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Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine that focuses on the connection between the mind and the body in the resolution of trauma and stress-related symptoms. It recognizes that traumatic experiences can become trapped or stored in the body, leading to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

“What I do know is that we become traumatized when our ability to respond to a perceived threat is in some way overwhelmed. This inability to adequately respond can impact us in obvious ways, as well as ways that are subtle.”

- Peter Levine

About Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing aims to restore balance and regulation to the nervous system by addressing these unresolved experiences and their somatic manifestations. By utilizing body awareness and gentle techniques, Somatic Experiencing offers a pathway to healing, resilience, and a renewed sense of well-being.

The benefits of Somatic Experiencing include:

1. Trauma resolution: Somatic Experiencing provides a gentle and effective approach to trauma resolution. By working with the body's innate capacity to heal, individuals can safely process and release trapped energy associated with traumatic experiences, leading to a reduction in symptoms and an increased sense of emotional well-being.

2. Regulation of the nervous system: Somatic Experiencing focuses on regulating the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's responses to stress and trauma. Through specific techniques and interventions, individuals learn to modulate their physiological arousal levels, resulting in improved emotional regulation, reduced anxiety, and enhanced resilience.

3. Release of somatic symptoms: Traumatic experiences often manifest as physical symptoms such as chronic pain, tension, or digestive issues. Somatic Experiencing helps individuals address and release these somatic symptoms by working with the body's natural healing processes. This can lead to improved physical well-being and a greater sense of ease in the body.

4. Increased body awareness: Somatic Experiencing promotes a deeper connection with the body and enhances body awareness. By developing a mindful and compassionate relationship with bodily sensations, individuals gain a greater understanding of their physical and emotional states. This increased body awareness can support self-regulation, self-care, and overall well-being.

5. Empowerment and self-efficacy: Through the Somatic Experiencing process, individuals gain a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy in their ability to regulate their own nervous systems and navigate challenging experiences. This newfound capacity for self-regulation can extend beyond the therapy sessions, empowering individuals to manage stress and trauma responses in their daily lives.

6. Integration of traumatic experiences: Somatic Experiencing emphasizes the importance of integrating traumatic experiences into one's life story. By acknowledging and working with the sensations, emotions, and meaning associated with the trauma, individuals can find a sense of coherence and meaning in their life journey. This integration supports post-traumatic growth and a renewed sense of purpose.

7. Improved resilience and well-being: As the nervous system becomes regulated and unresolved trauma is processed, individuals often experience improved resilience and overall well-being. Somatic Experiencing equips individuals with tools to navigate life's challenges, fostering a greater sense of self-awareness, emotional stability, and a capacity for joy and connection.

It is important to note that Somatic Experiencing is typically practiced with the guidance of a trained and experienced therapist who can provide a safe and supportive environment for the healing process.

Somatic Experiencing practitioners

Find a therapist to work with ...

Finding the right therapist can sometimes be challenging. Our mission at Melbourne Integrated Therapies is to offer you a personal referral to one of our skilled and experienced therapists. Our therapists work from a wide range of lenses so that we can cater to your specific needs. Whether you are interested in working within more traditional frameworks like counselling, psychology and cognitive frameworks or from a more somatic, experiential lens we have a number of therapists that can help you. Cameron Barker is the lead therapist at Melbourne Integrated Therapies and able to help you to make the decision of who start therapy with.