I’ve recently been certified as a practitioner of Somatic Intuitive Training™. What does this mean? Lance D. Ware is founder of Heart and Soul Associates. The terminology originated with him (the underlined portions are a useful shorthand):
Somatic: Referring to unwanted feelings and emotions held in the body’s memory where they can be quickly identified and removed.
Intuitive: Finding and trusting inner resources of strength such as insight, wisdom, faith, guidance, and inspiration to assist in recovery.
Training: Learning how to replace traumatic memories with built-in, powerful states of emotional control, comfort and performance. ©Lance Ware*
This protocol originated with Dr. Phil Walsh, physician and therapist who in 1978 developed this breakthrough which he calls Autosomatic Training™ to assist clients who were stuck in their pasts. Lance Ware moved the protocol forward and has trained over sixty practitioners in the US and Canada, including Dr. Walsh, his wife, and me, in Somatic Intuitive Training™ . Here’s why it is so powerfully effective.
The human experiences sensations physically, mentally, and emotionally. One might say that everything we encounter in the course of the day touches upon these three central elements that make us human. Stress and trauma in particular “live” in these ways in each person.
We may first encounter stress or trauma as a feeling in the body: tightness in the chest, nausea in the gut, tension in the neck and head, tightness of the jaw, etc. In addition the body gets ready to deal with stress or trauma with hormones sent from the gut and the heart to the brain. They tell us that we are in “fight or flight mode.”
Second, we encounter stress or trauma in our minds. When this happens, our rational thought processes shut down temporarily and we rely on the amygdala, the part of our brain that stores our memories. The amygdala highjacks our brains, causing an immediate instinctual response to stress before we have a chance to think about it. It tells our body to move our blood supply from our gut to our limbs in preparation for battle or flight and stores the memory of the event as a future reminder.
Third, stress and trauma get expressed by our emotions (hearts). We may feel fear, anger, panic, grief, loss, and the need to survive. We may cry, scream, or react with rage. We may also experience depression, sadness, and paralyzing confusion.
The way we experience stress and trauma through body, mind, and emotions connects us indelibly to the event. Our memories of the event keep it alive through these physical, mental, and emotional manifestations. We also link subsequent stress and trauma with similar past events, thus reinforcing the memories. In addition we develop coping mechanisms to deal subconsciously with the stress and trauma: the origins of some chronic issues such as panic, anxiety, loss, grief, sleep, weight, anger, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
But that’s not all. We also connect our hurtful events with individuals, groups, or authority figures who may have been involved directly as perpetrators, or as passive observers or symbols of our perpetrators. These individuals become part of the “memory story” that get stored in our minds, bodies, and emotions.
When we “stack” stresses and traumas over the course of our lives, particularly when young, they become a part of who we are. We are unable to distinguish them as just old stories without power in themselves. We thus can become our stresses and traumas, our abusers and bullies, our negative self-talk and victims, our perfectionists and task-masters. They play out in our lives as “personality traits”, “temperaments”, or “attitudes”. We accept them as part of our genetic make-up, our ethnic or racial background, or just bad habits.
Each of us is able to unravel the body, mind, emotion knot. We can identify the associated individuals at the source of our stresses and traumas. Yet we are often not successful in this venture, even with therapy or medication. Why?
There are three reasons. First, we don’t always recognize the complexity of our memories and their origins and components. Second, no one, including some therapists, tells us that we have power within us to change our stories and rewrite our emotional histories. Third, we don’t have the tools to accomplish it. This is where Somatic Intuitive Training comes in.
Somatic Intuitive Training is not traditional talk therapy, which may serve to reinforce the damaging connection of stress and trauma to the body, mind, and emotions. Somatic Intuitive Training is a means to relief, recovery, and renewal. It is a proven, internal, silent, confidential, and brief process consisting of a series of sessions that free the client from their stories. By teasing out the emotional feelings connected with an event, as well as identifying where and how it shows up in the body the client, with the practitioner’s guidance, can address the original stresses or traumas. Then the client can connect the event to life-giving emotions and sensations that the body can feel immediately and that the mind can perceive as authentic, such as peace, compassion, power, love, courage, or confidence.
Somatic Intuitive Training has helped me tremendously with the events that have dogged me for decades. I’ve been able to find freedom from negativity, fear, victimhood, and resentment. I’ve gone back into the origins of these events in childhood and beyond. And because the client does not need to verbalize to the practitioner the specific details of the events, confidentiality is preserved and any fear of over-disclosure is eliminated. The client experiences results within the first hour, in person or by phone, and can continue working until all events are brought to resolution.
All photos are by Andrew Ciccarelli