Somatic Emotional Release

13th July, 2023

by Jo Callender, Functional Body Work Therapist 

Dealing with trauma – Somato emotional release. 

All of us have experienced some kind of trauma in our lives; surgery, the death of a loved one, divorce, assault, illness, accidents, childbirth and more…. One of the tools we have within the Craniosacral paradigm is a process known as Somato-Emotional Release (SER). Let’s break this term down; Soma is the physical body; the other part of the term is the Emotional; our emotional body. As such the SER therapeutic process seeks to address and unify both our emotional and physical bodies instead of treating them as two separate entities. 

At a physical level the body retains the imprint of the force (trauma) as it enters the body. What is known as an ‘energy cyst’ (EC) contains and walls off this “injury”, which is useful at the time of trauma to function in our “normal” life. However, over time, the fascia at the site of the E.C can tighten and restrict the surrounding soft tissues, if it is near an organ, can alter the function of that organ over time. It becomes an area of the body we must ‘move around’ and therefore lose the freedom of flow through that area. 

The E.C contains a snapshot of everything that was going on in a person’s life at the time of the trauma; a process also known as tissue memory. Also contained is the emotional response to the trauma or stressful event, and we can become ‘stuck’ in fear, anger, or have trust issues. As we continue to hold this unhealed area in the body, the nervous system continues to respond as though the trauma is happening at that moment. It becomes challenging for the system to continue to function well, when a lot of its resources are re-routed to ‘containing’ these un-dealt with insults to the body and psyche. 

As Craniosacral practitioners we seek to connect with your ‘inner wisdom’, the innate part of every single one of us that wants to heal and re-establish a healthy balance on a physical and psychological level.

It’s your inner wisdom that will guide the Somato Emotional Release process, usually involving imagery and dialogue and gentle hands-on body work to integrate on a physiological level the impact of trauma. The effect is a change to tissue, the nervous system, and the psyche. As self-awareness begins to arise in these disconnected parts of your body, the flight/fight/freeze response is reduced, healing begins to take place. Our role as practitioners is to support and facilitate this process by connecting with you and your inner wisdom and allowing this process to unfold gently and accordingly with your own pace and capacity to integrate.

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