What is Somatic experiencing?

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine to address trauma and its effects on the body and nervous system. It is grounded in the understanding that trauma is not just a psychological experience but also a physiological one that can get stored in the body.

SE recognizes that when an individual experiences a traumatic event or overwhelming stress, their body’s natural response may become dysregulated. This dysregulation can manifest as physical sensations, emotions, and behaviors that are connected to the traumatic experience.

The goal of Somatic Experiencing is to help individuals release and resolve the trapped energy and nervous system dysregulation associated with trauma. This is done by focusing on bodily sensations and promoting the renegotiation of the trauma response in a safe and controlled way. The therapist guides the individual to become more aware of their body sensations, allowing them to gradually and safely experience and discharge the physical and emotional energy associated with the trauma.

Somatic Experiencing does not rely heavily on recounting or reliving the traumatic event through talking. Instead, it emphasizes tracking bodily sensations and impulses, promoting a gradual discharge of accumulated stress and tension. By supporting the individual’s natural self-regulating capacity, SE aims to restore a sense of safety, resilience, and empowerment.

SE has been used effectively in the treatment of various trauma-related conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. It is typically conducted by licensed therapists who have received specific training in Somatic Experiencing techniques.

Shervan K Shahhian

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