WHAT IS SOMATIC EXPERIENCING?
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a form of body (somatic) psychotherapy that was developed by Dr. Peter Levine. SE works with the body’s physiology to resolve trauma and restore resilience and balance to the nervous system. This can result in an alleviation of symptoms related to trauma such as depression, anxiety, chronic illness, sleep disturbance, etc.
Somatic Experiencing employs the awareness of body sensation to help people “renegotiate,” discharge, and heal their traumas rather than relive them repeatedly, or restrict their lives in order to not have the traumatic material re-triggered. With appropriate guidance into the body’s own innate capacity to heal trauma, the highly aroused survival energies (fight, flight, freeze) can be safely and gradually discharged.
HOW I WORK WITH SE:
I begin the SE process by finding resources within you, and in the environment, that will support your body in the process of discharging trauma. Once you are resourced, we touch into the activation and then come back to the resource, then continue back and forth in this way (titration and pendulation). In this way, the nervous system gradually discharges the traumatic stress and learns how to relax out of heightened arousal into a more calm, here-and-now presence.
I do SE both as a guided practice while you sit in a separate chair, and as a hands-on process on a mat or table. I find that hands-on work is especially helpful when there is early and pre-verbal trauma. I also sometimes combine SE with EMDR, which is also highly effective in resolving trauma and releasing old conditioning.
In addition, I work with SE in a transpersonal (spiritual) way by utilizing it as a way to be present with “what is,” which facilitates awakening of consciousness while releasing trauma and stress. This is the subject of my chapter in The Sacred Mirror titled “Healing Trauma in the Eternal Now.” (See ARTICLES page)
For more information on Somatic Experiencing, please visit www.traumahealing.com.
Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine, PhD
Transforming Trauma by Peter Levine, PhD
“Everything that is needed
for healing trauma
is provided by the innate
of our instinctual nature.”
- Lynn Marie