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Somatic Experiencing: The Body Remembers

  • 02/17/2023
  • 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Retreat Behavioral Health, 4020 Lake Worth Road, Palm Springs, FL 33461

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Somatic Experiencing:  The Body Remembers

Vassilia Binensztok, PhD, LMHC, NCC

Traditional trauma therapy models have come up short in providing timely and lasting results, particularly in the case of complex trauma. We now know this is because traditional methods, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, rely on a “top down” approach – retelling and analyzing the trauma story and prescribing new behaviors.  Unfortunately, this can leave clients feeling re-traumatized, like they are reliving the trauma, and defeated when they struggle to implement behavioral changes. New research shows us that trauma is stored in body memory – as traumatic events trigger fight or flight nervous system responses, these experiences rewire the nervous system so that it reacts as though the trauma is continually occurring. Somatic Experiencing employs a “bottom up” approach, starting by addressing the body and nervous system patterns.  Rooted in Polyvagal Theory, Somatic Experiencing helps clients get out of chronic fight or flight states and repattern their nervous systems to experience more calm, joy, and connection.  These interventions also increase the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral interventions, as clients are better able to employ those techniques from a regulated nervous system. This presentation will cover the basics of Polyvagal Theory and Somatic Experiencing, and demonstrate techniques that are useful for working with clients  recovering  from  trauma.

 Learning Objectives:

1.      Articulate the theoretical basis for Polyvagal theory and Somatic Experiencing.
2.      Describe the four nervous system responses and how they affect daily functioning.
3.      Explain Somatic Experiencing techniques and how to incorporate them into talk therapy.

2.0 CEU Hours 

Dr. Vassilia Binensztok is a licensed and board certified mental health counselor in private practice in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Her practice, Juno Counseling and Wellness, employs several other therapists and offers a holistic approach to mental health.

Dr. Binensztok holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University, and a Doctorate degree from Florida Atlantic University, as well as numerous certifications in trauma therapy, family therapy, and forensic evaluation. Dr. Binensztok is the author of several academic publications on therapeutic assessment and interventions, most recently releasing a textbook training clinicians to evaluate risk for child maltreatment in multicultural settings. As a therapist, researcher, and professor, she is an expert in anxiety, trauma, and relationships.

Dr. Binensztok is passionate about helping the local community, particularly underprivileged youth.  She serves on the Board of Directors and development committee for Vita Nova, a local nonprofit that helps keep youth out of homelessness. On her free time, Dr. Binensztok enjoys trying new things, traveling, arts and culture, and meditation.

Dr. Vassilia Binensztok is a licensed and board certified mental health counselor in private practice in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.  Additionally, Dr. Binensztok teaches graduate level counseling courses at Florida Atlantic University and Northwestern University.  Dr. Binensztok is the author of several academic publications on therapeutic assessment and interventions. As a therapist, researcher, and professor, she is an expert in anxiety, trauma, and relationships.


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