Approaches and Therapies

Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Therapy

Somatic Experiencing® is a potent psychobiological method for resolving trauma symptoms and relieving chronic stress.
It resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience to stress, and increases people’s vitality, equanimity and capacity to actively engage in life.

Developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, a pioneering researcher and practitioner of trauma healing, author of Waking the Tiger, “trauma is about loss of connection – to ourselves, to our bodies, to our families, to others, and to the world around us.”


How does Somatic Experiencing Work

Somatic Experiencing® assists the body in releasing pent up emotional charges that became trapped in the nervous system as anxiety and hyper-arousal states. While animals in the wild discharge trauma by shaking it off, the human nervous system is not trained in this way. We can become like a car with the accelerator and the brakes applied simultaneously, leading to hyper-vigilance and fear. The work of Somatic Experiencing teaches us that trauma is not in the event, it is in our nervous system. In Somatic Experiencing we use inner resources, body sensations and slowing down the process to find balance and equilibrium in the nervous system. This supports healing and “renegotiates” the trauma instead of reliving it.

In Somatic Experiencing® sessions, clients are encouraged to tune into physical sensations, which creates the space for our bodies to reconnect with our innate healing response. This naturalistic process can resolve symptoms by gently discharging the high levels of nervous system arousal associated with trauma, and helping our bodies return to a more manageable level of functioning.

Somatic Experiencing® titrates traumatic material with highly resourced states while maintaining awareness of the bodily “felt sense”. It allows time and space for the highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.


For a more detailed explanation of the theory & practice of SE, please read this exquisite review “How Does SE Work?” by fellow Somatic Experiencing Practitioner Neil Winblad.
You can learn more about Somatic Experiencing® at Dr. Levine’s website and from the Somatic Experiencing Training Institute, which is the umbrella organization for worldwide SE training and outreach.
You may find further useful information on Somatic Experiencing® in these video clips:
Dr. Peter Levine – Trauma and the Nervous System
Dr. Peter Levine and Somatic Experiencing
Dr. Peter Levine on Sexual Trauma
Peter Levine on Sexual Abuse Trauma

This article from Psychology Today gives good insight of how Somatic Experiencing® can help to overcome trauma

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Henriette Politano

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