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Somatisation and How It Shows on The Body

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

Somatisation I usually mention this term to my trauma clients, somatisation is an Ego defence - unconscious channeling of pain into the body - it is a tendency to experience and communicate distress in response to psychosocial stress. The association of feelings, patterns of behaviour and emotions (on an unconscious level) are linked to physical pain, in such cases is advisable to start journaling, by setting up a system of recording an internal concern, to describe the sensation or feeling, this enables the client to read those emotions / reactions to make a connection, to integrate the feeling of pain to the past trauma.

To somatise is when we feel emotions through bodily symptoms, as opposed to feelings, common in clients whose emotions are different and unregulated the somatic response is highly experienced. Studies report that high proportion of somatic individuals are alexithymia - alexithymia is a condition where we find difficult to place words that describe our feelings.

We do process memories in en explicit and implicit mode - episodes and facts these systems of memories embedded in multiple parts of our brain, traumatic events are stored in our explicit memory as well as in the implicit one, making the whole recording like a foot print. Flash backs and triggers are clues of this footprint of implicit memories, our brain is recalling and resurfacing them into the consciousness.

The process of therapy is learning to express our emotions as feelings rather then psychical symptoms, healing comes from the process of getting in touch with the body, being "here and now" to use that tool to enable the client to move to "there and then" distinguishing and making those trauma memories as "over".

A useful mantra I do suggest to my clients is " I refuse to bow to the enormity of Trauma"

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