Association of
Somatic Experiencing Practitioners
in Ireland

Integrating Somatic Experiencing™ to psychotherapy and counselling practice after having completed the first year of the ISE professional training program

By Daizan Kaarlenkaski

Over the first year of training with ISE, learning how trauma affects us physiologically, psychologically, and our connection with our emotions and instincts from a biological and neuroscientific perspective has increased my personal capacity for deeper healing as well as my professional knowledge base from which I am then able to share this empowering information with clients.

     Whether it is through conversation, drawing maps I have learned through the study (river of life, SIBAM, trauma/healing vortices) or by simply noticing somatic responses (tracking) and offering a framework for understanding more about the inner movements that are occurring, the quality of the psychoeducation I offer has skyrocketed since starting my training.

     I have found that offering a non-shaming framework, based on understanding of automatic and pre-conscious biological and evolutionary tendencies, supports clients in having an increased attitude of curiosity, acceptance, and compassion towards themselves. Additionally, I have noticed that there has been a large increase in the interest and engagement with psychoeducation in my sessions.

     By being able to offer a solid science-based reasoning why it is not a good idea to deep dive into the traumatic narratives and sensations, and why engaging in resourcing and counter-vortex work is a wiser approach, also tends to create a lot more space for appropriate future interventions. Including interrupting the client without causing unnecessary ruptures in the relationship when the process is spiralling towards trauma-vortex when it is undesirable.

     Additionally, as an experienced practitioner of meditation, prayer, and mindfulness I have gained a finer understanding of the benefits of tracking skills, containment, and grounding and better able to offer a satisfactory explanation to my clients as of why it is so crucially important to trauma work (and in just being skilful in the busy and stressful modern life).

     I now have a sense of being able to offer a reasonable explanation as to why we cannot resolve our unresolved stress by simply talking about it, and why it is so essential to pay attention to our physiological responses, which then helps me in guiding the sessions in a more skilled and competent way, i.e., learning about one’s capacity, the half second gap between unconscious and conscious memory systems, learning to identify the early signs of overwhelm etc.

     As an SE student one is most likely able to relate to how much more there is to be said, and one of my big personal learning experiences has been to slow down the intake of information to keep a balance between ingestion and digestion of new material. Similarly, I am learning how to guide my clients in a titrated way so as to limit the possibility of overwhelm (which most certainly happened during my first month after starting the professional training!).

     I will leave it here for now, and looking forward to the next year of learning, as well as sharing it with others intent on lending their ear.