Addressing the Implicit Impacts of Sexual Trauma: An Exploration of Somatic Experiencing as an Adjunct to Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy
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Sexual trauma is a life-altering violation with persistent, long term implications for survivors. Trauma can produce distinctive impacts on individuals, and therapeutic approaches that offer healing to some, may not be effective for others, particularly when the memories of trauma are implicit and are not easily treated through evidence-based therapeutic methods. The purpose of this capstone is to explore the literature on Somatic Experiencing and psilocybin-assisted therapy for treating sexual trauma, and propose a mixed method study to investigate posttraumatic growth experience in trauma surviving clients. Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-focused therapeutic modality that uses the mind-body connection to explore and alleviate nervous system arousal following trauma by enabling survivors to become more attuned to their physiological responses and to regulate these responses more efficiently. Psilocybin is a serotonergic psychedelic compound found in over two-hundred species of mushrooms around the world. Current research has found that psilocybin produces a rapid reduction in symptoms of psychological distress, with positive treatment outcomes such as improved relationships with loved ones, renewed optimism, understanding life meaning and purpose, and acceptance persisting for several months following a single dosing session. Combining these approaches to access and process implicit memories may enable survivors to re-establish feelings of safety and connection, to reconstruct a positive self-concept, and encourage authentic posttraumatic growth.