THE SILVER TOUCH
-By Dawn Alexander
Have you ever watched Friends? If you have you’ll remember that on going joke the group had where they really didn’t know what was Chandler’s job exactly. We all have that Chandler in our life. We have some clue what that friend does but we can never really quite explain it with certainly. My Chandler Bing is Jessica Silver. A long time close friend whose career I always had an interest in but never quite had a firm grasp at explaining so I sat her down to get clarity once and for all. Are you intrigued yet? Let’s get into it.
Jessica Silver currently lives In Malibu California where she anticipates her new at home practice as, what she calls, a Somatic therapist, will be up and running in the new year. Somatic, as Jessica describes, is therapy that isn’t just talking, it’s paying attention to how the body is responding to situations. “It’s body based therapy, it’s all about connecting your body’s experience and your mind’s experience rather than just focusing on your thoughts only”, Jessica explains.
She started as a therapist over 10 years ago, focusing on Gestalt therapy where the primary focus is traumas such as PTSD and more of a psychotherapeutic method focusing mostly on the present. She has her masters in Behavioral Sciences for clinical Psychology but she was more inspired by deeper methods.
She felt there had to be something more beyond Gestalt, . Within herself she wasn’t feeling as connected to her body as she would like so surely others were feeling the same void . During her time in her masters program she had learned how trauma can be held in the body and therefore must also be released by the body, naturally she wondered if this was happening to her personally as well. Coming from a religious background where one focuses on the disconnection of the physical from the spiritual body she felt internal conflict. “Why would I own this, this isn’t mine..” She explains, “The way that I related to my body was that this is a temporary shell and that who you are really is your spirit.” Despite this she still knew she needed to proceed with seeking some sort of body centered treatment. The typical practices of what we all think of as ‘body work’, especially as anyone living in LA, came to mind such as yoga, massage and acupuncture and all of those “get to know your body” type trends we’re so familiar with. These were all fine but fortunately she came across the Skirball Center where an introduction to Peter Levine, who created Somatic Experiencing working with vets specifically, would really change everything for her.
Levine was working with vets coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq who had experienced and witnessed traumatic events. They would come back with symptoms that standard western medicine would label and prescribe pharmecuticals for but wouldn’t exactly cure them.
“Western medicine is the brain up and eastern medicine is usually more of the body but holistic is when everything, your whole being is considered.”-Jessica Silver
“This one guy came back and he was misdiagnosed by his western doctor with turrets, it wasn’t”, Jessica says explaing a misdiagnosis that Peter Levine corrected. “He was in this tank and the enemy threw a grenade and he ran out of his tank and he took the grenade and he threw it back but the grenade blew up halfway and he turned as a response and he came back from war like that, stuck.” He was stuck in this twitch or tick but Peter Levine was convinced he was just stuck in that moment and he successfully helped the man through it. This sort of healing can go as far back as treating traumas experienced while in utero. Jessica was amazed by Levine and the results he was getting with his method. “Im sold!”, Jess explains on finding something she connected with, “This is what I’ve been looking for.”
Finding what you want to is just one step. How do you even go about shifting from more of a mental therapist to adding body work? She was recommended to see a woman named Raquel at a studio that taught the Grinberg Method. This animated and personable Israeli woman gets right to the point with Jessica upon meeting. “When did you learn you had to put on a face that everything was ok?” was the first thing Raquel asked Jessica. She started to cry immediately. “You see me!” Jessica laughs at remembering her reaction to the blunt and straight to the point introduction to The Grinberg Method. Beyond the mental there was of course the physical and Raquel showed her where she was holding her personal fears and past traumas. She was first hand experiencing that connection she believed we all have.
Having her background as a therapist and her enthusiasm in this method Raquel suggested Jessica take the Grinberg method training taking place in Germany in October of 2013 through 2016 which she committed to for the next 3 years. “It was 20 people from all around the world, There’s students from Israel, Germany, Amsterdam.”, Jessica describes the courses, “It was an 8 day program, a combination of lecture and exercises that we would be lead through and they would teach us a technique and we would pair off and practice on one another.”
Jessica later found more methods that resonated with her such as Pantarei that focus on the strengths and qualities that are specific to individuals. “Most of the time those strengths are connected to a time of your life where you needed to learn to get by.” She explains, “Usually they come from a darker time in your life where you needed to cope with something or get through something.” Having dealt with her own childhood issues in her family and learning at a young age how to read the mood of the room quickly, she learned to use this to her advantage in a positive light. “This is a gift I have, I learned I don’t need to check out everyone to make sure I’m safe or what’s there motive.”
Through all of these methods we can now travel back to the now where Jessica finds herself today. Where we get Somatic Therapy from her. Since we live in a cynical world where the idea of practicing methods that don’t yeild some expensive certification or liscence handed out by a panal of people appointed to be the heads of its practice Jessica does still practice what is referred to as talk therapy but her hands on approach in Somatic therapy is blooming and noone is ‘owning’ it, which is a good thing.
One of Jessica’s proudest success stories was from a woman who was having difficulty getting pregnant due to ovarian cysts. Jessica got to know her mentally but also put her hands on her and helped her work on the physical tension she was keeping in her lower belly. A lot of fear and past feelings would come up so through the physical touch and working out the details by talking she was able to to help heal her. Jessica suggest that the woman get her cysts measured at the beginning so that they could monitor results. 6 months later they were gone and she got pregnant. Jessica remembers saying to herself, “This works!”
“You know when you’re doing something you feel alive and you feel like you’re in your flow…Thats optimal living. So it’s helping people find how to get back in your flow because trauma is when we stop our flow.”-Jessica Silver
I asked Jessica, what kind of people should come see you? Her reply was anyone really. “A lot of people say ‘ever since my divorce, ever since this car accident, ever since I got sick with anything…I was something then something happened and I’ve never been the same’”. Seems we all have things to talk about, get off of our chest or have a desire to better ourselves. We don’t always have to have obvious deep traumas to heal and feel better and Jessica further convinced me of that. “I would reccommend myself to anyone who is looking to grow in a certain area, if they have anxiety, depression or they want to learn how to be a better partner or a friend.” Says Jessica. Somatic therapy is beneficial for all walks of life, maybe you just feel stuck in your own sort of tick. This is a method to get people unstuck and beyond a rut and onto personal growth.
To learn more about Jessica Silver and Somatic therapy contact her, make an appointment or recommend her today. firstname.lastname@example.org