Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine. The development of the technique was inspired by 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 a normal state following highly ‘’charged’’ life-threatening experiences.
SE employs awareness of body sensation to help people “renegotiate” and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma. Through guidance of the bodily “felt sense,” highly aroused survival energies are 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. SE can result in a number of benefits to you, such as relief of traumatic stress symptoms, increased resiliency, and resourcefulness.
Below is a video I created that gives a more in depth explanation of how SE works, who might benefit, and what a typical session might look like: