A-Z Teen Health Glossary

What the significant recent progress within the mental health field continues to show us is that the findings within science and treatment are continuing to point toward holistic, interdisciplinary work that connects the human mind, body, mood, and spirit.  Though in times past, researchers and clinicians may have tended toward dividing up the human experience into different segments, such as the physical, mental, and emotional realms, research now shows that the best way we can provide successful mental health treatment is to consider and treat the whole person.


At Paradigm, we take this holistic-minded approach to mental health Teen Treatment very seriously, which is why we’re committed to evaluating and addressing teens’ struggles from every possible angle, including nutrition, physical activity, emotional triggers, physiological stressors, past trauma, and more.  Because of this, we’re very fond of treatment approaches that foster and address these natural existing connections, present in teens’ lives.  Teen Somatic Experiencing is one such treatment.


Teen Somatic Experiencing is referred to as a “psychobiological method” for treating trauma and severe or chronic stress, as it may be related to any number of different Mental Health conditions.  The treatment begins by evaluating where teens are stuck in the flight, fright, or freeze state.  This state, which is most commonly discussed as the adrenaline-triggered “Flight or Fright mode,” causes physical, mental, and emotional reactions, triggered because of traumatic incident or excessive stress. Ideally this state is only meant to be induced and experienced for short bursts of time (say, for example, when you’re away running from a bear); however, chronic stress and/or trauma can cause teens to be in this sustained state over a prolonged period of time, causing negative symptoms and ramifications on all levels.  The connections between these symptoms are somewhat cyclical. For example, over time, the adrenaline stress hormones secreted eventually decrease because of over-use, which can cause imbalances in other hormones, which can then result in increased stress, which can lead to negative physical health symptoms, such as raised blood pressure and headaches, not to mention feelings of anxiety and Depression.  Some of the stressors that may cause this sort of prolonged state of intense stress include, but are not limited to: invasive medical procedures; some sort of physical or emotional trauma; neglect; natural disaster; loss; or ongoing fear.


Teen Somatic Experiencing recognizes that this Fright or Flight state is supposed to naturally resolve itself in humans, just the way it does in animals.  Therefore, assuming that there must be some reason why the body cannot recover, Teen Somatic Experiencing treats teens by locating and treating the places in the body where stress is being stored, which is “blocking” the teen from being able to recover from the trauma and return to a more normal level.  Teen Somatic Experiencing does this through a gentle, non-invasive treatment that slowly teaches teens to increase tolerance to specific uncomfortable sensations and suppressed emotions.  By teens slowly working through such difficult topics and gradually gaining a sense of ease with which they can deal with these challenges, their stress responses (including stress hormones and nervous system) will begin to calm as well, thereby helping them to escape their flight, fright, or freeze state in which they’ve become stuck.  In a sense, Teen Somatic Experiencing addresses negative mental symptoms such as chronic stress, anxiety, Depression, and other symptoms, by addressing the blockages in the body that have been caused by this stress.  Somatic Experiencing has been shown to be an extremely successful treatment technique, used regularly for PTSD symptoms and other stress-related conditions.  We offer Teen Somatic Experiencing at Paradigm Malibu in combination with our other traditional and Experimental therapy approaches.