Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing ® (SE) is a type of gentle therapy designed to reset the nervous system, restore inner balance, enhance resilience to stress, and increase 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 does a session look like?

SE sessions are customized to address the current state of the client’s nervous system. Perhaps you are familiar with the terms fight, flight, and freeze. These states show up in specific ways in the body (based on factors such as muscle tone, micro-movements of the face, eye contact, etc.). 

In an SE session, the therapist regularly assesses which of those “states” your nervous system is in and helps you shift your nervous system from a sense of threat to a resting state. For example, if a client comes in with a lot of flight activation (restless, anxious, concerned…), the sessions would center around allowing the charge of that activation to release. This would naturally allow the body to regulate itself back to a settled, baseline state.

I’ve got some trauma that I know is there, but when I “go there,” things tend to get worse…

Somatic experiencing is a method that 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. 

What kind of issues can be treated?

  • Attachment issues
  • Anxiety
  • Adults abused as children
  • Car accidents
  • Complex PTSD
  • Developmental trauma (trauma experienced before the age of 3)
  • Medical trauma
  • Natural Disasters
  • Prenatal/Birth trauma
  • Sexual assault

For more information about Somatic Experiencing:

Here is a YouTube video of Peter Levine, the founder of SE, explaining some of the principles behind it. For more on the results of SE, here is a link to many peer reviewed articles on Somatic Experiencing®.