Somatic Experience

Somatic Experiencing ®

Somatic Experiencing ® (SE) is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. Developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, SE is informed by his research in stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics. It is a holistic approach to reestablishing the natural flow between a mind and body that may have been fragmented by a traumatic experience or series of experiences.

SE differs from other therapeutic approaches in that, in addition to a consideration of the emotional and cognitive processes, it focuses on the physiological responses that occur when someone experiences or remembers an overwhelming or traumatic event.

During a session your therapist will:

  • Gently guide you to notice your physical sensations, making sure they never become too overwhelming.
  • Help you develop and employ self-regulating strategies, and teach you how to stabilize and ground yourself before working with any traumatic material.
  • Proceed slowly and carefully, utilizing various techniques that prevent re-traumatization.
  • Help you discover and identify interrupted or incomplete responses to past events and then re-negotiate the event.

SE is based on the belief that trauma doesn’t originate in the event but in the way the body responds to it. Therefore, the body holds the key to healing. When we focus on allowing those physiological responses to unfold, it will make room for the body to return organically to a state of balance, and restore a sense of wholeness.