access different parts of the brain related to emotional processing. During a brainspotting session, the therapist helps the client identify specific eye positions, or “brainspots,” that correspond to areas of heightened emotional activation or physical tension related to the client’s traumatic experiences or emotional difficulties. These brainspots are identified by tracking the client’s eye movements and observing subtle changes in their physiological responses.Once a brainspot is identified, the therapist helps the client focus their attention on that spot while maintaining a mindful and present-moment awareness of their internal experiences, such as emotions, bodily sensations, and memories. This focused attention facilitates the processing and release of stored trauma and negative emotions, allowing the client to experience relief and emotional healing. It is considered a gentle yet powerful method for accessing the brain-body connection to promote healing and well-being.

All of these somatic therapies can be used individually or in combination with other therapeutic modalities to support trauma recovery and promote holistic healing. It’s important to work with a qualified, experienced therapists who are trained in somatic approaches and trauma-informed care to ensure safe and effective treatment. Psynergy Centre’s got you covered!