Dr. Vickie Modica and Dr. Maureen Dunn, Naturopathic Doctors, are launching their inaugural program, the Elimination-Challenge Diet, starting September 14, 2017. This short-term program will leave participants feeling better, with more energy, improved sleep, improvement in anxiety and depression, less pain, and they might even lose weight.
The elimination-challenge diet helps by reducing chronic inflammation and allowing the gastrointestinal track to heal. It is commonly used clinically to address a wide array of gut related symptoms ranging from fatigue, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, depression, PMS, joint pain, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease and beyond. Participants will learn if they have common unrecognized food sensitivities, giving them invaluable health information going forward. And importantly, it will help them to break sugar and other food/beverage cravings leaving them physically and psychologically poised to make more healthful choices going forward.
This program will revolutionize participants’ diet and most importantly their health. Drs. Modica and Dunn will administer it themselves, and uniquely, this online program includes two strategically placed visits with them to help personalize it for each participant. In addition they will receive video support and instruction, supplement recommendations, recipes, a private Facebook support group, and more.
Drs. Modica and Dunn will inspire, educate, and empower participants to protect or even take back their health and feel their best.
Please join us for our inaugural program at a 50% discount and help to spread the word. Eat well. Be well!
The NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™):
A 1.5 Year Practitioner Training for Healing Developmental Trauma
NARM coming to Durham in April!
A unique opportunity to learn the latest and most cutting edge methods for treating developmental trauma.
Introduction to NARM (Neuroaffective Relational Model)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 10:00 am-5:30 pm
Location: Levin Jewish Community Center, Durham, NC
The NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM™) is a powerful theoretical and practical map for navigating the complexities of attachment, relational and developmental trauma. Based on the work of Dr. Laurence Heller, author of Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship, NARM™ expands the clinical approach to working with shock trauma into a coherent approach for working with developmental trauma, and the link between psychological issues and the body. It is both a somatic (“bottom-up”) and psychodynamic (“top-down”) based approach designed to help build clients’ capacity for self-regulation and interpersonal connection.
Register for the introduction course here:
This training will be led by Brad Kramer, LMFT, LPCC, who is an international practitioner and trainer in somatic-oriented psychotherapy, working with stress, shock and developmental trauma. He is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), training assistant and consultant for the SEP Training Program; as well as a presenter on Somatic Experiencing and NARM.
Stay tuned for the first year of NARM training coming to Durham in 2018. Learn more about NARM and upcoming trainings here: http://www.body-mindtherapy.com/narm/
Training Sponsored by:
NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
Dr. Jennifer Franklin is a guest blogger for NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
Please read about why you might seek psychotherapy support for your Functional GI Problems. Psycho biological approaches support the mind body connection and can address a variety of physical health concerns. Dr. Franklin does a great job describing why psychotherapy could be of help to you. Please read her recent guest blog post!
Psychotherapy as Part of Your Treatment Plan for a
Functional Gastrointestinal (GI) Problem
by Dr. Jennifer Franklin
Albert Einstein famously stated, “Problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created.” Healing your functional GI problem occurs by deepening your level of understanding and making gradual shifts over time that create new neural patterning, generating healing.
Digestion is regulated by your autonomic nervous system (ANS), the part of your nervous system that operates without conscious control. Just because you don’t have complete conscious control over your ANS doesn’t mean that you have no control. All it means is that if you pay no attention to how your ANS functions, then it will automatically do what it has been trained over years of habitual functioning.
Deepening your understanding of your GI symptoms thus means learning to pay attention to your ANS in a particular way across a variety of situations, contexts, and environments with and without different people over time. Healing involves learning about how your ANS is involved in generating and perpetuating the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational patterns that relate to your physiological symptoms. Healing also involves doing something different, something that is likely to bring about a shift in the way you feel, something that puts your body at ease, and then doing that thing so often that your body becomes used to being at ease on a regular basis.
People typically think of working with psychotherapists for emotional problems, not physical problems. By the time people with functional gastrointestinal (GI) problems realize that a psychotherapist can be helpful to them, the toll of living with physical problems has led to emotional problems. In the meantime, people will exhaust their resources—time, energy, and money—trying other treatment modalities like medications, herbs, diets, supplements, reading, research, acupuncture, bodywork, energy healing, etc., that may not resolve the symptoms.
Psychotherapy is something you can and may want to start as soon as you are sure you have a functional GI problem. Psychotherapy with or at least some consultation with a practitioner specially trained in working at the intersection of the autonomic nervous system and the digestive system would be a valuable addition to your treatment plan.
Bio for Dr. Jennifer Franklin
Dr. Jennifer Franklin is a mindfulness-based, somatically-oriented psychologist dually licensed in North Carolina and California offering individual and couples therapy, teletherapy, and consultation. She worked at the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders in Chapel Hill and specializes in healing functional medical problems, especially gastrointestinal problems, along with issues of anxiety, panic, relationship, attachment, and trauma. Dr. Franklin teaches Vipassana/mindfulness meditation, has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the psychology and spirituality of the professional actor.
To learn more about Dr. Franklin and her general practice, please visit www.opendoortherapy.com.
To learn more about her specialty area in functional medical/gastrointestinal problems, please visit www.donthateyourguts.com.
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The themes of Bessel van der Kolk's, MD research are front and center in much of the healing done at NCCR. Read up on how he frames the relationship between trauma resolution and the body.
Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is a clinical psychiatrist whose work attempts to integrate mind, brain, body, and social connections to understand and treat trauma. He is the author of The Body Keeps the Score, which examines how trauma affects the brain and body, and looks at a variety of treatments, including yoga. He answered our questions about how yoga can be a powerful element in healing trauma.
How does yoga practice impact people who have experienced trauma?
When people think about trauma, they generally think of it as a historical event that happened some time ago. Trauma is actually the residue from the past as it settles into your body. It’s located inside your own skin. When people are traumatized, they become afraid of their physical sensations; their breathing becomes shallow, and they become uptight and frightened about what they’re feeling inside. When you slow down your breathing with yoga, you can increase your heart rate variability, and that decreases stress. Yoga opens you up to feeling every aspect of your body’s sensations. It’s a gentle, safe way for people to befriend their bodies, where the trauma of the past is stored.
How important is talk therapy in treating trauma?
If you’ve been traumatized, you’re likely to have a very distorted relationship to your body. My particular angle, or contribution, is that trauma is really a somatic issue. It’s in your body and, because of that, yoga has great relevance, because it goes directly to sensing and befriending the body. While talking and knowing what happened and being able to articulate it is an important part of treatment, the most important part is starting to regain ownership of your body and be comfortable in your own skin.
What does the evidence show as far as yoga’s efficacy?
Our studies show that yoga has at least as beneficial effects in alleviating traumatic stress symptoms as the best possible medications. In the studies we did involving neuroimaging of the brain before and after regular yoga practice, we were able to show that the areas of the brain involving self-awareness get activated by doing yoga, and those are the areas that get locked out by trauma and that are needed in order to heal it.
You also use other techniques to treat trauma, including EMDR, neurofeedback, and theater. How does each of these work?
My approach is very much “one size doesn’t fit all.” One method doesn’t benefit everybody. In order to recover from trauma, you need to address a large number of different systems. EMDR is particularly helpful to integrate traumatic memories, and it does so by shifting some areas of the brain involved in memory processing. Neurofeedback can affect brain activation patterns—it can actually change brain waves, and can help to make people’s brains quieter and more attentive. Yoga might be able to reach the same goal, but it would probably take longer. Theater is particularly helpful to help people gain a voice and to deeply inhabit a particular state. Instead of always feeling frightened or withdrawn, they can act like a king or a powerful warrior. It’s a consciousness-expanding tool. Also, traumatized people often misread other people, or become withdrawn or scared of others, and theater allows for deep engagement with other people.
Does yoga also promote connection for this population?
I don’t think yoga is a very social enterprise, but it’s interesting that it’s so much more satisfying to do yoga in a group than by yourself. There’s a likelihood that doing yoga in groups may activate the mirror neuron system of the brain, which is a system damaged by trauma, so practicing yoga and meditation in groups might give people a deeper sense of belonging.
You train yoga teachers to work specifically with people recovering from trauma.
Yes, we run a program at Kripalu twice a year that’s attended by about 100 yoga teachers from around the world. It’s important to be aware that trauma is not unusual in people’s lives. About 80 percent of the population has experienced a trauma at one or another point in their life, through accidents, alcohol, depression, family violence, or other circumstances or events. It’s very useful for yoga teachers to become aware of the implications of what they say and do, and the speed and the intensity of their methods and the effect it might have on people. Learning to own your body can be a terrifying thing—many people might have flashbacks and become panicked when they start doing yoga.
Is the mainstream health-care system beginning to recognize yoga as an effective treatment for trauma?
A I wouldn’t say it’s conquered the mainstream world by any means. You see evidence here and there—yoga is going on in some police academies and in the military. But it’s almost impossible to get research funding for this work, and I’m still considered an outlier for advocating for yoga for PTSD. Is mainstream medicine and psychiatry aware of the full potential of yoga for the treatment of trauma? No, absolutely not.
©2017 Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Reprinted with permission.
Written by... Dr. Pierre Dubois, DC, CCSP
At the NC Center for Resiliency, several of our clinicians are registered yoga teachers, and use the practice of yoga as a way of increasing clients’ body awareness, building upon their sense of safety within their own body, and learning to identify resources within themselves. In addition to learning yoga within the realm of therapy, having a home practice or attending classes is a powerful way of connecting with and building upon somatic awareness.
Many people see yoga as being a calm, peaceful form of exercise (which it is) that does not put any stress on the body (which it definitely can). The truth is that yoga is very good exercise, and may be particularly useful for individuals who have difficulty practicing other forms of exercise because of pain in their knees, hips or back. Part of the reason that yoga is good for just about everyone is that it stretches and strengthens muscles without putting excessive strain on the joints. However, it is possible to be injured by practicing yoga if you are not properly prepared, do not follow the correct technique or attempt to do things beyond your body’s current ability.
Yoga is becoming more popular every year due to its proven benefits for both the body and mind. That said, the growing number of people practicing yoga is also leading to an inevitable increase in the number of people getting hurt doing it. Let’s put this in proper perspective and then talk about what we can do to practice safer yoga:
In 2007, there were about 5,500 yoga-related injuries treated by a doctor or hospital in 2007. Since roughly 15.8 million people were practicing yoga that year, we can estimate an injury rate of 3.5 people out of every 10,000. That compares with an injury rate of about 15 per 10,000 in weight training and 39 in golf. So—relatively speaking—yoga very unlikely to land you in an emergency room or doctor’s office. Nevertheless, there are certain things to keep in mind while practicing yoga to help ensure you do not become one of those 3.5 in every 10,000 who are injured…
Some poses (called asanas) require a certain amount of skill to be practiced safely. A good yoga teacher will stress the importance of not doing more than you feel comfortable with and will be able to offer alternative forms of the same pose that can provide you with many of the same benefits of the more advanced pose while allowing you not to strain anything. As you advance in your practice, you can gradually work up to the formal pose once the appropriate muscles have been adequately strengthened.
If you are just beginning to practice yoga, enroll in a beginner’s course and choose a simple form of yoga (such as Hatha or Iyengar) that emphasizes the proper alignment of each pose. Jumping directly into something more demanding like Bikram or Vinyasa yoga may increase your risk of injury because these more complex forms will not allow you enough time to learn the correct postures or for your body to adapt to them. In these more advanced forms of yoga, the emphasis is often placed on achieving a smooth flow from one pose to another (sometimes in a hot room) in what can be a very complex sequence of movements. Clearly this is something you’ll be much better prepared for if you’ve first become proficient in the poses themselves.
The key to practicing safe yoga is to be in tune with your body and listen to what it is telling you. While yoga should cause your muscles to stretch and work, you should stop immediately if you feel you are straining excessively or if any pose creates pain. That’s the time to do a less vigorous form of the pose or to simply rest in child pose (lying face-down on the floor with your knees to your chin and your arms stretched in front of you or with your hands at your ankles).
If you have any type of injury, be sure to tell your yoga teacher before class begins so that he or she can demonstrate variations of the poses that take your limitations into account. Practicing yoga is a great way to reduce stress while strengthening your entire body, increasing flexibility and improving your overall sense of well-being. And by practicing it safely, you’ll be able to enjoy these benefits for years to come.
Dr. Dubois, DC, CCSP
Dr. Pierre Dubois is a Swiss Physician, and brings a Swiss approach to Chiropractic Care to the Triangle area. Dr. Dubois offers highly advanced Chiropractic treatments for pain resulting from car accidents, sports-related and personal injuries, as well as chronic neck and back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain and other joint and muscle mechanical dysfunctions. Dr. Dubois is trained to treat traumatized bodies with gentle intervention with the Sigma Instrument Method as well as therapeutic exercises, functional, structural and postural rehabilitation.
Dr. Dubois is also a Certified Sport Chiropractic Physician; Amongst his many patients, were two world champions in Martial Arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one Olympic Flame Carrier in 2004, multiple Professional Dancers, Golfers and numerous Soccer Players, Swimmers and Athletes of all levels.
By...Maureen Dunn, ND
In our most recent guest blogger post, naturopathic physician Dr. Maureen Dunn shares her top five tops for staying healthy and resilient during the colder months of the year. Here at the NC Center for Resiliency, we believe in addressing all aspects of your health, knowing that mental health is achieved best when addressing lifestyle and diet as well! As such, we work closely with like-minded providers in the area, like Dr. Dunn to provide you with a comprehensive path to wellness.
Are you finding that you are fighting colds more often than you have in the past? Or are you having difficulty recovering from an upper respiratory infection or the flu? There are proactive actions you can take when you first start to notice symptoms such as a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, fever, and/or a cough. These actions can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness and they are especially helpful if you do them early on - as early as possible. It goes without saying that in order to stay healthy, particularly during times of increased stress and when everyone is sick around us, we need to stay well-hydrated, get plenty of rest, wash our hands frequently, exercise and minimize stress. Call your practitioner if your symptoms do not improve or worsen. Here are some basic naturopathic steps you can take to boost your immune health:
1. Nutrient rich diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial rich diet can help to fight and prevent infections. Foods such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and parsley have antimicrobial properties that can be useful to prevent and fight infections. Foods rich in vitamin A such as yellow, orange and green vegetables provide antioxidant support and also help the immune system function properly. Eating a “rainbow of color” with your meals daily will help ensure you have plenty of nutrients.
2. Bone broth: People around the world have been drinking bone broth for hundreds of years for its medicinal qualities. It has recently garnered substantial attention nationally due to the density of nutrients it contains, including electrolytes, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluranic acid and others. These benefit the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, bone health, joints, skin, neurological and metabolic health. While it can be used for a wide variety of conditions it can also be used to help symptoms of colds and flus because it helps reduce inflammation and increases good bacteria in your gut. It is easy but time-consuming to make properly. You can find it sold locally, at Left Bank Butcher in Saxapahaw, NC.
3. Optimize your gut health: 80% percent of your immune systemis located in your gastrointestinal (GI) system, thus by supporting and enhancing your GI health you can help prevent and fight infections. Include probiotics such as yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, soy, Kombucha, kimchi in your diet. I would recommend consulting your physician or Naturopathic Doctor for recommendations for a high quality probiotic as supplements are not regulated for quality.
4. Optimize vitamin D: with your doctor about taking Vitamin D. They may want to test your vitamin D as low levels are associated with decreased immune function and bone health.
5. Make an appointment with your local Naturopathic Doctor: Naturopathic Doctors are skilled at supporting and improving chronic and acute illnesses including immune, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and rheumatic complaints. To find your local
Naturopathic Doctor, one that is trained at an accredited school, check out the following website: www.ncanp.com.
Dr. Maureen Dunn, Naturopathic Doctor, is a graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington – a four-year medical school and the world’s leading accredited university in the natural health sciences. To learn more about her practice or make an online appointment you can visit her website at www.carolinawholehealth.com. She has two practices, one at Chapel Hill Doctors and one in downtown Carrboro at The Wellness Alliance. She can be contacted at The Wellness Alliance at 919-525-1577.
Written by Paula Scatoloni, LCSW, CEDS, SEP
Guest blogger for NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
One of the first things I tell my clients is, “eating disorders are about food and they are not about food.” This usually gets their attention. Next, I explain that eating disorder behaviors inform us about two things: First, our relationship to ourselves (our capacity to self-regulate), and second, the behaviors inform us about our relationship with people (our capacity to co-regulate). Today, thanks to emerging research from pioneers such as Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Allan Schore we know that self-regulation and co-regulation are inextricably linked. Schore’s Regulation Theory and Porges Polyvagal Theory both demonstrate that infants come into this world with a limited capacity to regulate their nervous systems, emotions, sleep, etc. and it is primarily through the dyadic interaction with caregivers that the neural platform for co-regulation and, later, self-regulation are put into place.
Food (suckling) is one of the first ways that humans learn to regulate as infants. The act of eating uses the same neural platform as the social engagement system - our neurobiological system that supports the ability to bond and seek out relationships for support (Porges, 2012). The field of eating disorders has mainly referred to behaviors such as binge eating, exercise, or purging as “compensatory” behaviors, or attempts to regulate emotions when other methods fail. But a more nuanced view of the disorders invites us to move away from focusing on symptom reduction to consider the ways that the symptoms reflect the relational struggle that most individuals with eating disorders encounter. These interpersonal difficulties are often concurrent and precede the development of the diagnosis (i.e. difficulty reaching out for support, taking in needs, and digesting relational connection).
Similarly, the field of trauma is providing a new paradigm for us to understand eating disorder behavior through the defensive systems. The defensive system involves our biological impulse to protect and defend through fight, flight, or freeze. Individuals with disordered eating can be “stuck” in their defensive systems due to an early trauma or pervasive trauma that is reflected in the eating disorder behavior. Consider the following: individuals who experience stuck flight energy will present with anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts, food rituals, binge eating, or excessive exercise. Individuals struggling to express fight energy manifests it through purging, chewing and spitting, anger turned on the body, and self-harm behaviors. The freeze response involves a sense of disembodiment (dissociation, numbing), inability to track fullness or hunger, inability to engage in relationships, and depressed mood. Often individuals who struggle with disordered eating manifest all of the above, shifting from one nervous system state to the other on any given day.
Understanding eating disorders through the attachment and defensive systems involves a paradigm shift away from traditional cognitive models of treatment that are designed to intervene at the level of the prefrontal cortex (the thinking brain). This part of the brain is usually “offline” when a person is experiencing high states of emotional arousal or shutdown. Current body-oriented models of treatment that incorporate the body, the very place where the war is being waged are the missing link to treating this pervasive, and at times, life-threatening disorder. Incorporating the body through modalities such as Somatic Experiencing™, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy™ and related methods provides pre-cortical interventions to support areas of the brain that are responsible for attachment and basic nervous system regulation. A somatic-based approach to eating disorder treatment recognizes the connection between eating, attachment, and trauma and works to cultivate the biological and relational structures that support the ability to regulate emotions, connect with other humans, and ultimately thrive in the world.
At the NC Center for Resiliency, all of our clinicians are trained to work with
psychobiological methods. Whether working with eating disorders, trauma, or mood disorders we are committed to helping clients move toward coherence through the vehicle of their own bodies and nervous systems.
Paula Scatoloni, LCSW, CEDS, SEP is a Somatic Experiencing™ Practitioner, an eating disorder specialist, and the creator of EASE™ (Eating, Attachment, and Somatic Education), a professional workshop for health and mental health practitioners. She is also the co-founder of Embodied Recovery, a professional training program in Durham NC. The training program offers courses on the Embodied Recovery approach for individuals, groups, and treatment centers. The curriculum is designed for somatically trained providers with limited background in eating disorders and for eating disorder professionals who wish to gain awareness in the basic principles of somatic therapy.
For more information contact Paula Scatoloni at www.paulascatolonilcsw.com.
Written by Anna Cordova, MA, LPC
Somatic Psychotherapist at NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
Much is said in popular psychology about the importance of “attachment” styles. You may have heard of them before in the context of mother- child or parent- child relationships. They are used to described essentially how secure (or not) a person’s relationship is and was with their caregivers.
So what does this have to do with relationship? In a nutshell, the safety and security (or lack thereof) we experience as a child informs what we bring to mature adult relationships. If we felt emotionally safe and secure as kids, and knew that our needs would be met, we are more likely to bring emotional security to our adult relationships as well. On the flip side, if we were expected to meet our caregivers’ needs, to grow up quickly, or to manage the emotional world of our caregivers, we may develop a different style of relating, often described as “insecure.”
The terms typically used to describe attachment relationships are: securely attached, insecurely avoidant and insecurely ambivalent (among other similar terms). Truthfully, most of us are a mixture of all of these attachment styles, and although it is great to be “securely attached”— none of these styles is better or worse than another. Just different!
Stan Tatkin, couple therapist and founder of Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT), uses lighter terms that take some of the pathology out of attachment styles. The terms he substitutes are: anchor, island and wave. Here’s a brief summary of the different attachment styles as described by Stan:
People who are islands tend to:
People who are waves tend to:
People who are anchors tend to:
Reading those characteristics, there is likely one style that you identify with most, and you likely see your partner in one of them. Understanding attachment style, both your own and your partner’s, can help you each learn how to be a “competent manager” of one another. For example, if I know my partner is an island, I’ll find it easier to understand if he needs to process more internally, or needs more space in the relationship. If I know my partner is a wave, I will be aware that they need help from the outside (i.e. soothing and reassurance from me!) to regulate themselves. If partners can truly be experts on each other, how they are wired, and have each others’ backs, then varying attachment styles need not be a problem. The goal is not to change your partner, but rather to accept that each person enters into relationship with their own unique history, style of relating and ways of understanding the world.
Additionally, the longer we are in a relationship where we are not forced to change, but accepted for who we are (warts and all!) we can begin to develop security in relationship. Spend enough time in a secure relationship, and you can become an anchor. That relationship need not be with your partner, it could be with a therapist, or a close friend.
Be an expert on your partner. Discover who you are, and be unapologetically you. Don’t try to change your partner. Do try and change your attitude and behaviors towards your partner. This creates security in the relationship, which can help islands and waves begin to develop anchor characteristics too.
At the NC Center for Resiliency, one of our primary goals is to help couples create a mutual sense of security in their relationships. We believe this can be done by helping partners learn to deeply know and understand each other, accept all aspects of one another, and over time, develop the capacity to be secure functioning, both in relationship, and in the world.
Written by Mary Lorenz, SEP, RYT, NCLMBT
& Guest Blogger for NCCR
One of our primary goals at the NC Center for Resiliency, is helping people to find coherence, or a place of optimal physiological and psychological functioning. One way of understanding this is through the work of mindfulness based psychotherapist Dr. Dan Siegel.
Dr. Dan Siegel coined a term he calls the “Window of Tolerance.” It describes the zone that we are most comfortable in, the zone in which we function our best. People tend to leave their Window of Tolerance when they experience too much, or too little stimulation or input. Signs that one is over the top may be: feeling constantly on guard, wanting to lash out at others, or ourselves, experiencing feelings of anxiety or sleeplessness. Signs of being below one's optimal zone may include feeling numb, frozen, or empty. During the course of any day, people naturally flow within this Window of Tolerance, having moments of activity and rest. When we step outside our Window of Tolerance, and can't find our way back, there are things we can do to help.
Touch and movement based methods for supporting and restoring resilience (expansion of window of tolerance) and self-regulation (and movement into and out of window of tolerance).
The use of sound can bring us back into our Window of Tolerance, whether we are over the top, or below our optimal zone. This exercise uses the sound of Vu or Vooo. This sound, much like an internal foghorn, is created on the exhale. Allow your inhale to enter your lungs without an extra effort. On the exhale create the sound, imagining that it is going down your torso into your feet and out into the ground. Do this a few times, resting in between so that you may take note of your body's response. If making a sound feels like too much, try blowing bubbles, singing or whistling!
Here are some additional things to try when you are feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, over the top of your Window of Tolerance:
This self hug exercise from Dr. Peter Levine helps you feel your physical boundaries, because awareness of boundaries can help to bring us back into our Window of Tolerance.
Another way to feel our physical boundaries is through conscious muscle engagement. Try this exercise. In a seated position, place your hands along the outside of your thigh. Inhale and on an exhale, gently press the legs out into the resistance offer by your hands. Do this a few times and see how this feels, both physically and emotionally.
The same exercise can be done standing. Imagine your feet and legs, grounded and pressing out to the sides as you exhale. This is an isometric contraction and your legs will not actually move.
Things to try when feeling listless, frozen, under your Window of Tolerance:
Self touch: Rub your hands together, enough to create a tiny bit of warmth. Then place your hands on the opposite arm (upper or lower) and press/squeeze and release. Do this a few times. Rest and notice any changes in your body or mind. Rub the hands together again, and this time place your hands on your legs (upper or lower). Press and release, allowing your hands to move up and down the entire leg. Again, rest and notice any changes that occur after this exercise.
Invite tiny movement:
Starting at the head gently and slowly make tiny movements of the head and neck. If this movement shifts into the spine, let it. Feel what happens as you allow your body to make tiny movements. Be curious about the arms and legs. Allow movement to expand outward from the spine into these areas of the body. Rest and notice how you feel afterwards.
All of our therapists at the NC Center for Resiliency are trained in these somatic methods and more, to help you find your own Window of Tolerance, and help you learn to recognize when you are above or below this optimal zone, as a way of enhancing your ability to self regulate and calm and soothe yourself.
Mary Lorenz, SEP, RYT, NCLMBT #8363 is a bodyworker and somatic educator in Chapel Hill, NC. Her work is informed by Somatic Experiencing® and her background is in bodywork and movement. She is committed to providing a safe, open, and non-judgmental atmosphere where each client can feel at ease.
Written by Kimberly Jeffs, LPCS, SEP
and Co-Owner of NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
Somatic psychotherapists believe that the body has its own innate intelligence to heal. The primary goal of somatic therapy is to assist people in understanding the language of their own body so that they can reach an optimal state of psychological and relational functioning.
Somatic psychotherapy can help create balance in the autonomic nervous system, restoring physiological coherence. Physiological coherence is akin to what athletes call “the zone” or what meditators call a “zen” state. In the coherent state the body is at its optimal range of functioning: neurotransmitters are firing properly, hormone and immune systems are functioning in a normal range, the digestive system is operating properly, and we are able to experience and perceive our current environment in a more pleasant way. We know that experiences of safety, danger, and life threat are woven into personal narratives and become beyond conscious control. Somatic psychotherapy addresses the underlying traumatic stress that is stored in the autonomic nervous system.
Psychobiology is a branch of psychology that studies the interactions between biology and behavior, especially as it is exhibited in the nervous system. A somatic (psychobiological) approach differs from traditional talk therapy in that it recognizes that emotion and cognition effect a person’s physiology. A somatic psychotherapist may address diet, nutrition, exercise, and social engagement. Somatic psychotherapy may include touch work, teaching somatic mindfulness skills, and incorporating movement and sensations in the therapeutic process.
Somatic psychotherapy is best suited for people who:
Who offers this style of therapy locally?
NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC is a mental health organization that is focused on the restoration of resiliency and coherence in the mind and body through the use of psychobiological therapy approaches. The center offers counseling, research and high-level collaboration with contract integrative medical practitioners. All therapists at NCCR are trained in traditional talk therapy as well as various forms of somatic practices, which are incorporated into their core specialties.
Levine, Peter. Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body. 2005
Levine, Peter. In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. 2010