Somatic Psychotherapy

Do you find yourself...​

Struggling to switch your mind off

Replaying thoughts, events, moments in the past, even when you don’t want to

Getting irrationally angry at things you know in your head aren’t a big deal, but they feel like it anyway

Feeling overwhelmed

Struggling to be ‘in the moment’

Needing to use something like tv or social media to switch off.

Feeling numb

Feeling like you’re here but not really here

Going through the motions

Feeling disconnected from the people and places around you

Feeling tired all the time

Struggling to enjoy things you used to

You're not alone. And you're not broken.

These can be symptoms of trauma, of a nervous system that has become stuck in a pattern of alert and danger signals, even if the true threat has passed.

This happens when our body didn’t have enough time, space or resources to process a stressful event in the moment. This might be because it all happened too fast, it was over too soon, it was too big, went on for too long, or we had learned to override our natural trauma-resolution processes from past events. This meant our body was unable to do what it naturally knows to do, and instead held the impulses within the body, where they continue to tell us this threat is still here well after it has actually passed.

Because our bodies have incredible capacity to just keep on, many of us manage to tuck these traumas away. We might even forget on a conscious level that they exist. 

But our body remembers.

And while we keep on keeping on, the effort required to continue business as usual is that much bigger, because of the constant messages telling us that the event has not finished, which on a nervous system level means we’re still in danger.

This extra effort to keep us in balance while managing unresolved trauma eventually takes a toll on our hearts, bodies and minds. As a result, we begin to experience symptoms of a system under threat or worn down, such as racing thoughts, inability to stay calm, difficulty finding vitality, lack of energy, too much nervous energy, low mood, anxious mood, feeling disconnected disrupted sleep patterns, ongoing muscle pains, gut disturbances, skin conditions, and more.

Something’s got to give.

The good news is that it's possible to resolve these patterns of stress, overwhelm and trauma. Healing is possible.

When we are able to let the body complete the defensive responses that arose way back when the event happened, finish its orienting processes, letting the activation ‘discharge’, and come back to a settled, regulated state, then we no longer need to keep replaying the event consciously or unconsciously. Our body is no longer signalling that that particular threat is still present; it has been put back in the past, where it belongs. 

It has been integrated into your story. 

It can be a slow process.

When working from a somatic perspective, going slow is so important. The aim of therapy is to resolve, not just stir up traumas and then leave you to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, if we work with mostly ‘story’ or narrative, we can accidentally end up going too far for your body in that moment, and cause harmful distress or even retraumatisation.

To borrow a metaphor from Peter Levine, if we imagine your nervous system is a glass, jam-packed with marbles which each represent your past traumas. If we try to pick one out, we’ll displace a bunch of marbles, and maybe even crack the glass, causing a nervous system blow-up. Instead, if we make the glass bigger, we have plenty of room to begin taking the marbles out, or begin healing the traumas. 

This is why we focus on building your capacity first, on learning to track your nervous system, understand the conversation it’s already having with you, and then slowly begin addressing small pieces and work our way up.

It's a gentle but powerful, collaborative process that reconnects you to your vital force, expands your capacity for resilience, and brings you home to your body.

common questions

Sessions are done seated or lying, fully clothed. We begin by first supporting your body to find and re-find safety and stability, which we call regulation. As we build regulation together, learning the unique language of your nervous system, we slowly begin to work small pieces, ensuring that you are always able to come back into safety and stability with each ‘activation’. This is a key component to ensuring you are not re-traumatised, and that we don’t overwork the system. 

Rather than focussing on the story, processing traumas is done through sensations, images, movements, behaviours, emotions, and meaning, allowing your body to respond to the perceived danger in a way it wasn’t able to at the time.

This allows the ‘driving’ force behind your symptoms to be resolved, and many people experience a sense of peace, a connection with their vitality, and a sense of being more themselves.

Our sessions may involve Somatic Touch through clothing, which further supports your body to find regulation and healing. While many find this to be part of ‘the missing piece’ in their trauma resolution, it is optional.

Most sessions are 80 minutes long, allowing us to finish with deep regulation. Short 50 minute sessions are also available.

Initial appointments are 80 minutes.

Rebates are not available at this time.

That is up to you, but we can certainly discuss this with consideration to your individual needs. Clients see me weekly, fortnightly, monthly, bi-monthly or as needed.

I do offer online appointments, using Zoom. Please use the booking link below.

For online appointments and appointments at Nourish & Breathe, please use the booking link below. 

For bookings at Live Well, please visit their website at https://www.livewellnaturally.com.au/

1.5 hour sessions are $150

1 hour sessions are $120

Payment is required prior to the appointment.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, please reach out. Sliding scale is available.

If you need to cancel the session, I require 24 hours’ notice to allow time to reschedule another client who could benefit from this available time. If you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, you will need to pay the session in full. Exceptions are true emergencies, such as illness or accident. Likewise, if I do not cancel your appointment with a full 24 hours’ notice except in the case of emergency, your next session will be free. 

While traditional therapies rely heavily on narrative and story, and focus on making changes from a cognitive perspective (‘top down’ therapy) somatic psychotherapy recognises that our story, or thinking patterns, often follow the ‘state’ that our body is in – if we have unresolved fight or flight physiology in the body, it is likely to drive anxious thoughts, for example.

Somatic therapy uses the physical experience you have in the here and now to identify where patterns within the body have become ‘stuck’ in stress, overwhelm and trauma cycles. This enables us to find the source of the difficulty and resolve it, allowing the body to release the pain rather than repeating a story and becoming overwhelmed with painful memories.

Drawing on central components of psychoeducation, developing bodily awareness, resourcing to connect with innate strength and resilience, titrating difficult sensations and learning to move between autonomic states of arousal and regulation, somatic therapy techniques are easily incorporated into other approaches for effective resolution of traumatic memories.

There is no set number of sessions required to achieve these goals because every individual comes with their own set of circumstances, histories and personalities. However, working somatically can often produce faster results as we resolve the ‘driving force’ behind the problem.

My Fyshwick clinic is located within Nourish & Breathe: Studio 7, Building 3.3, 1 Dairy Rd, Fyshwick

My Manuka clinic is located at Live Well Holistic Wellness: 33 Murray Cres, Manuka

Absolutely. What we discuss in our sessions is confidential and I will keep our interactions private unless I have explicit consent and written permission, with the following exceptions:

  • you are an immediate or imminent danger to yourself or another person, including your partner
  • you tell me that a child or elder is at risk of abuse or neglect
  • you tell me of a person who has abused or neglected children who is still actively around or caring for children
  • a judge in a court of law orders me to release this information or I am issued subpoena
  • I discuss your case anonymously in a confidential supervision session to ensure I am offering best practice

I work with a broad range of areas and have a special interest in trauma related to the female body, including but not limited to grief, loss, pregnancy, birth, fear of giving birth, hyperemesis gravidarum, postpartum, menstruation, menarche (first menstruation), menopause, preparing for and recovering from surgery, ongoing stress, relational difficulties, attachment difficulties, and parenting.

I can also work with natural disasters, falls, accidents, addictions, and preparing for stressful events.

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