Somatic Experiencing

(Written in September 2009)
Session with Caryn.  My corner was dismantled so I demanded it be set up and squinched right into it and started to cry while she was still bringing pillows.  She sat next to me and put her hands on my knee.  I talked about Katie and the period when she was learning to self-regulate, but could only do it when she was physically present with her foster mom.  (Suddenly I’m seeing why being with my friends, even if we aren’t doing grief work, is helping me to self-regulate.) Caryn said her body was helping my body self-regulate.  I did a lot of the usual discharge: shoulders hunching, yawning.  I tried to get as small as possible, I expressed anger.  At one point there was a sensation in my belly — on the surface, it was rounded and a little stiff, and very intense, almost burning, I couldn’t tell if it was hot or cold and if it wanted to expand or not.  I tracked it for a while and then realized it was like a soundless scream.  Once I understood that, it faded.  Writing now I see it as a bubble expanding, that wants to get bigger and pop, but is afraid to.  After a while I was so tired I collapsed over my legs.  Then I lay on my back with knees up, mostly tracking tension and discharge in my face.  Finally I got into a supported child pose so my face could completely relax.  Caryn recommends that I do that often during the day.
When it was time to leave, I felt a sinking of heart, and again, driving north, a wave of fear.  So I talked to the terrorized infant inside myself, I told her it was OK for her to have her feelings of terror and despair, and that I would stay there in them with her, I would feel them too, and not leave her.  I said it was hard work but I was willing to do it.  That seemed to help.
I’m seeing that the work with Caryn is on a very subtle but deep level.  There are no “breakthroughs” because of the need to titrate this intense material.  So I have a feeling of discouragement when I leave.  But in fact, I’m doing the work (and it is exhausting) but it may take a long time, months, maybe years.  So I really need to help of my friends to hold me while I do this hard and difficult work.

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