What it is?
It is a naturalistic way for healing trauma and it has been based on more than 40 years of scientific research and experience by Dr. Peter Levine. Somatic Experiencing offers a safe, gradual way to help trauma survivors develop their own ability to eliminate the excess energy caused by overwhelming events. It focuses on the bodily experiences for emotional healing and the resolution of trauma.
How does it work?
With the comprehension that animals in the wild trough the constant stress by threat of predators are rarely traumatized. These animals as he noted, had internal mechanisms that permit them the release of high amounts of energy after they have been chased, injured or nearly killed and then return to a normal state of safety. Dr.Levine concluded in their investigations that the same regulatory processes exists within human animals. Somatic Experiencing© is a system of techniques that support the inherent capacity of health that is inbuilt in our body.
This approach uses education about and awareness of your bodily experiences as a primary tool.
In Somatic Experiencing© less means more. Tiny sensations to access the lower structures of the brain.
What is trauma?
We can say that although humans have the same instinctive self regulating mechanisms as animals, we often block those healing processes out of overwhelming emotions like embarrassment or shame, decreasing our capacity to be in balance and heal. When we fail to discharge the high levels of arousal associated with survival those massive energies stay trapped in our neuromuscular and autonomous nervous system and affect our bodies and minds. So, trauma is all this trapped and disorganized energy. When not discharged it develops into a whole constellation of post-traumatic symptoms including pain, anxiety, anger, depression, intrusive thoughts, and it avoids we can live with fullness and totality in the here and now.
What does a lesson look like?
The setting for a Somatic Experiencing session would look like traditional talk therapy, sitting in two coaches or chairs and maybe with tea and there’s where the similarity begins and ends.Because during a SE session the conversation goes about inviting you to engage in your body awareness, in body sensations to discover innate – self regulation and healing. At times and even agreed upon by you and me, the practitioner, touch may be used to guide, to support and to contain the experiences and emotions that you may have. SE is experienced as your own journey of healing/ rather than “someone else healing you”.
Who would benifit from somatic experiencing journeys?
Se can basically benefit anyone who has experienced something overwhelming. This can include but is not limited to the following examples:
*Adults with a history of child abuse
*The abrupt loss of a dear one
*Long periods of immobility due to injuring
*Motor vehicle accidents
*Injuries due to accidents, falls
*Major overwhelming life changes
*Preparations for surgical procedures
*Recovery from surgical and dental procedures
*War traumas and experiences during natural disasters
In general, SE is a powerful antidote to those dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
SE would probably not benefit those with severe psychotic disorders. If you are currently seeing another therapist to address other concerns and wish to incorporate SE into your healing process, discuss this need with your therapist. SE can be used together with other approaches.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOMATIC EXPERIENCING©?
*Eliminate or significantly reduce the symptoms of trauma.
*Improve sleep, digestion and concentration
*Decrease frequency and intensity of nightmares and flashbacks
*Decrease anxiety, angry outbursts and depression
*Ease physical discomfort associated with the traumatic event.
*Decrease need to feel on constant guard or hyper vigilant.
*Decrease muscle tension.
*Increase of energy.
…All the above will increase physical health and wellness.
*Improve the sense of connection to yourself and others
*Helps to feel lees isolation and loneliness
*Allow you to live more in the present and less concerned in the past.
*Opens the felt sense of hope and perspective
*Teaches you the perception of the body sensations
*Teaches you to contain a deeper range of emotions and feelings
*You can become more attracted to all what happens with curiosity
*Helps the nervous system to regulate: either by relaxing or having more energy for action
*Increases your capacity for resiliency (the inner flexibility)
*You learn to access to your inner and outer resources
*Improve the sense of belonging
*Increase sense of feeling alive and deserving to feel good and pleasurable feelings
*Increase the capacity to feel confident and capable
*Deepens sense of connection to life and spirituality
*Greater sense of calm and peace in your body and in your life.
ABOUT PETER LEVINE
Peter A. Levine, PhD (born 19 February 1942) is an American therapist, author and educator who specializes in the treatment and understanding of chronic stress and tonic immobility, more commonly known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). Dr. Levine is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® (a body awareness approach to the treatment of trauma) and founder of the non-profit educational and research organization dedicated to the worldwide healing and prevention of trauma, The Somatic Experiencing Training Institute (formerly known as The Foundation for Human Enrichment). He is also an author of numerous books about trauma and post traumatic stress disorder, including In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness and the New York Times Best Seller Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma.
Dr. Levine holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. He was a stress consultant for NASA on the development of the Space Shuttle program and was a member of the Institute of World Affairs Task Force of Psychologists for Social Responsibility in developing responses to large-scale disasters and ethno-political warfare. Levine’s original contribution to the field of Body Psychotherapy was honored in 2010 when he received the Lifetime Achievement award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP).