Somatic Experiencing (SE for short) is a pioneering whole person approach to healing the physical and psychological symptoms of stress, shock and trauma that works with your body’s natural self-regulating systems.
SE is based on the work of American psychotherapist Dr Peter Levine who believes trauma is primarily biological - a physical phenomenon - not an incurable disease only marginally controllable as some have chosen to view it.
His theory is based on observations of wildlife. Animals are regularly threatened with death yet are rarely traumatised; their survival instinct kicks in, flooding their body with highly charged energy ready for taking effective defensive action - fighting back, running away, freezing or immobilizing. When the threat is past, that intense energy is discharged and the animal returns to full normal health.
We are all equipped with the same capacity to overcome an overwhelming experience. Yet we also have an upper rational brain that frequently ‘rejects’ the powerful primal instinct of the body. The result is that huge fight/flight and / or freeze and immobilization energy gets trapped in our nervous system where it can lead to all sorts of symptoms; sometimes immediately, sometimes not until years later.
The power of presence
Through moment-to-moment awareness of sensations in your body (soma), and using resources available to you, SE aims to gently re-establish the natural flow of your life energy, supporting the safe release of symptoms from the nervous system, putting the past where it belongs, and helping to restore body, heart and mind to a more relaxed wholeness.