Somatic Experiencing®

The primary approach I use working with clients is called Somatic Experiencing (SE).

SE is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine and is supported by research. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in “immunity’’ to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly ‘’ charged’’ life-threatening experiences.

  • SE employs awareness of body sensation to help people “renegotiate” and heal rather than re-live or re-enact trauma.
  • SE’s guidance of the bodily “felt sense,” allows the big survival energies of fight and flight survival to be safely experienced and gradually discharged.
  • SE may employ touch in support of the renegotiation process.
  • SE “titrates” experience (breaks down into small, incremental steps), rather than evoking large experiences of release – which can feel overwhelming to the client.

SE can bring you many positive benefits including:

  • Relief of traumatic stress symptoms
  • Increased resiliency
  • Stronger sense of self
  • Feeling resourced from the inside-out
  • Feeling more at ease in the world

Like any other treatment, it may also have unintended negative side effects such as sleep disturbances, frightening memories, or unfamiliar and uncomfortable body sensations.Such reactions are not uncommon and can be attended to in the course of our work together.

It is important that you are aware that there are other forms of body-oriented and somatic psychotherapy modalities that may also be helpful to you, such as EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, or Bodynamics. Obviously, there are also many non-somatic focused forms of psychotherapy and counseling that you can choose from.

I am a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) having completed the required three-year training program along with case consultations and personal experience receiving this modality as a client. I am committed to on-going education and have completed further trainings in healthy and appropriate touch based methods to support increased nervous system regulation.

For more information about SE please note the following references:

Levine, P. and Frederick, A. (1997). Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma : The Innate
Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Kline, M. and Levine, P. (2007). Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

For further references and information online about SE go to