A Body-Centered Approach To Trauma

Jun 1, 2022

Cranio Sacral Therapy(CST) & Somatic Experiencing (SE)

By Jodie Cara Lindley, BA, RMT, Reiki Master, SEP (Advanced)

As a bodyworker for many years, one truth I have discovered is that we store trauma in the body. It is quite literally in our tissues. This stored energy can lead to many different physical experiences: anxiety, tension, numbness, to name a few.

When we are “triggered” the body responds immediately, the muscles and tissues brace and go into protection mode, and we feel it. This was the main reason people would come to see me for massage … to release and relieve the tension created by lingering trauma and stress.

Over the years, I have transitioned the way I work with the body, to help people address and resolve the trauma they carry. I find CST and SE are nervous system-based modalities which can help the body discharge “trauma” that remains long after a stressing experience.

What does this mean exactly?

When we have experienced a situation in life that was beyond our ability to “deal with” at the time, this moment becomes frozen … frozen in our mind and our body. This frozen trauma disorganizes the body physiology and biology, and we end up with symptoms: anxiety/depression, insomnia, physical/mental/emotional pain, and syndromes like Chronic Fatigue, to name a few.

CST and SE together engage the body directly via light touch hands on work, and the mind via gentle inquiry into the current experience: presenting images, memories, sensations, thoughts and body movements and impulses.

The frozen energy can be contacted and will begin to move and seek to complete any survival responses that were not able to finish at the time. This helps bring resolution and reconciliation to both the body and mind.

This is not a quick fix, however. When shifting the nervous system towards balance and unwinding body “bracing,” we approach this gently. The body’s responses have often been in place for many years and creating a sense of safety between therapist and practitioner are of primary importance.

The best approach to trauma in my opinion, is multi-faceted … psychotherapy combined with bodywork yields transformative results. Support for the body and mind are good for healing the spirit touched by trauma.