SOMATIC EXPERIENCING

The THEORY is that humans possess  mechanisms identical to animals in that we have the instinctual capacity to heal.  These systems are often overridden by the rational mind, however.  This restraint leads to symptoms such as anxiety, pain, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.

SE normalizes the symptoms of trauma, which bind the arousal, and offers the steps needed to resolve the activation and heal the trauma.

The TECHNIQUE involves tracking of bodily sensation and establishing resources.  Through slow motion action by the body, SE allows the highly aroused survival energy to be safely discharged and gradually neutralized.

SE is a short term naturalistic APPROACH to the resolution of post traumatic stress reactions.  Peter Levine, SE’s creator states, “Trauma is an internal straitjacket created when a devastating moment is frozen in time.  It disconnects us from our selves, others, nature and spirit.”  By slowly discharging energy though action patterns, unregulated arousal, previously locked in the neuromuscular and central nervous systems, can be discharged and completed. 

The POSITIVE RESULTS are that the client develops an awareness of bodily sensations and is able to determine the slightest amount of activation.  The client learns to pay attention to the natural, instinctual tools of self regulation and healing.  These tools, enable the client to heal from past traumas and gives the client resources to prepare for future challenges. The client is in control of the SE process which insures client safety and helps to prevent retraumatization.  The therapist’s job is to provide trauma education, tools for containment, and to monitor activation.

 

Possible NEGATIVES to SE are that the therapist must be highly trained in both physiology and developmental and trauma specific psychology. This training is lengthy and expensive.  The therapist must learn and teach a new language; sensation.  The client must feel safe with the therapist in order to begin to explore body sensations.

SOMATIC EXPERIENCING (SE)
CREATOR:  PETER LEVINE, PHD
CONTACT:   FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN ENRICHMENT
P.O. BOX 1872
LYONS, CO. 80540

Kathy Bird 1998