Somatic Experiencing®(SE™) is a body-oriented therapeutic approach to the treatment of trauma and other stress related disorders. Trauma can come from many things like war and abuse, but it can also come from a difficult birth, a snow boarding accident, or even an invisible threat, like Covid-19. With trauma we can become frozen and stuck in the past, unable to be fully present in the here and now, and unable to move forward in life with joy; detached from history, but intruding into the present. The trauma response is a set of defensive bodily reactions (fight, flight, freeze) that we initially mobilize in order to protect ourselves physically and emotionally, both from threat, and sometimes later, against feeling the aftermath of helplessness and fear.
This pandemic presents us with unique challenges. With Covid-19, we are working with the nervous system while it is still under an invisible perceived threat. Human evolution has prepared us to respond to threats that we can see, identify, and then respond to, as in fight or flight.
However, we are now confronted with a potentially lethal pathogen, one that we cannot see, and for which we do not have an evolutionarily prepared active response. In addition, people may also feel trapped and lonely, worried about a sick loved one, experiencing loss, or in an unsafe environment as they are sheltering in place. For some, the presence of Covid-19 may lead to chronic fear, helplessness, anxiety, anger, rebellion, collapse, and depression, as well as to various physical symptoms, like chronic pain, IBS, etc.
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