Somatic Experiencing (SE)
Somatic experiencing is a form of therapy that helps to alleviate and resolve symptoms of both physical and mental trauma related problems. This is done by focusing on the clients perceived body sensations (somatic experiences) in an attempt to observe and promote understanding of the stress remaining in the body as a result of past traumas.
This guided exploration means that sessions tend to focus more on physicality than talking through a problem. In these sessions the client can learn to track their own somatic sensations as well as the thoughts and feelings that are related to traumatic memories. Through understanding how their body regulates stress the client can begin to restore equilibrium.
This approach was developed by Peter Levine, who observed animals in the wild and noted their ability to process and recover from traumatic life-threatening situations. The biological healing process of animals is the basis from which somatic experiencing developed.
Somatic experiencing is a very gentle therapy that takes a careful approach to traumatic experiences. Using supportive and grounding resources that minimise distress, the client is exposed to the trauma in small, manageable doses (known as ‘titration’) and is helped to work through the somatic symptoms and resolve the problem.
This is a simple, direct and powerful instrument that allows the client to gain insight into their own distress and learn to resolve it within a supportive environment.