Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is sometimes described as a method or a theory and technique, but often described as a lens through which trauma is understood and other techniques are approached. It is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma. When most people think of trauma or define trauma, they think of what we call shock trauma. Shock trauma is a single traumatic event or life-threatening experience. Developmental trauma is the chronic, ongoing traumas and neglect that happens during a person's childhood development. Developmental trauma is beginning to get more understanding by society as a whole and can be every bit as damaging as shock trauma. The good news is that we can survive both traumas and even thrive!
SE was developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine after he realized that animals in the wild heal and recover from life-threatening traumas much more easily than humans do. He realized that one must address the nervous system to heal the trauma in one's body. In sessions, the therapist will work with the client to slow down the telling of the story so that the body can catch up. Sessions are a chance to find resolution and work through past traumas, but also give the nervous system a chance to practice regulating itself rather than resorting to fight, flight, or freeze as it has in the past.