The Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) approach to working with persons who have experienced trauma was developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD. Peter began developing 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 chronic patterns. Traumatic stress often manifests as anxiousness, negative though spirals, shame, pervasive thoughts or images, judgments, fears and a sense of disorganization.
The SE™ psychobiological approach to trauma resolution is a way of working experientially with clients through “stuck” fight, flight and freeze responses that remain incomplete after stressful or traumatic experiences. The completion of these response patterns brings a greater capacity for self-regulation as well as an increased sense of well-being, and availability to connect to self and others. Even though SE™ often focuses on resolving issues of trauma, it is also an effective way of supporting individuals interested in expanding their capacity to authentically live in the world, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Lori Clarke is an Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and an assistant in the Somatic Experiencing International (SEI) professional training program, and through integrating other advanced training in somatic approaches, including Neuroaffective Touch.