Somatic Experiencing® (SE) offers a new and positive perspective of trauma.
Somatic Experiencing® is a powerful psychobiological method to resolve symptoms of trauma and discharge chronic stress.
With this method, it is possible to restore the nervous system, the body’s internal balance, improve resilience towards stress, increase vitality, equanimity and the person’s ability to actively participate in life.
Developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, Somatic Experiencing® is a short-term, naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma based on the observation of wild animals. This observation provides the knowledge that, although animals are routinely threatened, they are rarely traumatized. They use innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energetic excitation associated with survival behaviors.
Although we humans are born with the same regulatory mechanisms as wild animals (like any other mammal), the function of these innate systems can often be invalidated or inhibited, mainly because of the specific culture or society we live in.
Our tendency to force responses that contradict our instinct prevents the survival energy from being completely discharged. Such undressed energy can remain “blocked” in our body and in our nervous system, causing physical symptoms or emotional disorders.
By uniting the highest cerebral functions of the refined consciousness with the most primitive instincts, it is possible to “modulate” the trauma by incorporating the same “immunity” of the animals into ourselves.
Thanks to SE, trapped survival energies can be released and transformed, allowing us to return to a balanced state after going through overwhelming experiences such as fear, anger, impotence, loss, etc. that we are faced with when there’s an event that impact us.
In other words, we are able to restore and develop our innate and natural capacity to thrive after having experienced extreme events.
It is possible to transform the trauma and, in this way, be more fully human and return to the course of our own life.
What is Somatic Experiencing™ trauma resolution?
SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® (SE) psychobiological trauma resolution is a potent method for resolving trauma symptoms and relieving chronic stress. 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.
How does SE™ work?
SE is a biophysiological approach to healing trauma. Peter Levine has said that trauma does not rest in the event but in the individual’s nervous system.
By paying attention to the client’s nervous system, the trained therapist supports the client in their experience of a more ‘coherent’ and ‘resilient’ nervous system.
Does it really work?
SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® (SE) psychobiological trauma resolution works with all ages of individuals who have experienced shock or developmental trauma.
What is a typical session like?
The SE trauma resolution method does not require the traumatized person to re-tell or re-live the traumatic event. Instead, it offers the opportunity to engage, complete, and resolve—in a slow and supported way—the body’s instinctual fight, flight and freeze responses.
This resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience to stress, and increases people’s vitality, equanimity, and capacity to actively engage in life. The SE Practitioner offers an environment of impartial and compassionate support to facilitate the release of trauma throughout your body.
What kinds of trauma can SE™ treat?
SE Practitioners can successfully work with developmental traumas (such as childhood neglect and abuse and ongoing medical and/or physical issues) and with shock traumas (such as motor vehicle accidents, assaults, operations, and falls).
How long does SE™ take?
The length of time and number of sessions in which a client will visit a practitioner will depend on several factors, including the severity and duration of the trauma(s) and the degree to which the trauma has affected the individual’s nervous system.
A conversation with the practitioner in the initial session may be helpful in providing this kind of information.
What should I know about my SE Practitioner’s training?
Those practitioners who are designated as Somatic Experiencing Practitioners (SEPs) have completed a program in which they have accumulated 216 hours of training, as well as professional consultations and personal SE sessions. This training is intended to work with their other professional and academic training.
It is expected that an SE Practitioner (i.e psychiatrist, medical doctor, psychologist, counsellor, social worker, body-oriented therapist, and bodyworkers) will hold membership in a professional therapeutic body which has professional standards and a code of ethics and that the practitioner has professional liability insurance.
The SE Trauma Institute is dedicated to resolving trauma worldwide by providing state-of-the-art professional training and public education in Somatic Experiencing (SE).
SE is a powerful psychobiological method for addressing physical and emotional trauma, PTSD, overwhelm, and stress related conditions.
Through our membership association we support the self-organization of a broad international network of passionate, skillful SE practitioners who serve individuals in need and communities in crisis around the globe
We all live overwhelmed by the traumas. The abandonment, divorce, violence, abuses of all kinds, lack of care, alcoholism, anger, censorship, religion, harassment: a thousand different forms of hell that surrounds us since our first days in this world. Sometimes intentionally, many others in a completely unconscious way, the damage comes at a very early age.James Rhodes 2014
Excerpted from the book: Instrumental, by James Rhodes