Learn About Our Method of Somatic and Trauma Informed Coaching

Our Approach: Holistic vs Mental Health

We are not mental health practitioners, we are nervous system specialists.

We believe the mind and body are very much connected and communicating with each other and should not be treated in an isolated manner, but a holistic approach, taking into account both the mind and body. It’s very different than psychotherapy because they most often only use a top-down approach (because the cognitive brain is their wheelhouse, and ours is your physiology and nervous system and the subsequent impact on the brain). We go into detail on this in our main programs page referring to the 3 phases of healing.

We focus on bringing your nervous system into regulation, because your nervous system is where the trauma is stuck and stored. It is what is creating the reflexive behaviors that make you feel stuck in cycles where you logically know what’s wrong but can’t seem to change anything. It is also what is driving the thoughts and beliefs that make up your mental health.

Most everyone we work with has been in traditional talk therapy, counseling or coaching before… and didn’t see the results they were hoping for.

The reason for this is likely because those modalities are not trauma informed or effective for healing trauma. They are primarily focused on working with the cognitive part of your brain (your beliefs) and/or changing your behavior, without discovering and healing the root cause.

Discover how we're different

In the communication between your brain and body, your body is taking up 80% of the conversation.


Did you know that 80% of the information exchanged between the brain and body comes from the body ➡️ to the brain?

So when you’re working with the cortex, i.e. beliefs, you’re only working with 20% of the “problem”.

Body 80% - Brain 20%

A “top down” approach only works with 20% of the problem.

Traditional talk therapy, counseling and traditional life coaching are referred to as a “top down” approach or modality. They are attempting to work with the cognitive brain (think willpower, changing your beliefs, talking about your past, etc) to change behaviors or get the desired result. This has a place and can be beneficial, as long as your cognitive brain (neocortex) is online. But it’s not always effective, because it’s only working with 20% of the problem and because the cognitive brain is "offline" when we are triggered.

The moment our nervous system feels unsafe (ie we are "triggered") our "survival brain" (Reptilian brain) takes over and begins running the show. This is when "top-down" approaches lose their efficacy–it doesn't matter what your cognitive brain KNOWS. Our survival brain will override it every time.

Working with the body/nervous system/subcortical (below cortex/conscious thinking) brain are considered a “bottom up” approach, because we’re working directly with the 80% that’s activating those undesired behaviors. You can think of it as working with your subconscious.

To keep it simple (it’s much more complex than this), the brain is made up of 3 key regions:

  1. Survival/Reptilian/Primal
  2. Limbic/Mammalian/Emotional
  3. Neocortex/Primate/Logic & Reasoning
Reptilian brain  - fight or flight, primal instincts and reflexes, vital bodily functions (breathing, digestion, sleep) - Brain Stem & cerebellum
Mammal Brain - Emotions and memories - Limbic system
Human Brain - Language, abstract thought, imagination, consciousness - Neocortex

Willpower is no match for survival instincts.

Traditional talk therapy, counseling and coaching are all targeting the Neocortex (where logic, reasoning, analytics, cognition, beliefs, communication, language and perception are stored) to change your behavior in order to get you the desired result.

You can make some great progress working with this part of the brain, which typically looks like trying to change your beliefs and therefore your behaviors with willpower.

However, willpower is no match for our survival instincts.

This part of your brain (neocortex) is completely offline anytime you experience trauma, or when your body is reminded of past trauma, for example, when you’re triggered.

During trauma, your body, nervous system and brain are too overwhelmed and flooded to make sense of what is happening.

Working with the body/nervous system/survival brain is considered a “bottom up” approach, because we’re working directly with the 80% that’s activating those undesired behaviors.

Healing - Awareness, Tools, Connection, Understanding

Trauma creates reflexive and protective response patterns

In those "unsafe" moments your survival/reptilian brain is calling the shots based on primal instincts (think fight, flight, freeze or shutdown). It’s not until your body senses that the event is over and you are back to safety that it will bring the cortex back online to make meaning (create a belief) about what happened.

So if you’re trying to change reflexive, instinctual responses and behaviors (like anxiety, over analyzing, hypervigilance, people pleasing, procrastination, overreaction, defensiveness, etc.) you’re going to want to work directly with the Reptilian brain and body/nervous system.

Ready to start healing?

Our Unique Approach

In our practice, we use a combination of “top down” and “bottom up” approaches, resulting in lasting change and transformation. We prioritize working with the nervous system through a modality called Somatic Experiencing® which emphasizes the body.

If you’ve tried life coaching or talk therapy and didn’t get the results you wanted, our program may be just what you’re missing.

Learn more about our programs

We are on a mission to help highly resilient and ambitious women just like you feel empowered to heal from past pain and traumas.

Meet our team

Our Training & Education

Experiencing trauma alone is not enough to help other people navigate and heal from theirs. Rest assured, we have all had extensive training in our approaches. 

You can view practitioner resumes on our Meet the Team page

Cortney is listed in the directory of Somatic Experiencing Practitioners (SEP) at traumahealing.org and she not only has her Somatic Experiencing Practitioner Certificate that requires an extensive 3 years of training, but is also a Somatic Experiencing Assistant to Trainings at the Institute.

All of our practitioners are actively under the training and education of the Somatic Experiencing Institute at traumahealing.org. We also all have extensive training in other trauma informed modalities such as Somatic Attachment, Internal Family Systems and Polyvagal Theory.

We are different, but very much still trained, educated and credible in our approach… but what makes us even more credible, in our opinion, is that all of our practitioners have endured significant complex trauma and overcome it. So yes, we have lived experience of the pain, but more importantly the healing and training required for us to be well equipped to help you navigate yours safely and effectively. Our coaching practice has also been open since 2019 helping 100s of women (and men) to heal and have testimonies as evidence of that.

View testimonials here

Do you take insurance?

Additionally, the reason that insurance won't cover our services is because we have a trauma-informed approach which means we believe the basis of our client's symptoms are a result of unresolved trauma which creates a dysregulated nervous system. We believe (and there's lots of scientific based evidence to prove) that once you heal the unresolved trauma bound in the nervous system and body (your physiology), the symptoms (like anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc) will subside. We have 100s of client testimonials that would agree. Therefore we do not believe in the Diagnostic model of the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the authoritative basis for mental health disorders and the basis of the pyschotherapy model). We believe all "disorders" are actually symptoms of dysregulation. We do not believe our clients are broken or disordered. We believe their nervous system and physiology is operating exactly as it was designed to in the presence of a perceived threat. Unfortunately, insurance's policy is to bill based on a diagnosis (because they are unfortunately not educated on trauma either).

The unfortunate truth is that the traditional higher education system is very slow in integrating the latest science-based trauma research that informs our approach. Many of our clients are actually pyschotherapists themselves because they themselves don't have the training we do and personally want the results that our clients obtain.

See what people are saying

FAQs about Somatic Experiencing

Body 80% - Brain 20%

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