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Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE)® is a body-orientated approach to resolving traumatic stress. It is the life's work of the internationally recognised trauma researcher and therapist Dr Peter A. Levine. SE is suitable for overcoming shock trauma and for transforming early attachment and developmental trauma. Not everyone realises that they carry trauma within them. Unfortunately, traumatic stress is the cause of many problems. And many people could be helped, even if they are not aware that they are suffering from traumatic stress. What can be done? SE is the answer to this.

Understanding Trauma & Chronic Stress

Trauma is much talked about these days and yet very few people have a clear understanding of what trauma actually is. Research is clear; trauma does not originate from an external event. Different people, exposed to the same event, react differently. Trauma lives in the nervous system, i.e. in the body. 


Dr Peter Levine explains: "Trauma is an inner straitjacket that is created when a devastating moment in time hits you unexpectedly. It suppresses the unfolding of being and stops our attempts to leave the shocking event behind. It separates us from ourselves, others, nature and spirit." (Dr Peter Levine)


Trauma affects us on different levels. At the brain level, trauma impairs thinking and the ability to solve problems. It robs the neocortex (the cerebrum), the thinking brain, of the ability to recognise and inhibit activity in other parts of the brain. This can lead to uncontrolled outbursts of emotion or anger, for example. This is because trauma over-activates the limbic brain, which repeatedly triggers the defensive - but no longer necessary - reactions of fight, flight or freeze. Trauma puts the brain stem in a state of constant activation. This leads to impulsive, automatic reactions that alternate between frenzy, being rushed, excessive exertion and withdrawal or freezing.


In order for the traumatisation to dissolve, the neocortex needs to be activated again. We can achieve this by focussing our conscious attention (activity at the neo-cortex level) on the the felt sense of the body (activity in the limbic brain and brain stem). So how do we do this?

We need a holistic approach that works with both the rational part of our brain, the neocortex, and the inner body sensations and feelings, thus bringing together and integrating these three areas of the brain (neocortex, limbic brain and brain stem). This approach thus offers a new perspective on trauma. Somatic Experiencing as a method has been developed precisely for this purpose. This method recognises that we can resolve trauma when we involve the felt sense of the body in our work in an appropriate way.


This method utilises the holistic body sensations (felt sense), which are 'tracked' (followed) step by step in the body, taking into account the client's existing capacity to 'hold' certain sensations, feelings, thoughts or inner images and thus remain present. In order not to exceed the client's window of tolerance unintentionally, I use titration, a word from chemistry, that describes the procedure in very small steps. This works very well because trauma is "a breach in the protective barrier against (over)stimulation, which leads to an overwhelming feeling of helplessness." In order to heal we need a feeling of safety though, so it#s important not to stay in the over-activation but to be guided back to safety in time. This is where my guidance is crucial as otherwise the trauma vortex would pull you back in.



So the good news is that trauma can actually be resolved. We are not doomed to 'walk around' with it for a lifetime. Dr Peter Levine explains this as follows: "Nature has given all animals, including humans, a nervous system that is capable of restoring balance. If this self-regulating function is blocked or disturbed, trauma symptoms develop to bind the undischarged excitation or activation".


And this is exactly what is needed: to restore the self-regulating function of the body and then to renegotiate the dysregulation of the nervous system and thereby restore the balance in the nervous system. And this is exactly what we achieve with Somatic Experiencing.


But how do we know whether a person's nervous system is in balance? We can see this from the following indicators:


  • The person is relaxed and calm

  • The body and all senses are relaxed but alert

  • The person is at rest in their body, present on all levels of the self 

  • The person's physiology responds appropriately to stimuli

  • The person's reactions are fluid and flexible

  • The person is ready to connect and is emotionally stable

  • The person has a sense of choice

  • The person is able to maintain healthy relationships


Do you recognise yourself in this description? Do you realise that your nervous system may be out of balance? Don't worry, there is a solution. Click on the button now to be called back to arrange an appointment. Then we can clarify any further questions. See you soon, Aneesha

By using this offer, you agree to a temporary affiliation with the State Association of the Kingdom of Germany (KRD). This does not give rise to any further rights or obligations. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your interest in growth and transformation.   


Why KRD? You find the answerhere

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