Why we love: So many of us have been disconnected from our bodies and/or emotions, and continue to override our intuition and the wise messages of our bodies. Without being connected to ourselves as a whole – mind, body and heart – how can we expect to act in line with our authentic self or find our direction in life? You are navigating life without your compass (and smartphone!).
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a pioneering healing modality, which works through the body to affect the mind, and ultimately is a process of reconnecting to yourself, where stress and trauma have shut you out.
Working with Anne is transformative – it certainly was for me. Anne is a fantastic and very experienced SE therapist. Her warmth, integrity and wealth of knowledge guides you through each session with ease and nurtures a sense of calm confidence in you.
How it works: Any situation where you feel overwhelmed or unsafe – or prolonged periods of high stress – can cause a trauma response in the mind-body. This means your autonomic nervous system (subconscious, ‘primitive’ parts of the brain) gets stuck in an activated state and struggles to regulate itself effectively between states of activation and safety.
As this happens in our subconscious mind, you may not even realise other than suffering from the effects/symptoms. Anything encoded in the subconscious is difficult to access through the conscious mind, which is why it’s so hard to for instance get rid of anxiety despite the willingness and the reason talk therapy can be less effective to resolve these types of problems.
SE works on the level of the subconscious nervous system through the body, using our ability to track what is happening internally with our felt sense i.e. physical sensations – the language of the lower brain. Through very simple exercises (which may seem almost too simplistic from the perspective of our higher brain), you will notice the mind and body becoming gently activated and then with Anne’s guidance orienting back to a state of ‘safety’. This enables your autonomic nervous system to safely complete interrupted cycles, release tension, and encode new responses to previously threatening situations or mental events that you had been stuck in – also expanding your window of tolerance for stress.
For who: I would especially recommend Anne and this form of therapy to resolve anxiety, panic attacks or burnout, which it helped me completely recover from.
I would also suggest trying a mind-body approach like SE as a compliment to any talk therapy/CBT/psychologist (obviously always discuss with your therapist first).
Symptoms of an overactive nervous system, locked in fight or flight response, that can benefit from SE: feelings of overwhelm, hyperactivity, hyper-vigilance, constant worry, anxiety, panic attacks, and disproportionate response of anger or fear.
Symptoms of a nervous system locked in freeze mode, the body’s last defence response: feelings of detachment, numbed out, dissociation, exhausted, mentally foggy, and just generally disconnected (could look like depression).
More signs of an unbalanced system here.
Format: SE doesn’t focus on talking or hands-on bodywork, instead Anne uses gentle yet effective exercises that are easy to do via Zoom.
A session is around 60minutes and the recommendation is to do 1-2 sessions per week initially. I noticed a difference in just 2-3 sessions and after 6 sessions I no longer had any anxiety and the panic attacks had stopped.
Every now and then I use the on-demand coaching programme, which are 10 recorded sessions with Anne, as a refresh. Depending on how much support you need and what you would like help with, you could just do the coaching programme instead of private sessions. Of course, it’s not as tailored. Anne also compliments the programme with a Facebook support group, which is probably very helpful so she can answer any questions you might have, although I haven’t tried it myself.
A personal note…
I interviewed 4 different SE therapists before I found Anne when I had decided to try something different to deal with recurring anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, stomach problems, and a few other physical symptoms.
Despite these typical psychosomatic symptoms, I had no problems or worries in my life that I could trace it back to or childhood event I hadn’t already processed, making traditional therapy work ineffective in my case, not to mention seeking help from medical doctors who really had no idea what to do with me after my blood works and examinations showed no signs of ‘disease’.
But from my perspective, I was in extreme ‘dis-ease’. Then the panic attacks started, again they came out of nowhere. Looking back, it makes me really passionate to try to help these poor doctors who so often meet patients like me and don’t have the tools to help. No doctor was taught the connection in medical school.
During our initial conversation, Anne explained the process and was the first person to give me an explanation of what might be going on in my mind and body. After just 2-3 sessions that anxious, jittery feeling in my body had disappeared and I recovered my normal ability to relax fully, plus my physical symptoms were significantly better. In 6 sessions, including daily ‘homework’, the panic attacks had stopped and the anxiety was gone, leaving me feeling like a new person.
After completing my work with Anne I did a few sessions of acupuncture and saw a homeopathic doctor, eventually completely resolving my digestive/stomach problems.
Working with Anne truly offered a breakthrough in dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. Slowly but surely I gained a sense of control over my racing mind and could return to a state of calm when the anxiety crept up on me. I am eternally grateful for Anne and the beautiful work she does.
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