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Why Talk Therapy May Not Be Enough



“Traumatic events are almost impossible to put into words.”

Bessel van der Kolk (2014)


In our bustling world of communication, talk therapy can feel like an outlet for expression, connection, and emotional relief. It is a useful tool for organizing thought patterns, expressing our feelings, and declaring positive affirmations. The power of the word dates back to biblical times when the concept of the spoken word held immense power for creation. Although words still have an important place in therapeutic settings today, they often miss integral parts of a person’s healing journey.

 

The Speechless Nature of Trauma


Traumatic experiences often transcend any form of verbal depiction. The process of recalling traumatic experiences often impairs Broca’s area, a part of the brain responsible for speech. Consequently, this hinders our ability to articulate words, making it particularly challenging to verbalize a traumatic event.


Talk therapy can often retraumatize its survivors. When our nervous systems are dysregulated, leaving us feeling unsafe in our bodies, our capacity to verbalize the event is minimized. When we are asked to recall a story in this state, we may feel that we are reliving the traumatic experience all over again, causing “retraumatization”.



Beyond the Mind, Within the Body


Another important reason is that trauma lives in the body. Peter Levine, the founder of the well-recognized body therapy method “Somatic Experiencing”, states that trauma is not just a psychological phenomenon but is profoundly held within the body's very physiology. Body therapy, as opposed to traditional talk therapy, addresses this directly. In other words, trauma is essentially "frozen" in the body, manifesting as physical symptoms like tension, chronic pain, and altered bodily responses.


Various methods of somatic therapies encourage individuals to tune into their physical sensations and gently release the stored trauma. Unlike talk therapy, which primarily engages the cognitive mind, embodied connection integral to body therapy, facilitates a deep, visceral connection, allowing individuals to feel, renegotiate, and heal their trauma.


The embodied experience recognizes the importance of releasing or “discharging” stuck energy held in the body due to trauma. It also acknowledges that the body holds the trauma within its nervous system, muscles, and connective tissues, creating a silent narrative that must be heard and transformed through the body itself for genuine healing to occur.


The Path to Healing


The silent narrative of trauma, encrypted within the body's muscles, nerves, and tissues, requires a method that goes beyond words. Body therapy, through its acknowledgment of the physical manifestations of trauma, offers a more holistic and often more effective approach to healing.


At Regulate & Thrive, we explore the profound connection between the mind and body, offering an embodied path to healing. We learn to access and regulate the nervous system, using self-regulating tools and other embodied methods, such as somatic awareness, conscious movement, breathwork, and yoga that release stored trauma from the body. These forms of somatic therapy ultimately allow for the transformation and healing that every individual deserves. 


Want to learn more? Visit www.noakairywellness.com

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