Why Mind-Body Connection Is Crucial In Trauma Therapy
After experiencing trauma, our bodies may remain activated in a “fight-or-flight” or “freeze” response state. When our brain is on high alert, many situations are perceived as dangerous or threatening, leading to a strong physical reaction, such as an exaggerated startle response, clenched jaw, a racing heart, rapid breathing, or dissociating, to name a few. When a threat is detected, it may feel like you have gone right back to that traumatic memory or moment and have been transported out of the present moment.
These experiences are why many professionals believe that trauma gets trapped in our bodies. Traditional talk therapy alone that does not include mind and body integration may leave individuals feeling “stuck” and highly activated, unable to “reason” themselves out of their bodily experience. The traumatic memories stored in our minds cannot be resolved solely from the mind but also require a physical release that signals to the body the stress cycle is complete and you are safe.
Somatic means “related to the body” and somatic therapy is crucial to trauma therapy. Some evidenced-based practices that incorporate mind-body connection include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and mindfulness. These practices guide individuals in finding ways to feel safe, calm, and regulated in their bodies. Rather than being pulled back into a trauma response, mind-body connection allows individuals to remain grounded in the present moment with strategies that help them feel secure.
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