Somatic Experiencing ® (SE®)

Somatic Experiencing® (SE®) is an integrative psycho-physiological approach for the treatment of trauma, inspired and developed by the Biophysicist, Clinical Psychologist and Body Psychotherapist Dr. Peter A. Levine. His awareness that trauma is not a mental but a complex psycho-physiological reaction was pioneering in the research field of trauma therapy. What causes the traumatic reaction is the fact that the organism’s survival-oriented neurophysiological and instinctive responses (fight-flight-freeze), which are activated when a traumatic event threatens our mental and physical safety, do not accomplish their neurophysiological completion. The neurophysiological stimulation “freezes” and remains trapped in the nervous system, causing psychosomatic, traumatic symptoms.

“Trauma is not in the incident· it is bound in the nervous system. Trauma is the biologically incomplete response of the body in a life threatening situation. As a consequence of the effect of the traumatic events, the nervous system has lost its global flexibility. We therefore need to assist it regain its full range and power.” (4)

When similar energy situations are not resolved, the organism continues to react as if the danger has not gone away. As a result, attitudes, psycho-emotional and physical reactions, beliefs, feelings and thoughts, are observed in the present, which are often still coupled with the traumatic experience of the past. At the same time, mental and physical traumatic symptoms are often manifested chronically, which cause confusion and anxiety such as: over irritability, fears, panic, depression, sleep disorder, mood disorders, disturbances in the capacity for healthy relationships, a sense of alienation and disconnection, chronic pain, problems of the immune and endocrine system etc.

 


(4)
P.A.Levine
In an Unspoken Voice
How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
North Atlantic Books