Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a theoretical and clinical approach, to help his clients work through symptoms and prevention of traumatic stress. It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, resulting from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics (SE trauma institute, 2017).
Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.
The SE approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. While clients tell their stories, the therapist goes with them tracking sensations, postures, facial expressions, movements, skin, musculature and breath, in order to bring more awareness into their bodies. The simple fact of bringing attention to a desorganized area of the body, can restore some level of organization there (Levine, 1997).
This is an approach that gently guides clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.