Written by Julie Campbell, WLLC 2015-2016
Everybody experiences trauma in one form or another at some point in their life. It’s inevitable. Some traumas are less impactful than others. When the experiences are really bad, it sticks with the person forever, and can change the way they view the world and the people in it. It can be really difficult to come to terms with these traumas, but when left unattended, they can cause serious mental problems. That’s where somatic experiencing comes into play. Somatic experiencing is having the person relive the trauma while focusing on the physical sensations that the person associates with the particular memory.
I personally have never experienced something so traumatic that it effects my life from there on out. So while it is difficult for me to understand something so life changing, I think it is extremely beneficial to those who do know what it’s like. The book I’m currently reading, “Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines,” is about a man hooked on a huge variety of drugs. He goes in and out of rehabs, but it isn’t until he has a therapist who has him relive his trauma through somatic experiencing that he understands how much he has been through and how much he needs help. By focusing on what the feelings were that he associated with the memory, he “no longer felt powerless” (“My Journey to Somatic Experiencing”) when thinking about what he had gone through.
I think it is extremely important for a person’s mental and emotional wellness to be able to face the experiences they have had to go through. Without facing them, they “stand on unsteady ground” (“My Journey to Somatic Experiencing”), meaning they no longer feel safe or comfortable in their own skin. During week 5, we talked about our inner shadows, and I think that without somatic experiencing, those shadows have the opportunity to come out and really take over the person’s life. However, with somatic experiencing, I think that people can learn to face their shadows, and either embrace them, or learn to move past them and not let them define who they are.
People face trauma every day, but how they face it makes all the difference in their ability to recover from it.