Part of my work in learning to practice Somatic Experiencing® with others is to “receive” it.
That’s the wrong word, of course. One doesn’t just receive SE™! It is a full-body participation, an effort… an ongoing Experience.
Truly, I was doing the work by myself (from the books,) and then with a Practitioner, for over a year before I even started the training through Somatic Experiencing International. I enrolled in the training because I knew about it first-hand.
I’m one of those people who have a ton of somaticized trauma. A new term I learned is “psychophysiological,” instead of psychosomatic. The latter has become a shorthand for crazy, while the former technically means the same thing, but doesn’t have the same connotation.
Basically, in my case, this all means I have migraines and headaches, chronic fatigue, strange and persistent aches and pains, lingering effects from all exertion, and a host of other uncomfortable physical symptoms with no pathological cause. There are mental/emotional symptoms too, of course.
When I say I have somaticized my trauma, it’s a way I explain to myself that I have a “real” reason for all the physical, mental, and emotional misery that I have lived with long enough for doctors to use psychosomatic to mean “it’s all in my head.” I was making it up and just needed to get over it. At least, that was the message I received.
Having a different way to explain allthethings is a huge relief.
All that to say, I have been doing my work for over 2 years, now, but it’s been slow going. When there’s that much going on, at least in my case, it has really meant all the low and slow and subtle that I always talk about in these notes. Titration, pendulation, regulation, working on my zone of confidence.
This work with SE has been working, of course, that’s why I’m so invested in learning and offering it to you all.
My personal sessions are usually low-key and would seem like conversations, from the outside. But they have moved and changed me, while never looking quite like I thought they would.
Three weeks ago, I had a session with my Practitioner that was different. It was more like the sessions you read about in Peter Levine’s books, or what you see in videos on YouTube.
I wandered into some sensation while thinking or talking about something on my mind… And my body took over. I and my Practitioner checked in frequently for the first few minutes, since this really was a different experience for me. But unlike other times when “it” was too much, this time, everything was fine. If super weird!
A session like that is ridiculously personal, and every time and every person works differently. So, I won’t bother to go through what all happened.
What I will say is that I have had one headache (related to a head cold,) and one migraine (related to a surprise health insurance disaster,) since then.
I haven’t gone that long without a headache or migraine in over… probably two years…? I’m guessing, there. And I have no idea if they’ll come back, as it’s easy to fall into old patterns, whether they’re thoughts or physiological. Maybe they will maybe they won’t come back as often. Who knows!
That session was wacky and wild and meant absolutely nothing to my cerebral mind, but it obviously meant something for my pain centers.
And this is why I do this work. For me. For others. Because although most of the time, in my experience, it’s a little odd, and uncomfortable, and slowly changes my paradigm. Other times it’s ground-breaking!