What is Somatic Experiencing® (SE)?

Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-awareness approach for the prevention and renegotiation of trauma. It is the result of over forty years of observation, Beutiful butterly macroresearch, and hands-on development by Dr. Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger, In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, and Trauma Proofing Your Children. It is currently being used on six continents bringing relief from the overwhelming effects of trauma on mind, body, and spirit. SE is based on the observation that animals in the wild, while faced with imminent danger on a regular basis, move through fight, flight, and freeze responses without developing PTSD. He observed that animals allow their systems to complete responses that are natural and innate in all of us, but that we (humans) aren’t always as successful at doing this, due to the “higher” functioning parts of our brains that can get in the way. Fortunately, our systems have an innate capacity for healing.

SE encourages body awareness through tracking sensation as a means of discharging lingering highly “charged” energy so one can return to functioning effectively in the here and now and re-engage with life. SE interrupts the cycle of chronic stress, restoring self-regulation and a sense of aliveness, relaxation, and wholeness to trauma survivors. Clients report feelings of expansion and transformation once they are freed from the “frozen moment in time” that is trauma. They are then more equipped to deal with stressful conditions in a way that will not overwhelm them. They are free to move into their lives grounded and centered, as empowered agents of change in their lives, and better resourced to deal with challenges.

As an SE practitioner, I can help you move through responses your nervous system may not have had time to digest and process. I will help you bring your body and mind up to date, so that you can fully sense the difference between what was true “then” and what is true “now”. As strange as it may sound, often times the brain may know the trauma is over, but the body does not. We may feel shut down, disconnected, overwhelmed by extreme emotion, generally anxious, distracted, experience chronic pain, or have a variety of feelings as “past” and “present” get tangled together.

As we work together to support what your body didn’t have time to process and allow unfinished fight/flight/freeze responses to complete, the trauma energy begins to drain off. This work does not involve talking and talking about previous trauma, but rather tuning into the sensations present in the here & now.

What does an SE session look like?

Sessions usually start with your being invited to sit where you feel most comfortable in the room. I usually sit nearby and invite you to spend a moment orienting yourself to the room and your surroundings. You may also be invited to take a few moments to “land” or become grounded in the moment. It is important to develop a strong sense of connection with your environment in the here and now in a “resourced” (aware/safe) state before exploring sensory feelings connected to trauma and fear. “Resources” are anything that make you feel happy, safe, alive, and peaceful.

I will support you in observing and tracking your sensorimotor experience without analysis or interpretation. We will be focusing on your internal sensations and experiences. My role is to support you and provide safe containment as you deepen your awareness of increasingly more intense sensations. My role is to utilize my knowledge of the nervous system and the indicators our bodies exhibit when we touch stored fight/flight/freeze energy to support you in discharging this energy at a pace your system can tolerate effectively. This moment-to-moment awareness of your internal sensations serves as the pathway upon which highly charged stress/trauma energy can be released. This stuck energy has been with you since the time you were initially overwhelmed or experiencing trauma and has potentially kept aspects of yourself trapped there as well.

You will not be asked to tell your story as this often risks re-experiencing aspects of the traumatic event. SE listens to the “somatic narrative” and uses the ‘voices’ of the body to navigate the biological completion of an interrupted freeze, fight or flight response. As your support person, I will encourage you to allow the bodies innate healing potential to take over. In doing so, you will be encouraged not to hold back or constrict your bodies process. We will hold a space of non-judgement and curiosity, as your body seeks to complete what has remained incomplete from the original event.

It is important not to rush the process. In most instances, the slower we go, the faster we get to that healed, whole, restored place you’re seeking.

*SE can be done as a primary therapy modality or as an adjunctive therapy for those with an already-established treatment team.

90 Min Initial Intake = $185

60 Minute Session = $110