"Trauma is a fact of life. It doesn´t have to be a life sentence." Peter Levine
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-centered therapeutic method for healing from traumatic or overwhelming life situations and chronic stress. Deepening its roots in neurobiology, SE works with the physiology of the autonomic nervous system.
It is the life's work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, resulting from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application.
Trauma, also referred to as Accumulated Stress, is often the result of an overwhelming event that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions and sensations involved with that experience.
Trauma involves a dysregulation of the nervous system. The traumatic impact lies not in the event, but in the nervous system.
Our instinctual flight and fight mechanisms, charged by our nervous system during the event, are not able to complete and discharge the energies involved. These energies become thwarted and held up in the nervous system. This often results in feeling stuck in flight, fight or freeze.
The energy fixations in the system cause an array of symptoms, patterns or cycles that continue to repeat themselves within our lives, continuously attempting to complete and discharge.
How does it work?
The aim is to access the body memory of the traumatic event, not the story. This serves to gradually reset the nervous system, restore inner balance and enhance resilience to stress.
Somatic Experiencing® facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body. The SE method employs the awareness of body sensation to help the nervous system to renegotiate and move out of fixated physiological states and traumatic shock; with a specific focus on emotional regulation, arousal modulation, and the biological discharge, release and completion of self-protective responses (orienting/ fight/ flight/ freeze).
Therefore, SE helps transform difficult situations into experiences that allow us to increase our capacity to live.
As a result, SE helps to transform difficult situations into experiences that allow us to enhance our capacity to live.
SE approach: body focused awareness