Somatic Experiencing or SE is a naturalistic approach to resolution and healing of trauma. It is based on observing wild animals. Though they are threatened routinely, they rarely suffer from insomnia or irritable bowel or odd pain patterns like we humans often experience after overwhelming stress.
Human beings have this same capacity to restore balance — but we tend to over ride our animal instincts with our more developed and rational neo-cortex. SE helps us access our true animal nature, making use of these same innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge high levels of arousal associated with defense and survival.
SE helps people access their body’s inherent, hard-wired movement toward self-regulation.
- SE employs awareness of body sensations to help people “renegotiate” rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
- SE’s focus on the bodily “felt sense” allows the high levels of arousal experienced with a threat to our survival to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
- SE may employ touch to support de-activation of a brace or collapse response stored in various body tissues after trauma.
- SE “titrates” or breaks down our trauma narrative into small, incremental steps, rather than evoking catharsis—which can overwhelm our regulatory mechanisms.
Somatic Experiencing was developed by Peter Levine, PhD. For more information, go to http://www.traumahealing.com; or read:
In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Levine, Peter A. and Kline, Maggie.
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity To Transform Overwhelming Experience. Levine, Peter A.
Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body. Levine, Peter A.
Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing. Levine, Peter A., Kline, Maggie.