Resolving anxiety is a clinical issues that’s been around a long time, yet most treatment approaches don’t work.
Most treatment for anxiety is focused on a think called “Exposure Response-Prevention.” That’s a sophisticated way of saying “Sit with the snakes until you’re not scared of snakes anymore.”
It’s not that helpful. And it’s certainly unpleasant.
This outmoded form of treatment was developed in the 1950’s!
Modern science has allowed us to peak inside the brain and see where anxiety comes from. As a result we’ve come up with helpful treatments that don’t required exposure to the initial event.
That means you can treat your anxiety without going over all the gory details of the difficult things that happened to you.
Anxiety typically has one of two causes. It’s either a specific traumatic event in the past the the brain is trying to make sure doesn’t repeat, OR been there since childhood, passed on from one generation to the next.
There are exceptions, but 95% of the cases I’ve seen fall into one of these two main categories. Or both!
The good news is that Somatic Experiencing is great for treating both kinds of anxiety, and it doesn’t require you to re-traumatize yourself by going into the details of what happened.
The root cause of anxiety is usually related to a part of the brain that is “stuck” in a previous experience and trying to prevent it again. This part of the brain is not very developed verbally, so talking and thinking won’t help.
What helps is allowing the body to “complete” the initial responses. That’s the only way this primitive part of the brain can realize that things are ok now.
That’s what SE does.
I remember a client Linda, a favorite of mine, whose step-father would beat her brutally for any act of defiance. Real or perceived. She left the house at 16, got a job and basically raised herself.
She made the normal mistakes that adolescents make, but overall she became quite successful. Linda ended up working at a high-end salon with a large and loyal group of customers.
Event still, by the time she came in to see me she was miserable. Her anxiety was off the charts.
Oh sure, she could put on a front at work. Her customers thought she was happy and carefree.
But inside she was a ball of anxiety and stress.
Her marriage was near collapse, she knew she wasn’t the mom she wanted to be, and she was drinking at a level that she didn’t think was healthy. Her life was moving the wrong direction.
When she was sober she needed control. And of course this wasn’t well received by those in her family.
Somatic Experiencing helped.
After a few months she reported that her anxiety had decreased “a ton,” and, naturally, her relationship with her husband, kids and even customers improved. But most importantly she felt better.
The part I like is that when I do Somatic Experiencing the work doesn’t require her to dig up all of her old trauma and wounding. We can help her internal fear responses complete without needing to bring up the past in detail.
Are you struggling with anxiety and the relationship issues that come with it? Make an appointment for a 20 minute complimentary consultation and see if we’re a good fit for one another. Your well-being is worth the call.