Workshop 10: Beyond Words: Somatic Interventions for Couples Treatment
In traumatized couples, talking about ‘what happened’ often evokes more conflict than empathy and does not alter their habitual trauma-related animal defense survival responses of fight, flight, freeze, submission, or cry for help. By teaching couples to observe their somatic responses to each other and to use gesture instead of words, the language of blame is inhibited. In addition, somatic interventions regulate the body and nervous system, which reduces each partner’s sense of threat. Without words, each partner can be taught the ability to simultaneously open and protect the heart–creating a sense of safety for self and other.
- Identify patterns that increase/decrease activation of animal defense survival responses
- Demonstrate understanding of increasing couples’ ability to observe their somatic communication
- Integrate somatic interventions into couples treatment