Somatic Experiencing ® (SE) is the life work of Dr. Peter Levine. It is a naturalistic approach for healing the symptoms of trauma based on his study of animals in the wild.
When a threat occurs and during the survival strategies of fight, flight, freeze and collapse, all mammals produce high levels of cortisol and adrenaline, i.e. lots of energy. Animals in the wild regulate and discharge this energy successfully, resulting in a return to homeostasis and wellbeing. However, in human beings, if the rational part of our brain takes over causing us to experience unhelpful thoughts that result in shame, judgments and fear, our natural capacity to self-regulate is thwarted.
The failure to restore balance in the body can result in the debilitating symptoms of trauma in which cardiac, digestive, respiratory and immune system function can be seriously affected.
The good news is that Somatic Experiencing can aid in your recovery by helping to gently release the thwarted survival energy that has become ‘stuck’.
In a Somatic Experiencing session a safe space for the body is created using breath, grounding and resourcing, and gentle 'tracking' of the sensations being experienced is facilitated until the energy can be released, and homeostasis is achieved.
With permission, safe and respectful supportive touch may sometimes be used to help facilitate the Somatic Experiencing process.