In some circles, healing is a dirty word. Perhaps because therapists worry about the establishment of expectations. Healing is perhaps implicit code for fix me! We all want our symptoms and suffering to go away, even though we also know that all of us must be visited by suffering. That’s life.
What makes the brand of therapy I provide so positive, is that it can help with those who have a propensity to remain caught up in suffering. Whether the suffering is from childhood, or from the present, there are many of us (particularly in this day and age) who can get caught up in a constant state of background or obvious fight and flight. Irritable. Reactive. Tense. Negative. Pains. Insomnia. Anger. Sadness.
From all my training, reading and living, as far as I can tell, healing is about returning with presence. The key is to return to the feelings and sensations of suffering, but to do so with presence.
Somatic Experiencing is a wonderful technique, because it is about supporting the client to attend to their physical sensations of suffering in a remarkably different way. And when that happens, with openness and awareness, healing happens. Long-standing tension melts away. Long-standing problems melt away. Afterwards we are different. Our nervous systems start to surprise us. We assert ourselves more. We’re calmer and more at peace. We laugh more. We’re more available for love and connection.
They are even doing trials with MDMA (ecstasy), as well as other drugs, to assist patients to remember their trauma from a fresh perspective. And thus, heal.
What makes Somatic Experiencing so good, is that the client often doesn’t even need to relive the actual events. The past is here with us in the present. It is buried in our difficult feelings and thoughts. By attending to those symptoms with awareness and guidance, we can allow them to be processed. The key factor to remember though, is that S.E. is always about ensuring the process is slow and manageable. Overwhelming experiences are what traumatises a person. The healing, therefore, is never about dealing with too much at one time. It is about sipping and processing the difficulty in manageable portions.
It takes a lot of energy to hold on to our past. It takes a lot of energy to be tense. But dropping some of the past, which can happen in just a few sessions for some, liberates more energy for living. It frees us up for a bigger life.
Healing is possible, then, but it is not about fixing ourselves. Our past will never change. Our symptoms may always be there to an extent. S.E. is about liberating clients from old stuck patterns, and lessening the severity of their troubles, but it is also about helping a client to deal with the inevitable feelings a lived life entails. It is about feeling better, but also about being better at feeling.
This, too, is healing.