Curious about Somatic Experiencing?


29 May
29May
You may be wondering, what is Somatic Experiencing (SE)?  Somatic Experiencing is a neurological and physiological approach to healing.  Somatic Experiencing was created by Peter Levine, PhD, who became curious about why animals in the wild - who often go through and escape life threatening attacks - do not experience PTSD, but rather appear to continue to live life as usual.

Most of us in western societies have been socialized out of being in connection with our body. When this happens, we don't notice what we are feeling until the feeling is really big.  It is then really difficult to manage the emotion - kind of the difference between stopping a train that is just starting to slowly chug out of the station, vs. trying to stop a train running at high speed.

Experiences such as trauma, medical emergencies, etc... chronic stress, traffic, smart phones constantly pinging, excessive demands upon us, etc...  - the nervous system becomes even more dysregulated.

A dysregulated nervous system is what is at the root of issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression, anger, and addiction. These are nervous system responses.

You can NOT talk yourself out of a nervous system response. While going for talk therapy alone may be very useful in terms of obtaining support, insight, validation, another perspective, ideas, etc... - all of which have value.  However,  what talk therapy does is help us to understand better and to cope better with our concerns.

With Somatic Experiencing we work by checking in with and tracking subtle body sensation, and use very simple tools that can be done anytime and anywhere, to help the nervous system to calm and settle.

What people start to notice is that the become a whole lot more resilient to stress - it takes bigger and bigger things to knock themselves of course - and that when they do get stressed or upset, it is a whole lot easier for them to bring themselves out of it.

In addition, people start to find that it becomes a whole lot easier and more natural to be able to have quiet, calm, stillness when they want to, and that they have a greatly increased capacity for happiness, and relaxation.

We also, with SE, can work with the body to release bodily stored trauma gently, even if that trauma has been "stuck" in the body, for decades.  As bodily stored trauma is gently released, many of the symptoms that brought someone in for therapy, simply resolve.

I myself have a severe history of complex developmental (childhood) trauma.  I had actually experienced over 20 years of trauma therapy before finding Somatic Experiencing.

The first 6 months of SE therapy ,I experienced MUCH more transformation and change than I had in over 20 years of trauma therapy.  Within a year of beginning SE therapy, every area of my life had dramatically improved.

I determined it would be irresponsible to not go and get SE training myself.  So I committed myself to the three year program.

Today, I officially obtained Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) status.  :)

If you would like to learn more about Somatic Experiencing, please see this video by SE's creator, Peter Levine, PhD
Peter Levine on Somatic Experiencing
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