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What is Somatic Experiencing? with Dr. Michelle Kole

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By Sofia Health Staff on November, 22 2023
What is somatic experiencing? with Dr. Michelle Kole

In this episode of Sofia Unfiltered, Riley introduces us to Dr. Michelle Kole, a Clinical Psychologist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with over 20 years of experience and our newest co-host 

Dr. Michelle Kole's Path to Psychology

Dr. Michelle Kole embarked on her path to psychology with a twisty journey, shaped by her childhood caregiving tendencies and a pivotal class in abnormal child and adolescent psychology. Inspired by Dr. Michael Palmer's empathetic approach to therapy, she switched her major to psychology, eventually finding her heart open as she connected with clients during her grad school years. She worked with various populations and developed a passion for her work but recognized her anxiety and burnout due to her empathetic nature and lack of self-care practices in her 30s. This realization marked a turning point in her journey towards a more holistic approach to mental health.

Somatic Experiencing and Self-Discovery

Dr. Michelle described her experiences of working with people in extreme situations, which left her feeling the trauma in her nervous system. In her early 30s, she discovered mindfulness meditation, which allowed her to experience deep inner peace, gain greater emotional resilience, and access space between stimulus and response, enabling her to make more conscious choices.

She also stumbled upon somatic experiencing (SE) during a neuroscience conference, a body-based therapy approach developed by Peter Levine. SE focuses on the body's wisdom and sensations, often conveying valuable information overlooked in traditional psychotherapy. Michelle highlighted that SE helped her recognize and work through her relational traumas and trust other people to support her, transforming her from a self-reliant island into a more interconnected individual. She explained that SE involves slow, methodical processes, such as reworking memories and releasing stored tension, ultimately leading to a sense of expansiveness and greater life force energy.

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Somatic Experiencing vs Neuro Linguistic Programming

They discuss the difference between somatic experiencing (SE) and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) when it comes to addressing unresolved trauma. Dr. Kole explains that SE is a body-based therapy method that focuses on using the whole body, involving physical practices and techniques to work through trauma. In contrast, NLP primarily revolves around using language and the mind for healing. Dr. Kole shares her journey of discovering the benefits of SE and the transformation it brought to her life.

They also delve into the reasons why people seek therapy and the value of preventative mental health care. Dr. Kole emphasizes the importance of offering individuals a safe and compassionate space to explore their emotions and experiences in therapy, facilitating healing and personal growth.

The Three Pillars of Well-Being

Dr. Michelle Kole discusses various ways to promote good mental health. She emphasizes the importance of practices such as meditation, proper sleep, and mindfulness of what we ingest, not just in terms of food, but also through sensory experiences like social media and the environment. They highlight the value of these practices for overall well-being and resilience. Dr. Kole also mentions the need for self-compassion and the significance of proper meditation instruction. The conversation concludes with Dr. Kole sharing three fundamental pillars contributing to her well-being: sleep, meditation, and an anti-inflammatory diet with adequate hydration.

More from Sofia Health

Check out the full episode of the Sofia Unfiltered podcast, "Sofia Unfiltered's New Cohost: Dr. Michelle Kole", available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Disclaimer: The Sofia Unfiltered Podcast by Sofia Health is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional healthcare services, including the giving of medical advice. No doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have. For any health concerns, users should seek the assistance of their healthcare professionals.

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