Bodywork and Somatic Education™ (BASE™) is a therapeutic approach to helping people overcome the effect of traumatic dysregulation at the structural/tissue level using hands-on interventions and movement or somatic education interventions. BASE is designed to help Trauma Therapists use the principles of trauma healing, anatomy, movement and “Listening Hands,” in their work with clients.
The body is where we live. Psychological processes and emotions are physiological states expressed through the structures of the body. Through sensory feedback, bones, muscles, fascia and organs/viscera give information about our state of being: safe, threatened, relaxed, anxious, aroused, etc. If the body is sending sensory information registered as discomfort, pain or stress, a person will perpetuate a heightened state of arousal or activation. This can become a self-maintaining positive feedback loop resulting in negative feelings—emotionally and physically.
The causes: physical injury, emotional abuse, natural disasters, sexual assault, car accidents, surgery/anesthesia, suffocation, and other threatening circumstances.
The result: PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, flashbacks, feeling detached, forgetful, stressed-out, fear of the next attack, relationship difficulties irritability, and sleep difficulties.
Bodywork and Somatic Psychotherapy are essential for healing trauma. BASE™ practitioners who work with clients suffering from these conditions have a greater sensitivity to follow or track what is happening in a client’s body and WHERE it is happening. BASE™ practitioners have hands-on receptive skills and non-touch ability to be extremely specific in identifying constriction/activation in a client’s body and how to work to release the constriction clients experience allowing for expansion, capacity and choice.
BASE™ is a somatic, body centered, therapy designed to assist clients through trauma by utilizing both non-touch somatic learning/body awareness strategies and effective assessment and hands-on somatic skills. This could be as small as a supportive touch on a client’s shoulder, to helping release freeze or shock in specific tissues, organs and body structures.
Learning how to work with the body enhances skilled intervention. BASE™ brings two related aspects of somatic work together:
- working directly with hands-on work to facilitate and allow change of dysregulation in body tissues, organs and structures; and
- somatic education, learning from the inside through kinesthetic sense of self.
Growing evidence shows the importance of touch in healing from shock trauma and developmental trauma. Touch gives an infant the physical feedback of its existence and healthy physical contact supports healthy emotional connection for lifelong healthy attachment and bonding. When disrupted by developmental wounding, illness or shock trauma, or when insufficient for healthy bonding the infant can grow into a child, adolescent and adult in physical and/or relational freeze. Touch also supports and promotes healing of physical structures in the anatomy that impact a person’s life because of pain and/or movement difficulties.
BASE™ practitioners use hands-on work to facilitate and support clients moving out of freeze globally and in local physical structures (e.g., kidneys, fascia, esophagus, bone) to allow more ease and resilience, less physical and emotional pain, greater expansion and possibility for growth in their lives.