Stuart Cohen Psychotherapy - Merion & Media, PA

Resolution of Trauma

Life usually deals us some traumatic experiences, often in ways we try to dismiss as minor, and sometimes in major and undeniable ways. Trauma affects us physically as well as psychologically. The interplay between the body and the mind has long been a particular interest of mine. The most effective method I have learned for dealing with mind-body issues is a trauma-healing approach called Somatic Experiencing. You can find out more about it, if you wish, by exploring the website

Somatic Experiencing utilizes awareness of body sensations in addition to the usual focus of talk therapy. In the face of extreme threat, our nervous systems react reflexively in “fight or flight” mode. Inescapable threat, in which one isn’t able to fight or flee, can cause the helplessness and terror that results in post-traumatic symptoms. The arousal energy becomes stuck in the “ON” position, leaving a person anxious, fearful, and hypervigilant. Or, the person automatically goes into a frozen or numb state, which might result in feelings of shame for not having responded more effectively. These reactions tend to stay in the nervous system and the body until and unless they are completed or released. They can result in various emotional and physical ailments, which the person may not recognize as having anything to do with the original events.

By paying close attention to what is happening in the body as well as the emotions and thoughts, we can gently release the stuck energy, allowing the person to feel comfort and relief. Somatic Experiencing views our organisms as naturally self-regulating and self-healing systems. When people can relax their habits of trying to over-control themselves or force themselves to be a certain way, and go along with the body’s natural efforts on their behalf, they can often experience healing and wholeness.

Even in therapy for issues that do not necessarily involve major high-intensity trauma, such as chronic anxiety, irritability, depression, or grief, we often find that paying attention to the state of the body helps to achieve desired results more effectively than merely talking about the problem.

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Stuart Cohen, Ph.D.
Merion & Media, PA    Phone: 610-664-5805