Somatic experiencing is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. It is based on the understanding that animals in the wild, though routinely threatened, are rarely traumatized. These animals have built-in mechanisms that allow them to release high amounts of energy after they are chased, injured or nearly killed and then to return to normal. The same regulatory process exists within human animals. SE is a system of techniques that support people to access this process that aids in recovery from traumatic events.
Although humans have virtually the same instinctive self-regulating mechanisms as animals, we often inhibit these processes out of embarrassment or shame, decreasing our own capacity to heal. When we fail to discharge the high levels of arousal associated with survival these massive energies stay trapped in our neuromuscular and central nervous system. It is this trapped energy that develops into a whole constellation of post-traumatic symptoms including pain, anxiety, anger, depression, intrusive thoughts and imagery, and cognitive impairments. Somatic Experiencing provides the steps needed to reconnect individuals with the innate wisdom of their bodies. This approach uses education about and awareness of your body sensations as a primary tool.
SE is based on 40 years of research and experience by Dr. Peter Levine.
Here's a helpful video to explore:
Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma: An Introduction to Somatic Experiencing
What to expect
During your SE session you will be guided and encouraged to focus your awareness on your bodily sensations to discover your innate self-regulation and healing.
At times; if appropriate and agreed upon by you and I; we can use touch to guide, support and contain your experience of your body. This allows for co-regulation of our nervous systems and releases in your muscles, bones, tissue and organs.
I've had experience using touch with adults, children, newborn babies-in working with birth trauma and other types of trauma- and animals- including horses.
Who would benefit from SE?
SE can benefit anyone who has experienced something overwhelming.
- Adults with a history of childhood abuse
- Assault and/or emotional, psychological and sexual abuse
- Developmental trauma
- Birth trauma
- Long periods of immobility due to injury or casting
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Injury due to many causes including falls
- Major overwhelming life changes
- Preparation for and recovery from surgical procedures
- Dental procedures
- Military experience and exposure to natural disasters
- Generational trauma