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Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Listening to your body

What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SET) is a form of Trauma Therapy that begins with the body. In short, SET is based on the principle that trauma gets trapped in the body and can be released. A typical session starts with analyzing our bodily sensations. SET attempts to have us become more aware of our reactions to stimuli through mind-body exercises. By analyzing our physical reaction to something, we can begin to unpack traumatic events we may have consciously forgotten about. While we may not realize something is affecting us directly, trauma can still have a large effect on us subconsciously, and can manifest itself physically.

How does Somatic Experiencing Therapy work?

Somatic Experiencing Therapy looks at your physical reaction to stimuli, as opposed to your mental reaction. From that, you begin working inward which is referred to as “bottom-down” processing. Instead of directly analyzing a traumatic event, say a car crash, the therapist will start with something like how the weather was the day of the accident, and work to pull it out from there. Accessing trauma indirectly like this, makes for more of a “flow” as compared to other forms of trauma therapy.

How will Somatic Experiencing Therapy help me with my addiction?

Like other forms of Trauma Therapy, becoming aware of what has caused you trauma, as well as what triggers you, will lead to you having more of an understanding of why you’re reacting the way you are to certain stimuli. However, SET is different from other types of therapy. SET is built around paying attention to how your body reacts to trauma. Noticing physical changes, even something as simple as a change in posture, can be telling of how an event has affected you.

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