WHAT IS WELLE BY JENNI HOUSTON
Welle by Jenni Houston is a unique, body-oriented approach to healing trauma and anxiety, releasing shame, building resiliency, and reconnecting with your true, vibrant self. Unprocessed trauma, stress, depression, and anxiety are all experienced in the body. Weaving together embodied movement, nervous system regulation + Polyvagal Theory education, and intuitive healing, I help you connect to, process, and release the unhealed trauma + anxiety that is holding you back and restore your system back to an organic level of functioning.
My method offers a personalized healing blueprint to assess where you are “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses (states). Understanding how your body responds to stress and how to somatically work with these sensations and responses, you are provided an opportunity to reshape your autonomic nervous system, master your stress physiology, build resilience, be in flow, and more fully engage in your life.
THE SCIENCE OF TRAUMA
Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the by-product of cumulative stress. Essentially, trauma is “anything that's too much, too soon, or too fast for our nervous system to handle, especially if we can't reach a successful resolution.” The trauma activates the survival mechanisms of fight, flight, or freeze. When these mechanisms stay “stuck on”, dysregulation occurs. This survival stress (leftover energy) gets trapped in our body → impairs our physiology → leading to dis-ease and chronic health issues. Trauma can result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, surgeries, sexual or physical assault, abuse, neglect, bullying, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.
THE IMPACT OF TRAUMATIC STRESS
Dr. Peter Levine, a world-renowned trauma expert, studied stress on the animal nervous system and realized that wild animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma. He discovered that trauma has to do with the survival response of perceived life threat, which is FREEZE. When fight and flight are no longer an option, animals will freeze, immobilize, and “play dead.” This response is meant to be short-lived. The energy used for the flight-fight-freeze reaction runs its course and is released through shaking and trembling. However, if the freeze phase doesn’t complete, then this energy stays trapped, and, from the body’s perspective, it is still under threat.
A survival response to a life threat remains sympathetic in arousal and energy but becomes trapped when the body becomes immobilized. The freeze survival response remains sympathetic until the physiological response is completed. If this trapped energy isn’t released, autonomic dysregulation occurs.
Dysregulation shows up in basically two extremes: stuck “on” and stuck “off.” “Stuck on” can manifest as anxiety, panic, hypervigilance, racing thoughts, sleeplessness, dissociation, attention deficit, OCD, emotional flooding, chronic pain, hostility/rage, etc. This is the sympathetic (fight/flight) branch of the nervous system, responsible for moving us out of danger. When trauma energy is unprocessed, the residual activation keeps a person stuck in a constant state of readiness and reactivity. This is the feeling that “something bad can happen at any moment.”
Being “stuck off” (freeze) shows up as depression, flat affect, lethargy, exhaustion, low impulse/motivation, chronic fatigue, dissociation, numbness, and low blood pressure. This is the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. In a healthy state of functioning, it is designed to bring the body back to rest and recovery after surges of sympathetic activity. When it becomes dysregulated, the system slows or shuts down too much, or “depresses” itself at the slightest trigger.
These “stuck” survival states are the body’s way of navigating unresolved energy. To move through these survival responses, turn off the threat alarm, and release the stored energy we need to access somatic and physiological resources, tools, and exercises and consciously implement them.
HOW IT WORKS
My method helps you understand how your body responds to stress and how to work with these sensations and survival responses. Working together, we help you slowly increase tolerance for uncomfortable bodily sensations and suppressed emotions, while facilitating the release of the trapped survival energy stuck in the body somatically. Using a bottom-up approach, Welle combines mindful movement, breathwork, inner core health, Polyvagal Theory fundamentals, somatic body-mind experiencing, and intuitive healing to help you befriend your nervous system and let go of anxiety, shame, and perfection.
You will learn take-home, practical, self-care tools to support you in your daily life allowing you to shift away from old survival patterns to experiencing life more grounded, safe, and present. Welle teaches you that safely going into the body and connecting with your physiological (felt) experience is the way to loosen the grip of your distressing symptoms. The way in is the way out - your symptoms are the key to healing your trauma.