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Somatic Experiencing 

Somatic Experiencing  (SE) therapy is a therapeutic modality that treats the symptoms of PTSD and PTSD-related problems. SE focuses as much on body sensations and the nervous system as it does on emotions, thoughts, actions and imagery. While its originator, Peter Levine, PhD, developed the therapy to respond effectively to the symptoms of trauma, the benefits of SE are now being seen in the treatment of other emotional or behavioral difficulties. 

“I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation.”

— Peter Levine

SE is founded on Dr. Levine’s observation that, for the most part, animals recover from live and death situations without experiencing hyper-vigilance, sleeplessness, or the myriad of other symptoms from which many people suffer in response to highly threatening events. Animals move through a series of movements once a danger has passed, thereby releasing the built-up energy that accompanies the fight/flight/or freeze response to threat and experiencing a sense of completion. For people, the experience of being traumatized occurs when an event or chronic situation overwhelms our nervous system’s capacity.  There is a sense that not having acted or not having been permitted to act during the crisis. As an example, one study of post-earthquake survivors indicates that those who could run from the scene had few or no symptoms of PTSD compared to those who were immobilized. SE seeks to bring about completion of these natural impulses.

Unlike exposure therapy that focuses on the content of the traumatic events, SE looks at the physiological processes and sensations that accompany these overwhelming moments and works at making these manageable, safe and contained. Using the tools of SE therapy, clients learn to move through cycles of feeling mildly to moderately activated while remaining safe from a state of overwhelm.  This creates a greater capacity to tolerate sensations and emotions and builds resiliency in order to process the blocked elements or unfinished business of the initial trauma.

PACT

Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy

 

The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy® (PACT) relies on the application of research in neuroscience and attachment theory to improve interactions between couples. This approach, which was developed by Stan Tatkin, aims to help couples notice their reactions as they occur and learn how to better address one another's attachment needs.

Couples seeking professional help to address relationship issues and/or develop or strengthen a long-term relationship may find PACT a helpful approach. 

PRINCIPLES OF PACT

According to Tatkin, understanding the human need for connection can help couples form more secure attachments and deepen their existing attachments by developing secure-functioning relationships based on mutuality, sensitivity, collaboration, and fairness. To this end, he proposes a set of principles: 

  • Creating a "couple bubble" allows partners to keep each other safe and secure. 

  • Partners can "make love and avoid war" when the security-seeking parts of the brain are put at ease.

  • Partners who are experts on one another know how to please and soothe each other.

  • Partners should prevent each other from being a third wheel when relating to outsiders. 

  • Partners who want to stay together must learn to fight well.

  • Partners can minimize each other’s stress and optimize each other’s health.

Early relationships affect each person’s attachment style, and this attachment style tends to persist in adult relationships. PACT endeavors to help couples create secure attachments within the relationship and to address the effects of attachment threats. Jealousy, for example, can threaten an attachment relationship and may also spur specific physiological reactions that therapists can address in treatment sessions. 

Tatkin suggests that better management of arousal—including fear and distress—in the moment can help couples understand one another and work through conflict, which can undermine the ability of one partner to understand the other, or even to correctly remember the source of the conflict. 

He also emphasizes that repetitive physiological reactions, such as the fight-or-flight response, can undermine communication and trust, and PACT treatment focuses on noticing and understanding these in-the-moment responses. 

Enneagram

The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people interpret the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram describes nine different personality types and maps each of these types on a nine-pointed diagram which helps to illustrate how the types relate to one another. The name Enneagram comes from the Greek: Ennea is the Greek word for nine and Gramma means something that’s drawn or written.

What Does the Enneagram Tell Us?

According to the Enneagram, each of the nine personality types is defined by a particular core belief about how the world works. This core belief shapes a person's worldview and the perspective through which they see the world and the people around them. Our core beliefs are not necessarily incorrect, but they are limiting. Understanding our Enneagram type and how it colors our perceptions can help us to broaden our perspective and approach situations more effectively. 

Understanding a person's Enneagram type helps us to see why they behave the way they do. Each Enneagram type has a set of core beliefs that will motivate them to take particular actions and guide them to make certain decisions. Behavior that may seem confusing or contradictory can often be explained when we understand a person's Enneagram type.

The Enneagram also helps us understand how people react to stress. By describing how the each Enneatype adapts and responds to both stressful and supportive situations, the Enneagram shows opportunities for personal development and provides a foundation for the understanding of others.

The Enneagram is used with individual, family, and couples work.  It brings deep insight and provides a path for healing from attachment, trauma, and relationship struggles

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