Somatic Experiencing

WHAT IS IT?

Somatic Experiencing, created by Dr Peter Levine is a cutting edge technique for working with developmental trauma and event trauma, and in general honoring the nervous system and working therapeutically on the mind-body level. During sessions, a client sits opposite the practitioner and is guided to begin noticing the sensations in their body. Working on a body level enables one to begin working with the nervous system and safely help the “mind-body system” work through any layers that have affected it. During this process one can process challenging events or struggles that they are going through and help their nervous system come back to balance. This process allows for deep and effective healing to take place and takes into account the full complexity of who we each are.

Core principles of Somatic Experiencing:

  • Trauma or challenging experiences can’t be healed just through cognitive awareness. What’s needed is to help the nervous system process these events, release or complete them if needed, and come back to balance.
  • Our survival instincts of flight, fight and freeze play a large role in the underlying cause of what were struggling with and its important to know how to work with these systems.
  • It’s essential to help one reconnect to their body and sensations for full healing to take place
  • The therapeutic process must be done in a manner that’s safe and contained to allow change to be integrated and healing to the nervous system

“The mind may have forgotten but thankfully the body has not.”

– Freud

Additional resources - Authors and books

  • Peter Levine, Phd: Waking the Tiger
  • Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD : The body keeps the score
  • Stephen Porges, Phd: The Polyvagal Theory
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