In our fast paced lives of career, family, and basic survival, stress to our system is a given.  Sometimes life’s demands pile up to the point of overwhelm.  If we aren’t able to shake it off and 'reset,' our nervous system suffers over time.  

We may notice:



  • Feeling continually wound up
  • Tightness in the body
  • Problematic coping strategies
  • Difficulty falling asleep/ sleeping through the night
  • Depression
  • Feeling distant from others
  • Frequent illness
  • Digestive issues

Elements of Somatic (Body/Mind) Psychotherapy

Noticing and befriending physical sensations as they arise

Feeling into bodily stress in a gradual, controlled way so that release happens naturally

Noticing “frozen” aspects of the body and gently start to bring movement back

Restoring natural rhythms of breath, heart rate, and resiliency 

Traumatic Stress

We can run into problems when everyday stress triggers events from the past which may have had more impact on our bodies than we realized.  The nervous system is sometimes “injured” when we experience overwhelm, particularly when we feel trapped or perceive our life threatened.  Our protective impulses get stuck “on,” wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds.  

Some of these events might include:

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  • Birth complications
  • Car accidents
  • Medical/ dental procedures
  • Anesthesia
  • Falls
  • Head injury
  • Near drowning
  • Burns
  • Animal attacks
  • Witnessing violence
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse 
  • Childhood spanking or yelling

Long-Term Effects

In addition to experiencing some symptoms from the list above, long term effects can include:

  • Substance abuse or other addictions
  • Chronic pain
  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Hostility
  • Issues with sexuality
In order to unravel this tangle of fear and paralysis, we must be able to voluntarily contact and experience those frightening physical sensations; we must be able to confront them long enough for them to shift and change.
— Dr. Peter Levine