Trauma and Somatic Experiencing™

Many people who have an addiction or other form of behavioral health issue have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives, whether it was in their youth, well in the past, or more recent. There are many types of trauma that can contribute to these conditions, such as a death, or witnessing a death, a catastrophic event, and so on. These traumatic influences can be from a single event or an ongoing situation that has taken place over months, even years. Different people react to trauma in different ways, some more severally than others. In order to treat trauma in these cases we often use Somatic Experiencing™, or SE®.

Skilled Somatic Experiencing Practitioners

Clinical Director Terry Gatewood is a trained Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, coming to the belief early in his practice that much of the addictive behavior he was encountering was the product, or symptom, of a traumatic event. In a traumatic event, if an individual is capable of fighting back or fleeing there is normally no residual effects. However, when someone feels trapped, or “freezes”, during the event the body and nervous system can “store” the emotions and energy of the event and result in PTSD. The purpose of SE is to relieve, or release, these stored emotions and energy to allow the individual to reset to normal, effectively discharging the trauma. Essentially, this is accomplished through a series of sessions and exercises, at the direction of the Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, usually with closed eyes. Through these exercises the individual releases these trauma induced emotions and energy without re-experiencing the traumatic events.

Comprehensive Somatic Experiencing Training

Certification in Somatic Experiencing requires three years of Somatic Experiencing training. Blue Tiger’s clinical director, Terry Gatewood, LCSW, is a skilled clinician and has studied extensively in this remarkable trauma healing modality, first developed by Dr. Peter Levine, author of “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma”. Terry uses SE successfully in a large percentage of the cases that come to Blue Tiger Recovery. “Trauma lives in the body, not the event,” according to Peter Levine, and SE works toward releasing the trauma and restoring the body’s inherent capacity for self-regulation. The SE practitioner guides the afflicted individual through a guided exploration of the body’s physical dysregulation. The focus is not on discussion of the traumatic event(s) but on the physical dysregulation itself, the physical sensations, feelings, thoughts an images that arise from the traumatic memories. Those who have experienced SE therapy often say they feel freer and more connected to or engaged with life. Please contact us to learn more about Somatic Experiencing therapy and Blue Tiger Recovery.