Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Somatic Experiencing™ (SE®) Practitioner
Registered Play Therapist / Supervisor
I help clients find their way through the chaotic symptoms
that occur in the aftermath of emotional distress and trauma.
What is Somatic Experiencing ™ ?
Somatic Experiencing, or SE® for short, is a method of releasing stress and trauma that gets “stuck” in the body. SE utilizes the latest research on the connection between the brain and the body. When we become stressed by an overwhelming life event, a traumatic incident, or a mentally tough situation, our brains tell our bodies to either run, fight, or freeze, otherwise known as flight / fight / freeze.
Dr. Peter Levine, the originator of Somatic Experiencing, has helped us to understand that we are not biologically designed to live in today's stress-filled society. In many ways, our brains have not evolved since prehistoric times, so our nervous systems react to overwhelming situations as if we were being chased by a saber-toothed tiger. During the stress of a traumatic event such as a car accident or physical or mental abuse, our brains tell our bodies to run, fight, or freeze. Even in the stress of a big test, sleeplessness, or just friends who are not being nice, our bodies go through a stress response similar to being chased in the wild. When the brain sends a message to run or fight, all the blood rushes from our brains to our extremities so we can escape danger. But since running or fighting doesn’t make logical sense to us, we stifle all of that energy, and it gets trapped inside the body. We know that trauma is physiological energy, a sort of cloud of trapped energy inside of us, that can cause all kinds of symptoms.
In this video, Candy explains how she uses Somatic Experiencing™ and Play Therapy to help a
child find resolution and relief
from bullying. A counselor's understanding of how these two therapy modalities work together is pivotal for guiding people through the chaotic symptoms that can occur in the aftermath of distress and trauma.
“I help my clients learn healthy ways to tap into and connect with their own natural ability to heal and grow.”
About Candy Smith
Candy earned her Masters Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling at California State University, Fullerton in 1993. She became a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in in 2001 and has continued to assist and provide SE sessions and consults. Candy is a PACT trained Marriage Therapist using Somatic Principles to help couples communicate and regulate. She also is just finishing a year of study with Deb Dana on becoming a Polyvagal informed Psychotherapist.
She specializes in working with adults, couples and parents to help them move through old patterns that are keeping them stuck and move into consciousness and flow. It is her goal to help all of her clients find their way back home to their own wisdom. To move clients towards mental health and wellness in a clear and concise way. She uses her love of learning, storytelling, insight and passion to help her clients find hope and healing.
Candy has almost 30 years of practice in psychotherapy and has a passion for integrating trauma work with mindfulness that helps her clients move through past traumas, understand how their ego states keep them stuck and move into the reality of their present lives. I believe if you choose to do this hard, courageous work your lives will transform and you will be able to live a balanced life with connection to your body, your emotions and your truth.
With empathic listening and compassion, Candy works gently without bias, judgment, or condemnation to help her clients move toward ease and wholeness.
Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.
is the originator and
developer of Somatic
Experiencing® and the
Director of The Somatic
Institute. He holds
doctorate degrees in
Medical Biophysics and in
Psychology. During his thirty five-year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific and popular publications.
Dr. Levine was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the Space Shuttle, and has taught at treatment centers, hospitals and pain clinics throughout the world, as well as at the Hopi Guidance Center in Arizona. He was a member of The Institute of World Affairs Task Force of “Psychologists for Social Responsibility” and served on the APA “Presidential Initiative on responding to large scale disasters and ethno-political warfare”. He is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows Trauma and Addiction Treatment Center in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Dr. Levine's best selling book, Waking the Tiger; Healing Trauma, is published in 20 languages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Somatic Experiencing™ ?
Somatic means “of the body.” SE® is a method of releasing stress and trauma that gets “stuck” in the body. When we become stressed by an overwhelming life event of some kind, our brains tell our bodies to either run, fight, or freeze. Since running or fighting doesn’t usually make sense to us, we stifle all of that energy, and it gets trapped inside the body. Under these conditions, Dr. Peter Levine’s research shows that a trauma event creates a physiological energy which, unless released, can cause problematic symptoms.
What is the goal of Somatic Experiencing?
The goal of Somatic Experiencing is to regulate the nervous system through the use of sensations, imagery behaviors, emotion and meaning. This method is designed to restore resilience and reconnect the body's inner wisdom, which moves naturally toward balance.
What is the cancellation, or missed appointment policy?
24 hour notice is required for all cancellations. Failure to cancel within that time frame results in a full session fee charge.
Do you take insurance?
No, but an invoice will be sent to you with everything you need to submit to your insurance company.
How much are sessions?
Rates are based on the length of the session:
50 minutes - $175
90 minutes - $250
120 minutes - $300
What are your hours?
Typically, Candy sees clients Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays in office or virtual and Tuesdays and Thursdays virtual only. My hours are 9am to 4pm central time. Occasionally, Saturday morning is available for those who have hectic work schedules. If you have a counseling emergency, please call Johnson County Mental Health Center at 913-831-2550, or the Crisis Line at 913-384-3535.
Are telephone or Zoom sessions available if I am not able to make an appointment in person?
Yes, Zoom sessions are available for all sessions. I am doing in person on Monday's, Wedensday's and Friday afternoons.
What is the work process?
As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and Polyvagal informed Psychotherapist, Candy practices psychotherapy that is on the leading edge of current research in the field of psychology. She takes a neurobiological approach to treating psychological distress and its manifestations.
Will I get better?
Most people report feeling hope after their first session and continue to shift toward healing and growth over time. Of course, therapy is a very individual process, and in partnership with Candy, close attention is paid to the shifts and changes in your sense of well being.
Do you work with couples?
Yes, Candy is a certified PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy )trained therapist, Level 2. Candy is enjoying integrating couples into her practice.
Links You May Find Interesting...
Leawood Fountain Plaza Offices
11111 Nall Ave.
Leawood, KS 66211
"Our understanding of traumatic stress shows us how it can literally change the brain’s wiring, specifically in the areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. Talk therapy can’t reset the limbic system, the part of the brain that creates a sense of helplessness and fear and keeps people agitated, frazzled, or shut down, but with Somatic Experiencing and Play Therapy, these areas of the brain can be reactivated, and people can reclaim their lives."
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Somatic Experiencing™ (SE®) Practitioner
Registered Play Therapist / Supervisor / Certified Yoga Teacher