“Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, denied, misunderstood and untreated cause of human suffering.”—Peter A. Levine, PhD, Founder of Somatic Experiencing®

Trauma moves in and out of our collective consciousness. Often preferred in the background. Other times undeniably in the foreground.

Often associated with war, domestic abuse and other violent events, trauma can also result from other incidents, which are often diminished. People can feel overwhelmed by what are commonly thought of as everyday events impacting both individuals and communities alike: automobile accidents, routine invasive medical procedures, grief, loss, sexual and/or physical assault, natural disasters, ongoing corrosive stressors of fear and conflict among other potentially threatening circumstances. Becoming traumatized may result from feeling overwhelmed in relation to a single incident, or through the accumulation of stress over time. The events on their own do not cause trauma.

Trauma develops when a person’s body, psyche and nervous system fail to respond and adequately process adverse events. The effects of trauma can be long-lasting and pervasive.

Somatic Experiencing (SE™) is:

Resolving Trauma

promotes empowerment.

Somatic Experiencing does not require a person to fully re-tell or re-live traumatic events.

Instead, Somatic Experiencing is a therapeutic process that:

Resolving trauma

promotes empowerment.

Instead, Somatic Experiencing is a therapeutic process that:

Using advanced training in SE™, I work with people to balance both stress and vitality supporting clients to broaden capacity for self-regulation, resiliency, growth and empowerment. I specialize in working with adults who experience(d):

I am committed to supporting people suffering as a result of trauma to live with greater ease, choices, meaning, presence and vitality. What I love about working with people to recover from trauma is the awe-inspiring power of life energy. In each individual there is an unstoppable, indestructible aliveness that remains untarnished by the difficult, horrific and tragic events that people endure and survive. I revere this source of aliveness, which is inherently wise, whole and healing.

Touching Trauma

“Providing physical and emotional communication at a level far deeper than words, touch is a vital aspect of experiencing meaning, purpose and joy throughout our lives.”—Michael C. Changaris, PsyD,Touch

Touch is a fundamental sense, and one of the earliest ways to relate to self, others and the environment. It is a vital aspect of human experience as well as a form of communication which can contribute to a deep feeling of togetherness, connection, care and love.

The importance of touch does not decrease with age, yet in the US adults touch each other far less than in many other cultures. It is unfortunate that our relationship to touch has become so fraught. Meanwhile, the therapeutic effects of healthy, appropriate touch have been scientifically and clinically proven.

Michele L. Kong, CPC, SEP, LP uses somatically-attuned therapeutic touch to support clients in finding greater ease and relief from constriction, pain and other symptoms as a result of trauma and chronic stress held in the body.

While seated and talking, I might ask you to place a hand on your forehead or abdomen, for example, as a form of self-touch (when appropriate and only with willingness). In certain moments of upset, I may ask to sit next to you and offer support with my hand on your back. And similar to bodywork settings, I keep a table in my office where sometimes clients lie down. Though we may not move to these places immediately, they are directions I may explore in time.

When clinically relevant, I use intentional, attuned therapeutic touch to support the release of tensions and constriction patterns in the body. Gentle supportive touch combined with verbal dialogue increases interoceptive awareness and aids in processing beliefs, memories, emotions etc. In addition, touch supports movements and impulses to reach natural completion on many levels: cellular, energetic, muscular, systemic, psychological and more. The therapeutic hands-on contact can be profoundly healing for many, and particularly for those who experienced adverse events at an early age.

For anyone exposed to chronic stress at an early age, treating medical/health issues in isolation is not enough. Addressing the root cause—trauma and the stress response is fundamental.


Clients who suffer from certain conditions are often drawn to bodywork recognizing that touch can be relieving. However, ordinary bodywork can sometimes be problematic especially for those who have experienced trauma of various forms. Unfortunately, not all practitioners are trauma-informed. Tension patterns and other adaptive management strategies, often developed as protective responses, which remain in place and can contribute to chronic ailments such as:

When the stress physiology from traumatic events remains unaddressed, the body attempts to manage in whatever ways possible leading to dysfunction, symptoms and complex conditions that can become exacerbated over time. Often addressing the underlying trauma will bring relief and alleviate symptoms. I pursue ongoing advanced training with Senior SE™ Faculty Kathy L. Kain, PhD who over the course of thirty years developed methods specifically for touching trauma held in the body. Influenced by numerous approaches including Body-Mind Centering®, lymphatic drainage, motor sensory integration, neurobiology, Ortho-Bionomy®, osteopathy, somatic psychology and more, combined with the trauma-focused approach of Somatic Experiencing®, this trauma-informed touch is a gentle way to resolve and release the effects of stress bound in the body. Unlike other forms of bodywork where the client is often passive, this is a collaborative process where practitioner and client are actively in conversation both verbally and somatically.

Rather than working to release muscles and tightness from the outside in, this gentle, therapeutic method of touch invites relief from the inside out.

Touch used in this way increases somatic awareness and greater connection with oneself. It is also an effective way to release shock and trauma from the physiology and invite the body’s intrinsic healing capacities to be restored. Facilitating the body’s organismic directive towards health provides deep, lasting and life-changing transformation.

“…healing implies that something is wrong that needs to be right. Here, the word is used more to point towards a need for sacred attention and intention. In this work, healing is about remembering who we are and what we deeply know.”—Ruth King, MA, Healing Rage


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