Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body oriented approach to healing trauma and other stress disorders. The aim of each session is to strengthen the capacity to be in the present and to re-store the nervous systems natural ability to regulate itself.
I am currently a student of the approach and in ongoing supervision.
Contact me here if you are interested in trying out a session
How does Somatic Experiencing work with trauma?
SE works in small steps where, bit by bit, the nervous system gets a fair chance to integrate what it has experienced and return to a natural state of ease and flow. This is done with a focus on strengthening ressources, personal boundaries and connection to safety in the present.
I work from the belief that trauma is not about the actual event, but about the way the body continues to remember the event, long after it has passed. This means the focus is more about the body here and now, and less about the experiences in the past.
Fight, flight, freeze
The founder of SE, Peter Levine, based the approach on animal studies and asked why animals in the wild don’t seem to develop ptsd, while animals in captivity do. A short answer to a complex question is that animals in the wild have acces to free and safe surroundings, where they can discharge the build-up stress of a highly charged event like being chased or fighting for survival.
Humans and other mammals share the same brain structure that allows us to go into states of fight, flight or freeze when we experience danger. The body simply acts to keep us safe, without having to think about it first. This is wonderful in situations of alert danger, but can be a problem if the body keeps responding to the present as if it is as dangerous as a past, traumatic event.
What happens in a SE session?
In SE sessions the build up stress of being in fight, flight or freeze is released in small steps. We go very slow. Trauma can be described as anything that is to much, to fast or to soon and by taking it slow we have a better chance or working with it, without being sucked into feelings of overwhelm.
SE is NOT about reliving the trauma and going through painful memories again - I personally believe experiencing trauma once is enough, and there is no need to do it again. Instead it is about accessing survival powers that got activated, but afterwards didn’t get enough time and space to release and return to a comfortable and safe flow.
We don’t need to talk about what happened, if you don’t want to.
A session is mostly done sitting down in chairs. We will talk, connect to ressources and the present moment and track the responses of your body, when we softly touch upon the build up energy of survival responses.
We will work without touch, unless it is clearly negotiated and something you would like to do.