reversing the symptoms of trauma and anxiety
I am a qualified Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner based in Melbourne, Australia.
Somatic Experiencing® is a gentle bodymind approach to re-negotiating trauma, stress and anxiety which is based in neuroscience. It recognizes these states as normal autonomic nervous system responses to overwhelming situations with complex effects on our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviours, and the ways in which we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us.
Do you often find yourself being jumpy, easily startled?
Unable to unwind?
Do you wake from sleep with fear coursing through your body?
Do you over-react to what might seem like small triggers?
Have racing or recurring thoughts? Panic attacks?
Anger outbursts? Or difficulty relating with others?
Or on the other hand, do you feel numb and out of touch with your body and feelings?
Disconnected from others? Find life to be ‘vanilla’ or bland?
And have deep feelings of inertia or can’t-be-botheredness?
The truth is, these may be signs of unresolved trauma that show up in your body, your feelings, your behaviours and your relationships with others.
They are classic symptoms of a nervous system
that is stuck in a state of high alert as if responding to ongoing danger.
Sometimes due to trauma with a capital T – the obvious events such as
a major accident, life-threatening illness or exposure to violence.
And sometimes due to “trauma by a thousand cuts” – the birth experience that
left you feeling not-quite-right, the times in your childhood when you felt bullied or misunderstood,
or daily stresses that remain with you and build up.
In challenging times, our bodies react to what they perceive as threats in order to protect us.
They mobilize a great deal of energy for the flight, fight, freeze and appease responses.
When the danger passes, animals in the wild release this energy by trembling, shaking or other means.
But unlike other mammals, we humans have learnt to suppress the natural release of this powerful energy
even when the actual threat has disappeared.
Our bodies take on the message that the danger persists and that it’s not safe to “come down” from
the high energy states of flight or fight.
Or to come out of the immobilization of the freeze response.
And so these protective survival states where we use huge amounts of energy to remain on guard and “hold it all together” become chronic and debilitating, no matter how major or minor the triggers may seem.
These triggers may be related to our thoughts and conscious memories. More often however, they link to emotional and somatic memories which can be evoked through our senses.
It is accurate to say that “the body remembers”.
Baby whisperer, that she is! Our whole family had been very unsettled since our son’s birth. Nisha came to help me work through my traumatic birth experience. She had a gentle way of also helping our baby move some uncomfortable feelings just by holding parts of his body and speaking to him and letting him know it was safe to feel and move in the way he needed to. He started cooing and smiling almost immediately. It was magic to watch.
I had been struggling with anxiety leading up to a big family event, and felt completely settled and fabulous in my body after a single trauma touch session with Nisha. She has something very magical to offer the world and I will be referring my extensive network of peeps to her.
I worked with Nisha to address trauma from a previous birthing experience at 31 weeks of pregnancy. Her somatic approach was the perfect fit for helping me shed my doubts and fears in time for my baby’s birth. Her use of touch was subtle but especially powerful in helping me feel safe in my body again.
I left the session with a feeling of deep calm and relaxation that I can’t remember feeling for a long time. Perhaps a sign of how long I have maintained residual fight/flight/freeze responses. It was lovely to feel so at peace! Thank you.
After years of feeling locked out of my body due to a traumatic childhood, I have finally started to access feeling and even pleasure, thanks to the many mind-body tools Nisha has taught me in sessions and embodiment classes. I can’t recommend her approach highly enough!
The body becomes a war zone of sorts from which escape would seem like the best option.
When trauma is experienced early in life, the imprints tend to stick and the person becomes wired for constant danger. This translates to a lifelong legacy of a body that has not had the opportunity to fully relax. The net result is often a range of health challenges that crop up years later unless the situation is turned around.
Fibromyalgia. Chronic fatigue. Chronic pain. Anxiety. Depression. Gut issues. Autoimmune conditions. Sleep disturbances. Skin conditions. The list goes on.
So, if any of this rings true for you, rest assured that there are gentle but powerful paths to unravelling this stress from your nervous system.
The healing comes not from recounting the event and re-telling your story, but by cultivating safety and connection, tuning in more closely to the inner landscape of your body, and completing primal protective survival responses to allow your nervous system to recalibrate.
It involves finding places of grounding, reliability and relative ease, even if other parts of your body may feel caught up in a raging storm.
From there, you get to gradually move the energy that was not fully discharged during all the times that you felt threatened in some way – physically, emotionally, psychologically.
The times when something was happening that was “too much, too fast, and too soon.”
In the process you can begin to access the parts of you that have felt missing or stuck.
Learn to tune in to your true Yes and No, setting boundaries that are not too fluid or too rigid, and building a stronger sense of self.
You would make space for all of your feelings, not as narratives or stories of the mind but as body signals. From there, you can learn to express them in healthy ways.
You would be also supported to let go off any shame, guilt, and self-blame that may have been sucking the life force from your body.
The approaches I combine are Somatic Experiencing®, Somatic Practice (involving settling touch through clothing) and counselling, working at these bodymind levels to address trauma at its roots in the nervous system.
This specialized approach to trauma and anxiety results in more energy and a greater coping bandwidth to respond to life in the here and now, and not through the old lens that’s kept you prisoner to your past.
It’s about your health and wellbeing, your relationships, your freedom of choice.
And about loving being in your body with the full range of experiences that life has to offer.
My special focus is on birth, sexual, medical, gynecological and developmental traumas in a safe sanctuary where we move entirely at the pace of your nervous system.
When one person in a family experiences trauma, the entire family will feel the ripples. I work with whole families including babies to support them to thrive beyond the initial impact of birth-related trauma.
Sexual and developmental traumas can especially have the effect of locking people out of their bodies. In addressing this I draw as well upon my experience as an embodiment teacher, helping clients in gentle but potent ways to inhabit their bodies more fully. The process may include couples’ coaching to explore the ways in which bodies can switch ‘off’ and ‘on’ in intimate relating as a result of trauma, stress and significant life events.
My approach to working with trauma can also support those experiencing a disconnection from their body due to illness, grief, birthing a baby, menopause, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, pre- and peri-natal trauma, developmental trauma, medical, surgical, dental and anaesthesia traumas, trauma due to motor vehicle accidents, falls, violent attacks, natural disasters, and more.
This way of working with the nervous system can be applied to gearing up for major events with a sense of calm and confidence e.g. birth, surgery, exams, job interviews, court appearances, and so on.
If you are curious to explore whether this approach would be helpful for you, feel free to book a complimentary 30-minute consult via the link below.