Somatic Experiencing® is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It 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.
Growing scientific evidence indicates that the dynamics of traumatic stress and its symptoms have significant biological components. Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a powerful method for addressing the psychobiology of stress and trauma. Dr. Levine has studied and observed traumatic stress in humans and animals for over thirty years and has developed a deep understanding of human survival energy’s function.
This body-focused approach understands that traumatic stress symptoms are often expressions of incomplete or fixated lower brain functions of fight, flight, and freeze. SE helps people complete these responses and restore their inherent self-correcting, self-regulating mechanisms. Integrating lower psychomotor processes with higher brain processes of cognition and feeling creates a more flexible neurological system, and enhances a person’s capacity to enjoy a wide spectrum of human experience.
Somatic Experiencing® is appropriate for anyone working in the field of trauma: physical therapists, psychotherapists, physicians, psychologists, nurses, bodyworkers, psychiatrists, educators, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, martial artists, vocational counselors, and others.