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Somatic Experiencing®

Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a method of method of addressing symptoms of stress, shock, and trauma. SE honors the way our bodies bear the burden of trauma, how we can stay stuck in patterns of fight, flight, freeze or fold. SE helps with the deactivation, release, and recovery of the accumulated trauma by including the body and nervous system as a part of the focus of restoring resiliency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Somatic Experiencing® Work?

Somatic Experiencing® works by bypassing the higher cognitive centers of the brain and working with sensations that are associated with the primitive part of the brain by way of the Autonomic Nervous System. It works directly with the trauma brain reactions, using body awareness and body sensations to gently and gradually release the emotion and energy from those body memories.

What is a Somatic Experiencing® Session Like?

This may involve the practitioner guiding you to attune to what is happening in your nervous system, with the eventual intent of recalibrating the nervous system itself. It may also involve movement and body activities that are not typically a part of traditional therapy.

How Does Somatic Experiencing® Work?

Unlike EMDR, which may target the worst part of the trauma first, Somatic Experiencing® works from the outside edges inward to the core of the trauma. While the pace may be slower than with EMDR, the discharge and release of the traumatic activation from your nervous system can be very powerful. With this release your nervous system can return to a healthier range of resiliency and healing can take place.

Can Somatic Experiencing® be used in intensive treatment formats?

Our intensives almost always involve incorporating Somatic Experiencing®, or other somatic methods to some degree, in combination with other treatments.

Can Only Licensed Professionals Become Somatic Experiencing® Practitioners?

No, therapist, coaches, emergency responders, allied mental health workers, including body workers who meet the requirements for training and complete the entire 3 years of training can become Somatic Experiencing® Practitioners.

What Does Polyvagal Theory Have to Do with Somatic Experiencing®?

Polyvagal theory, proposed by Stephen Porges, is considered one of the foundations of trauma resolution, particularly for complex trauma, and is one of the cornerstones of Somatic Experiencing®. The polyvagal theory explains how our Autonomic Nervous System functions in healthy and traumatized states. Trauma is not a stationary event – it lives in our nervous system and can change how it works.

The vagus nerve is the main highway in the brain-body nervous system connection. Somatic Experiencing® Practitioners use knowledge of vagal brain-body connection to help your nervous system move into a healthier level of functioning.