Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine and is supported by research. The word “trauma” in this sense covers a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms that result from the effect of accumulated stress on human physiology. SE is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in “immunity’’ to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly “charged’’ life-threatening experiences.
SE supports individuals in completing basic fight, flight, and freeze response patterns that remain inhibited after stressful or traumatic experiences. The completion of these response patterns brings a greater capacity for self-regulation as well as an increased sense of well-being, and integration. Even though SE primarily targets issues of trauma, it is also an effective way of supporting individuals interested in expanding their ability to authentically be in the world physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
SE employs awareness of body sensation to help people "renegotiate" and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
SE's guidance of the bodily "felt sense," allows the highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
SE may employ touch in support of the renegotiation process.
SE “titrates” experience (breaks down into small, incremental steps), rather than evoking catharsis - which can overwhelm the regulatory mechanisms of the organism.
Scot Deily and Cori Wright are formally trained in Somatic Experiencing at the intermediate level and are soon to be advanced. They offer services to individuals, couples and small groups.