Somatic Experiencing® (SE)

Additional Information

Somatic Experiencing® (SE) short-term (for shock trauma) or long-term (for complex trauma) naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine and is supported by research. 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

  • SE employs awareness of body sensation to help people "renegotiate" and heal rather than relive or reenact trauma.
  • SE's guidance of the bodily "felt sense," allows the highly aroused survival energies to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
  • SE may employ touch in support of the renegotiation process.
  • SE “titrates” experience (breaks down into small, incremental steps), rather than evoking catharsis which can overwhelm the regulatory mechanisms of the organism.

Suggested reading on SE includes Waking the Tiger by Peter Lavine and Trauma Through a Child's Eyes by Peter Lavine and Maggie Kline

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