Background: Therapeutic meals serve an important purpose in client’s recovery. Intuitive eating and mindfulness have helped in accessing internal cues. The addition of Somatic Experiencing ® allows clinicians to bring in the full range of felt sensations to help clients reconnect to their bodies and explore underlying emotional over coupling.
Objectives: 1) Attendees will be able to compare and contrast Somatic Experiencing ® to Mindfulness Practice, Intuitive Eating and Attuned Eating 2) Attendees will be able to articulate and experience SE™ techniques of Orienting, Titrating and SIBAM 3) Attendees will be able to name three specific ways in which SE can be used in Therapeutic Meals to enhance and deepen client experience.
Our clients often will experience a therapeutic meal as a significant threat, particularly in being asked to face feared foods and binge foods, in recalling past trauma associated with meals or in eating in the presence of others. As a result, they may be stuck in the fight, flight, freeze, or collapse response when asked to eat as part of programming. Intuitive eating and mindfulness practices will help clients to access internal hunger and fullness cues. However, the addition of SE techniques allows the clinician to bring clients gently into a supported awareness of the full range of felt sensations. As clients reconnect with their bodies and develop increasing tolerance for difficult body sensations, they are encouraged to use the direct felt experience to explore and resolve the underlying emotional over-couplings in their relationship with food.
This presentation will initially introduce Somatic Experiencing (SE) as a framework for understanding the varying responses clients may have to experiencing threat. Clinicians will be introduced to basic techniques, such as Orienting, Titration, and Pendulation, that can support clients in regulating their emotions.
A fundamental premise of Somatic Experiencing, and of this presentation, is that SE practitioners must first learn to recognize and regulate their own activation in order to be a resource and support for their clients. As such, the majority of the presentation will be experiential. Clinicians will be encouraged to track their felt sense to begin to determine their level of activation and to experience how they can use the techniques with each other to support regulation.
Clinicians will then be asked to consider, through example and role play, the circumstances in which these skills could be of benefit when eating with clients. We would argue that the main purpose of eating in programming is to support clients in bringing curiosity to their experience, something none of us can do when our nervous system is dysregulated. Our experience is that communicating to clients how the flight/fight/freeze response can impact one is often experienced as extremely liberating, lifting self- judgment and shame. Therefore, in addition to practicing SE skills with clients to support them in self-regulation, one goal of this section of the presentation will be to support clinicians in articulating SE with clients so that clients can bring curiosity to their experience in the meal rather than shame.
Dr. Slater gained her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota in 2007 and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in 2013. She joined the Emily Program in 2010. Since that time she has worked in all aspects of outpatient eating disorder treatment, including assessment, individual and group therapy and intensive outpatient programming for those with Binge Eating Disorder. She brings her training in Somatic Experiencing to support clients in attending to and resolving physical and emotional activation associated with eating. She has a private practice where she focuses on using SE with clients working with trauma and living with cancer.
Hilmar Wagner is a Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager for The Emily Program. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition/Dietetics and Master’s Public Health Nutrition from the University of Minnesota. Hilmar has been working with eating disorders for over ten years and has co-facilitate 100's of therapeutic meals. Hilmar is mid way through his training in Somatic Experiencing, successfully blending traditional dietetic practice with a body centered approach.