Trauma Informed Somatic Physiotherapy
My main belief has always been to try to gain an understanding of the deepest roots of someone’s issues, helping as holistically and thoroughly as I am able to.
Throughout my career, as well as through my own healing journey from a chronic autoimmune heart condition, I have come to understand that often, many health conditions and pains are more connected than we might imagine.
That might sound obvious, but many people have sadly come to realise that the UK healthcare system does not work this way. Rather they ‘put the fire out’ and address the immediate, seemingly separate issue alone.
What if we could see that the mind and body are one thing? What if we could see some common cause or deep understanding manifesting in lots of different ways.
Sometimes, it may simply be about joining physical issues biomechanically – for example, headaches, jaw pain and longer standing back and knee pain. This can be caused by biomechanics, motor weakness in the foot or tension problems in the body.
Perhaps we need to provide orthotics to sort all the issues out.
We may need to use tools like myofascial release, craniosacral techniques or yoga / tai chi type movements to help release restrictions or congestion in the tissues.
Perhaps the holding patterns may indicate a link to anxiety or deep early childhood patterns of holding.
Perhaps the nervous system is dysregulated and causing pains and autoimmune issues.
Why am I different?
Often my sessions dealing with complex chronic pain, stress illness or trauma are similar to conventional psychotherapy. However, one key difference is that I am licenced to use touch in therapy which most psychotherapists are not. Just think how powerful touch can be to our nervous system. Soothing for some, yet activating and difficult for others. I have worked with early attachment trauma / development issues and sometimes physical or sexual assault, abuse or neglect. Often boundaries, distance and acceptance of healthy touch or even presence with another is difficult - these individuals can benefit hugely from this work.
I am interested in the somatic experience and how the body is responding to emotional processing from a body-psychological perspective. This can be an important part of healing for some people.
I will simply ask you this - When did you last experience an emotion in your brain – never! It may have some processing there but the felt experience is in the body. Often nervous system dysregulation can jumble things up and mean we experience chronic pain instead of allowing the sensations of emotion to flow through. Energy in motion…..e-motion. If the charge or energy we experience with feelings and fear-flight-freeze responses do not flow, they get stuck and dysregulate the nervous system and how we react in future.
For example, when we feel “triggered”.
It may be that we require a more psycho-somatic approach to address the mind, body, immune, inflammatory and hormone (endocrine) and physical tissues as one, or at least how they affect each other. For example, one might suffer IBS, back pain, jaw pain and have some relationship issues or problems with anger/ anxiety. When we are able to see that emotions, trauma and past experiences have shaped our nervous systems automatic responses, it starts to make sense how all these issues can be connected. I have found that true healing can be based in a thorough deep assessment and choosing the right recipe of approaches for you – the individual. Trauma means "a wound". Working with trauma is helping heal that wound and how that plays out in our lives today. As a trauma - informed practitioner, my sole concern for my patients is deep healing, not just symptom relief.
"Learning to heal - not to manage".
I aim to guide patients to fully heal from chronic pain or illness, instead of teaching how to simply manage or cope with symptoms. This often involves looking deeper into a patient's past traumas or experiences.
What and Who do I work with?
The Body Speaks
I see pain or illness as communication – our body trying to tell us something. All we have to do is listen and learn from our body’s innate intelligence. Patient challenges I have helped with include:
Childhood and early development issues
Abuse or neglect – child or adult
Sexual assaults / abuse.
PTSD / Chronic PTSD
Tourette’s and tics
Relationship conflicts/ domestic violence
Emotional regulation issues
Main Approaches to Facilitate Healing:
Trauma therapy is a form of psychotherapy, designed to manage the impact of traumatic events on people's lives. This approach helps people process traumatic experiences and the lasting effects that may follow those events, achieved through regulating the nervous system.
Somatic therapy is a form of body-centred therapy that looks at the connection of mind and body. This approach will use mind-body exercises to help release built-up tension in the body. Untreated, this imbalance negatively affects a patient’s health and wellbeing. Holistically, somatic therapy can help them heal.
Cranial or craniosacral therapy is a form of light manual therapy to the head and body, aimed to sense and correct subtle disturbances within the body. It stimulates healing by manipulating the tissues around the central nervous system, helping heal chronic health issues and ongoing musculoskeletal pain.
Myofascial release therapy involves using gentle pressure on the myofascial tissues in order to relax contracted muscles, improve blood circulation and release trigger points or tension held within the body. This approach often uses indirect myofascial therapy, where one may experience tingles, heaviness, lengthening or softening within the body when receiving this form of therapy.
This is not an exhaustive list, however if something resonates with you, then perhaps it would feel right to work together.
How Long does this take? Our contract and commitment
I have no formal contract that must be stuck to – rather, I request a relationship where we agree regular appointments which is often important for you. A commitment that I make to setting a time aside for you and a mutual respect of each others time, commitment and effort.
I have had people whose pain has shifted in one session completely and then require a few more sessions to look deeper, in order to resolve things thoroughly enough to hopefully avoid recurrence. Most of the time this work does take time – month to years potentially. I do not mean to put anyone off and I am here to work as little or as long as you need. There is no pressure, but I do wish to be transparent and set realistic expectations. People often struggle to understand how long it can take to work with something so deeply embedded and do so safely and slowly.
In regards to how often – I would rather we choose to meet regularly less often than to try to race ahead. If weekly is possible then great. Often fortnightly works and sometimes once per month but rarely less.