What is S.E.A.®? – calming the seas inside

Somatic Emotional Acupressure (S.E.A.) uses a combination of muscle monitoring, acupressure, energy kinesiology, and energy rebalancing techniques to pinpoint and release specific pathways of emotional stress and trauma. S.E.A. specifically addresses the early moments of emotional overwhelm that may be causing loss of brain-body-emotional balance and coherence. S.E.A. was developed by Joy DelGiudice, CEnK2.

The S.E.A. practitioner tracks emotional stress and trauma through the physical, emotional, mental and energetic systems, moving through time and levels of consciousness, through the body and the brain, journeying on visceral and emotional currents to find the original repressed emotional charge. Finding the imprint moment means finding the first time the body/system had to survive a moment of overwhelming shock. To survive, it created a strategy. Until we can disconnect it, that survival strategy remains a functional part of our approach to life, triggered each time we encounter a situational experience that hits the same or similar energetic frequency of image, flavor, pitch, tone or volume.

S.E.A. allows the practitioner to connect with these unconscious survival strategies and release them deep in the unconscious system. If left unaddressed long enough, these survival strategies or patterns of resistance, may ultimately be expressed as pain, dysfunction and/or disease at one or multiple levels. We do not need the conscious memory or the details of the event itself to release the referencing charge that is still held within the nervous system. The system is allowed to retain its secrets, if needed, honoring the inherent wisdom within each of us.

Wherever there is fear within us there is a moment connected to it where we lost our power, or gave it up to survive. The moment we were overwhelmed is like an energetically frozen file left open on our desktop, still requiring and drawing energy even though we may be unaware of its existence. We lose energy, strength, and ultimately health due to our past, unfinished business. When another wounding event occurs, such as an accident or health issue, the somatic system may have little or no energy left in reserve and can lose its the ability to heal itself.

Closing the energetic files allows us to bring the distorted and distracted energy that has been routed into survival, back to our now, and we are able to live from a more centered and satisfying place, responding to our daily life, instead of responding from our remembered past.

What Happens in a Session?

Sessions are done face up on a massage table, fully clothed, removing only your shoes. Sessions are gentle, non-invasive, and involve light touch acupressure on top of clothing. During the session, the practitioner might use a tei-shin, which is a painless, spring-loaded acupressure tool. Adult sessions are an hour and a half, and children (less than 14) are an hour.

Your practitioner will invite you to tune in to the bits of somatic sensory information that come up from your body memory as it comes up, noticing energy movement and physical sensations. You may feel suddenly hot or cold as energy releases, you may feel electrical charges, or tightening of muscles or releases. You may feel movement of energy as well as autonomic responses such as changes in breathing, heart rate, pulse. As survival strategies are accessed and then released you may find yourself suddenly sleepy, dizzy, hungry, or any number of physical sensations, and noticing equally swiftly that it is gone as the old data is released. You will remain conscious and lucid, usually easily maintaining a relaxed state that deepens as your body releases old tensions and patterns.

Fragments of memory may or may not come up, feeling disjointed or random as if your mind is wandering, but you will begin to see the pattern that the system has constellated together. Because S.E.A. is working in the subtle energy and in somatic emotional frequencies, the ‘story’ is not important. The goal is to calm, release and clear the repressed energy and the survival strategies that no longer serve.

What Happens After a Session?

After the session, most feel surprisingly light and calm, more centered and present in their own body. You will want to do some light walking, drink water, and often will need a nap surprisingly quickly. The brain trims off what it no longer needs when we sleep, and sleep helps the system to more deeply integrate the work.

Physical shifts deepen over the next 24-48 hours, and some people report continuing to feel improvements for one to two weeks following deep work, giving us more response choices in our day-to-day life. What many people report is that when again faced with a situation that would have caused the old reactive response, it no longer does. We are able to choose how we wish to respond to our life.

Family constellations are fields of energy that can re-imprint old patterns without a deeper understanding and release. Often the best and most lasting work is when the parent is willing to also have sessions, removing resistance patterns between parent and child, allowing all to move forward into new behaviors and attitudes.

How Many Sessions Will It Take?

Most issues can be addressed with 2-4 sessions. The longer an issue has been with us however, the more complicated and intricate the compensation pathways, and the longer it will take to unwind and recode. The more intelligent the brain, the more intelligent and complicated the survival strategies may be. A lifelong response pattern may be more rigid, with a secondary gain in maintaining the pattern, so everyone is different.

Usually, it takes a number of sessions that build on each other. Most find this work so gentle and comfortable that children will ask their parents for more, and adults walk away pleasantly surprised, relaxed and calm.

Who Benefits from Sessions?

Children and adults with:

  • Birth trauma, early medical treatments, high fevers, accidents, drug allergies or negative responses.
  • School traumas from bullies, teachers, and/or peers.
  • Clashes with a parent or authority issues.
  • Adoptions, divorces, deaths.
  • Major life events that were not adequately understood in the moment.
  • Behaviors that appear to be self-sabotaging, running counter to what we want to do.
  • Sleep issues, nightmares, sleep cycle disturbances.
  • Behavior issues, anger issues, academic issues.
  • Any number of issues that appear to cause an emotional limitation to living life the way we want to.

S.E.A. is an appropriate therapy if you feel you could be happier, healthier or doing more than you are and don’t know what is stopping you.

How Do We Know It Works?

We know it is working by our reactions to the world. When we are able to move forward and do what was formerly stopping us we know it has worked. When we are living our lives instead of waiting to, we know it is working. When we are happy instead of sad, when we are curious instead of cautious, we know it is working. When we realize in the moment that we have a choice instead of the old reactive pattern, we know we are shifting and embracing more of our own truth.

Often parents, watching the shifts in their children, will schedule sessions for themselves, recognizing that it just might actually be possible to change the patterns of their own lives! Most of us vividly remember the teacher that terrified us, and the moments that dimmed our own light. And there are even more moments we have forgotten, but that still trigger in our unconscious and cause us to clench, flinch or recoil from responding to life in a positive manner.

The Premise Behind S.E.A.®

The vitally important guiding premise is that nothing is broken, but rather everything is working perfectly at some level, and for some important reason that we cannot fully understand from outside the system. We can know our conscious story very well, and still not find release or comfort, and conversely, we can have little to no memory and still be plagued by seemingly irrational physical reactions to life.

Much as we have discovered with chaos, no matter how chaotic and random it appears from observation, at the deepest levels there is indeed an implicit order. To find that ordering among the chaos, we have to address a different, deeper, level of self to discover the misunderstanding or misinterpretation we made in a moment of crisis.

Every part of us operates in a cooperative interplay of homeostasis-even when we are out of balance. In a compensated way, it’s all working perfectly, maintaining a state of balanced imbalance. The question is why? Why is our internal unconscious (implicit) operating system choosing to work harder and less efficiently instead of the usual more efficient way?

Often it’s not that we can’t do it differently, it’s that the system is choosing not to, and SEA® is concerned with that choice point in time. Going to that moment of choice and releasing the blocked energy of those moments, expands our ability to choose our present time response. When we change the misunderstanding, recode the experience at the visceral level, and release the repressed charge, our choices and responses become proactive. We become fuller participants in our current lives, instead of re-enacting, re-membering and re-sponding to the past as if it were now.

Explicit Memory vs. Implicit Memory

Explicit memory is the conscious memory system. It is made up of all that we consciously remember. Of all the billions of bits of sensory data that come into our systems every day, only about 10-15% is actually “remembered.” This is necessary. We couldn’t possibly keep track of all that data. We need to be able to sort for the most important data and forget the stuff that doesn’t matter. The explicit memory deletes, sorts and generalizes. It is our database for making flexible decisions based on previous experience and learning. The larger the data base, the better the informed decision. This is part of what gives us wisdom and good judgment. The explicit memory system is, therefore, inherently incomplete.

We delete, distort and generalize based on our filtering systems. These filters are like a filing system, and they tell our senses what to notice and file, and what to disregard. Our filters are gleaned from family patterns, genetic tendencies, ethnic and religious propensities, as well as, our own life experience.

In experiments tracking ‘change blindness’ for instance, psychologists have demonstrated that this sensory deletion process is active in all of us, and it explains why we can miss sensory data that is obviously right in front of us but not recorded, and why one person will remember certain details, and someone else will remember others. This selective memory is our explicit system. The Monkey Business Illusion, Color Changing Card Trick, and Person Swap are all fun examples of this.

Our explicit, or conscious memory, then, is designed to be incomplete, with a filtering system that has determined what is important for us to remember based on our needs and desires, as well as what is important for us not to remember such as traumatic or overwhelming moments or events.

The implicit, or unconscious memory is different. It is held deeply within us and is massive, storing everything we have ever experienced. As the explicit memory deletes, distorts and generalizes, the implicit memory is in constant record mode, recording all the bits of sensory data the brain/body system may need to reference at future date. It is a back up file in case we deleted something that, in hindsight, was important. The implicit system is part of our learned survival system, and it is unconsciously referenced in a constant flow of expanding fields of learning and experience that is life.

The implicit memory system also retains complete learning. It is there to aid in the performance of unconscious tasks such as walking, talking, breathing, driving a car, riding a bike or anything that we have done often enough that we no longer need to remember the details of how to do it.

Implicit memory also exquisitely records traumatic events in bits of sensory data. It also records the emotional response patterns we used to survive those moments. These emotional response patterns are survival strategies. Survival is our number one priority. Included in survival is also energy conservation. So, if there is a survival strategy in place that worked well one time, it will use it again. In the ever expanding internal efficiency survival effort, these established responses get hot wired for fast response, often exhibiting as full body alerts.

What Happens in a Moment of Overwhelm?

In the original moment of emotional overwhelm (trauma, startle, shock, etc.) the explicit system hits a pause button. We might become confused, distracted, sleepy, hungry or ill, which results in our being unable to fully and completely pay attention in the moment.

When the moment is over, the explicit memory comes back on, and we go on with what we were doing, having neatly cut and pasted our memory together, deleting and editing here and there, creating a survival strategy to calm us and return us to homeostasis.

When we are traumatized again our internal survival system will instantly search for a previously successful survival strategy. Hunting for a similar spike in our sensory survival memory, it will activate whatever survival strategy was used in that earlier moment, precisely because we survived it. From then on, any time it feels like the same, similar or close enough, the system will run the same survival strategy. The more times it runs the strategy, the more efficient it becomes. What is “wired together fires together,” and a neatly bound survival strategy becomes a learned response pattern triggered from the implicit memory.

However, a strategy we created when we were 4 years old, may not be the most efficient strategy for us anymore. This is precisely why we often feel younger when we are in survival mode. Consciously we only know that we are responding to life in a certain way and are confused by our own responses especially if we desire to move ourselves in the opposite direction. It feels like self-sabotage, but truly, it’s more closely akin to old programming that has never gotten uninstalled or updated. What was useful when we were young, has become confining and limiting.

The somatic survival system is holographic, meaning any fragment of the survival constellation may trigger the entire reactive response pattern. The emotional charge we experienced in the originating traumatic moment remains suppressed in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It is an astonishingly efficient system and can trigger in 8/10s of a second or less, far below the level of conscious comprehension. The deep somatic emotional survival response system does not have a sense of linear time. It does not sort data by the story. It only cares about the amplitude of the overwhelm, the emotional charge of the feelings, and about getting the system as a whole, back to homeostasis as quickly as possible.