What is Somatic Experiencing®?
Return to Therapy Home
Somatic Experiencing® is a body-oriented therapy focused on regulating the autonomic nervous system ​(ANS), the vagus nerve, and healing physical, emotional, and soul traumas. Developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine over the last 45 years, it is now taught worldwide. The premise of any SE® session is to create spaces of relative safety where the body can tell its story through sensations. This space, often referred to as dream-time, allows for therapeutic sessions operating beyond the usual constraints of time, whether revisiting past incidents in slow-motion or visualizing new endings to traumatic stories. In this way, the body finds new opportunities to renegotiate what may have been frozen.

The somatic approach often emphasizes movement within the body that may surface involuntarily. When this occurs, the key is to attend to what is, resource the client out of states of freeze, and pay attention to positive shifts. Often, in an SE® session, the therapist may act simply as a companion to the client's nervous system and its regulation. Seeking therapy and discussing life traumas requires immense courage. Bearing witness to these stories, in a titrated and gentle manner, often initiates the healing process.

Trauma often manifests with a variety of symptoms. Instead of seeking to rid ourselves of these symptoms, it can be beneficial to ask them what or who they are protecting. Underlying symptomatic states often reveal energy seeking movement or recharge within the body. Energy follows attention, and slowing down our attention illuminates new neuro-pathways.

When working with trauma, we confront physiological responses such as fighting, fleeing, appeasing, or freezing. Each state leaves a lasting impression on our nervous system, influencing our interactions, connections, empathy, and self-protection. Trauma can be seen as frozen balloons of vital life-force energy along the edges of a person's aura, waiting to be reconnected through careful pendulation.

Working slowly and safely is crucial in this work. Somatic Experiencing® has taught me that we are stronger than the trauma we have endured. Our survival is the ultimate proof. Acknowledging this truth can serve as a resource, reminding us of our strength and resilience in overcoming challenges to be present and alive.

I share with you some words from my Somatic Experiencing teacher and mentor Lael Keen, “Remember that the fear of falling, is one breath away from the joy of flying.”
Contact    Donate    Newsletter    Terms & Conditions    Privacy Policy