SomatoEmotional Release is the name given to a therapeutic process of releasing from the mind and body emotions that are associated with past trauma and negative experience. If a strong emotion(s) cannot be expressed at the time of the trauma it can be held in the tissue.
Dr John Upledger, an osteopath and professor of bio-mechanics, and bio-physicist Dr Svi Karni carried out research at Michigan State University between 1975-1983, where they found that the energy of physical force and the emotion generated by psychological, physiological or spiritual trauma could become absorbed by the body, rather than discharged. In an effort to limit its disruptive influence on the normal bio-electric activity performing vital tasks, the body walled it off into as small an area as possible. This walled off area became known as an “energy cyst”.
While the body can and does adapt to the forces it is not able to release, this creates extra work for the body, and eventually it will become tired and weakened. Then there comes a time when it is unable to do any more adapting, and pain and dysfunction present as symptoms, sometimes years after the event that caused them.
The aim of an SER session is to gently and holistically rid the mind , body and spirit of the residual effects of negative experience and past trauma, and to gain an insight into how the held trauma is influencing emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
An SER process cannot be initiated by the therapist alone. The client decides when, and how much to reveal to the therapist. Most often this is done at a non-conscious, non-verbal level after the client has gained trust in the therapist. Many times the therapist will be “tested” by being offered relatively mild experiences to see if they are treated with respect before the more pressing issues are presented.
This aspect of craniosacral therapy is not to be confused with clinical psychology. The therapist maintains a hands-on contact with the client to establish areas of walled off energy (energy cysts ) while using gentle dialoguing techniques to assist the client in becoming aware of the focus of the energy and its emotional nature, to feel the emotion and to remember the event.
The memory, together with feeling the emotion is often enough to allow the tissue to soften and let go of this bit of tissue memory and its associated pain.
In addition to craniosacral therapy and SomatoEmotional release, there are other tools that can be used to assist in the healing process. Therapeutic Imagery and Dialogue is extremely useful in assisting the non-conscious part of us to communicate with the conscious mind.
In this process pains, tumors and diseases can be engaged in conversation to find out why they have shown up, and what they need the client to do for them to go. Words, images, colours, smells and almost anything that can be imagined can take on a personality to represent some aspect, area or incident that we find to too scary to look at, or acknowledge directly. By talking to this “persona” and getting to know it and what it would like from the client, we can usually negotiate a win-win situation.
This sounds like a children's game, and in many ways it is, but it is something that came naturally to everyone until we were “educated” out of it. Children use their imagination to create an enthralling, magical world that stimulates and enriches their lives.
This gift, which we all still posess, can be used to talk to our fears and phobias, pains, self loathing and sometimes people from our past who have treated us badly. It allows us to desensitize the raw emotions slowly so that we can finally look at the event and process the emotions and let them go.