“WHAT IS A SOMATIC APPROACH
TO HEALING ATTACHMENT WOUNDS?
‘Soma’ is a Greek word for ‘the living body known from within’, or known to the Self. This ‘knowing’ signifies wholeness. Somatic therapy is an experiential approach towards mindbody integration. The pain, overwhelm, and coping responses manifested by attachment trauma take us away from feeling at home in our body, at home with other people, or at home within the world. Somatic therapy brings us back.
The manifestations of attachment trauma are primarily subconscious, so using words (i.e talk therapy) or psycho-education alone is an incomplete approach for transformation. Profound healing and repatterning comes from making changes at the body (cellular) level. A somatic therapy approach acknowledges the narrative of our attachment journey and guides a client into the wisdom of their body to restore the innate capacity to bond, form healthy and adaptive boundaries, and flourish in all aspects of relationships.
Somatic Attachment Therapy helps:
Restore the body as a place of safety and as a conduit for love
Feel an embodied core sense of self
Compassionately renew a felt sense of connection and security
Release stored tensions in the body that contribute to defensiveness, avoidance, or anxiety
Expand the capacity to process body (preverbal and nonverbal) memory
Metabolize unprocessed emotions
Create deep and sustaining intimate relationships
Break the cycle of reenacting protective attachments patterns in relationships
Create the internal and external conditions for attachment repatterning versus merely working with symptom reduction.
Restore your optimal relationship to yourself and the world around you
Enhances the capacity for joy, trust, managing disappointments and rejections
WHY DOES ATTACHMENT MATTER?
Somatic Attachment therapy involves the way in which a person forms intimate bonds with themselves (embodiment), with other people, and the environment. These bonds form the supportive foundation to be adaptive, learn and grow from new experiences, and flourish in one’s goals and relationships. When there has been a consistent presence and the felt sense of connection and safety this forms a secure relational attachment. A secure attachment provides an intrinsic feeling of safety, acceptance, and belonging; it becomes the bedrock, or foundational experience, from which a person can more easily grow and thrive.
However, when there has been an absence or interruption of that bond, an insecure attachment forms. This attachment trauma is wired into the nervous system in the form of our responses and reactivity to our environment and particularly our relationships within it . And we carry this pain throughout life. The adaptive strategies we form in response shapes our capacity to regulate our nervous system and emotional states. It also informs the way we interpret incoming information, and how we come to understand ourselves, the world around us, and the relationships we have.
In other words, our early attachment experience is acting itself out in our daily life, replaying in our relationships, our jobs, how we respond to stress, and even the way we treat ourselves and other people.
Relationships can inspire our deepest sense of connection, joy and belonging–both to ourselves and others. They can also provoke our deepest insecurities, pains, and disconnection. Bringing an embodied understanding and awareness to attachment trauma transforms these early wounds, creating an empathic relationship with ourselves and others. This acquired secure attachment empowers us to live a life where our early attachment trauma doesn’t define who we are or control our future relationships. Somatic attachment therapy is not just about healing what went wrong, it’s also about nurturing the skills to deepen what is going right.
WHAT IS ATTACHMENT TRAUMA?
A holistic approach to trauma defines attachment injury/wounding not as an event or a challenged relationship, but rather as a disruption and overwhelm to our body-mind’s capacity to feel safe, secure, cared for, and consistently connected with.
Attachment trauma may be less visible than other traumatic experiences. Our adaptive strategies for managing the trauma are deeply embedded in our adult lives, manifesting as patterns in our physiology, thoughts, behavior, and interactions with other people and our environment. Attachment trauma might emerge in early childhood, adolescence or in our adult life as symptoms of anxiety, depression numbness, disconnection, defensiveness, or a sense that parts of your Self are numb, hidden, fractured, or inaccessible.
Attachment Trauma (wounding) can occur:
In the womb in response to the parents’ physiology, specifically their capacity to regulate/ adapt to stressors in their life.
During crucial stages of a child’s development where there is an absence or inconsistent experience of being attended to, attuned to, co-regulated with, or the child’s needs not being responded to.
Transgenerationally passed down.
From the loss of a loved one.
When our primal protective instincts, intuitions, and responses are thwarted.
When relational bonds have been ruptured and there is not enough time, space, or capacity to heal/ repair the rupture.
When there is too much stimulus too soon- in the hospital, home, environment, or socal-cultural setting.
Other traumas that break the vital connection.