What is Somatic Experiencing®?

The Somatic Experiencing® method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. 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. The SE™ approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. It offers a framework for finding where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states.

The Somatic Experiencing® approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions. Advanced applications of this method of resolving trauma reactivity may include therapeutic touch and regulation via somatic supports and relational attachment repair.

Infographic provided by Somatic Experiencing International, Traumahealing.org/scope

Dr. Peter Levine on Trauma

Dr. Peter Levine reports, “No one can heal effectively and efficiently from emotional, physical or spiritual pain and suffering without involving the body.” Dr. Levine teaches that trauma is not in the event that took place, but in how un-discharged “fight, flight, and freeze” threat-responses were activated during that event, and then stored within the nervous system. The holding of this powerful energy, unexpressed, is what creates the array of symptoms associated with complex trauma and/or PTSD.

Even though clients have a strong need to tell someone the story of what happened, just telling the “Story,” does not change it. What seems to happen is that we continue needing to “tell” the story over and over again, often getting “stuck in the loop” without shifting the impact that it has had on us. I am committed to an integrated body-centered approach to treatment. This heals the roots of trauma and integrates the mind and body’s reactive patterning.

Learn More About Somatic Experiencing Through These Videos

Video Interview with Kathy Kain, (senior faculty for Somatic Experiencing)

Video Interview with Dr. Peter Levine on Somatic Experiencing

The Polyvagal Theory: The New Science of Safety and Trauma

Healing Trauma and Spiritual Growth: Peter Levine & Thomas Huebl