What is Somatic Experiencing?

Somatic Experiencing is a pioneering psycho-biological method to resolve physical and psychological symptoms of chronic stress and trauma. Researched and developed by the American psychotherapist Dr Peter Levine, it shows how stress and trauma can be healed through the body rather than through the mind.

Experiencing a shocking event or ongoing fear and conflict, the body responds with the highly complex and automated self-defence mechanism of fight, flight or freeze. Trauma occurs when the body gets stuck in either of those response reactions rather than returning to healthy self-regulation.

When this happens, the nervous system stays either hyper aroused in the fight-flight response or collapses as a result of the freeze response. Both reactions can cause serious disturbance to the sleep, cardiac, digestion, respiratory and immune system of the body, which can lead to chronic pain and degenerative illness as well as to emotional dysfunction such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

Somatic Experiencing does not focus on talking about or re-living the trauma, but it listens to the “unspoken voice of the body.” Through moment-to-moment awareness of sensations in the body (soma) it aims to gently re-establish the natural flow of life energy by releasing the excess energy from the fight, flight or freeze response. This re-sets the nervous system and allows the client to put the past where it belongs, restoring body, heart, and mind to a relaxed wholeness in the present.

It is a fascinating process that deals with the root cause of trauma and restores the body from overwhelming flashbacks and crippling immobility to new engagement in life.

For more information on Somatic Experiencing, click here.

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