Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) – an approach to working with persons who have experienced trauma – was developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD. Peter developed this approach after observing the ways that animals in the wild, whose lives are routinely threatened, are able to recover through movements which release the energy that accumulates during stressful events. Humans, while we have developed the powers of the mind and achieved countless technical and creative feats, have also developed overrides for some of the natural ways in which other mammals regulate their nervous systems. These developments have come at a cost- traumatic stress responses which involve thoughts and feelings and which manifest as tissue states, postures, pain and inexplicable syndromal patterns. Traumatic stress often manifests as shame, as pervasive thoughts or images, judgments, fears and a sense of disorganization. Somatic Experiencing® supports people to move beyond traumatic stress responses of being “stuck” in processing a traumatic event and to greater connection with self, others and a sense of vitality.
Lori Clarke is an Advanced trainee completing the SE™ Professional Training through the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI) in 2017.