Somatic Experiencing® is a therapy that helps alleviate and potentially resolve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other trauma-related problems, such as chronic stress. Somatic Experiencing focuses on the client’s perceived body sensations or “somatic experiences.”
What Is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?
Somatic Experiencing was introduced by Peter A. Levine, PhD, in his 1997 book, “Waking the Tiger.” Dr. Levine discussed his lengthy observations of animals in the wild, with a particular emphasis on how the animals dealt with and recovered from life-threatening situations. These lessons formed the basis for somatic trauma therapy.
Instead of a balanced state, traumatic stress keeps people stuck in either an “on” or “off” state. When stuck in the “on” state of traumatic stress, people show symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, digestive problems, emotional flooding, exaggerated startle, hostility/rage, hyperactivity, hyper-vigilance, panic and sleeplessness.
In the “off” position, traumatic stress can bring about chronic fatigue, complex syndromes, depression, deadness or numbness, disconnection, disorientation, dissociation, exhaustion, flat affect, lethargy, low blood pressure, pain and poor digestion.
How Somatic Experiencing Works
Somatic Experiencing can release traumatic shock, which is the key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. Somatic Experiencing offers clients a framework to assess where they’re “stuck” in the fight, flight, freeze or collapse body responses and provides clinically proven tools to resolve these fixated states.
At Promises, clinicians trained in Somatic Experiencing help clients develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and emotions they’ve suppressed. It’s not necessary for clients to relive the traumatic event or even to retell it to the clinician.
Somatic Experiencing therapy allows clients to engage, complete and resolve trauma in a slow and supportive way. For clients stuck in depression, instead of feeling stuck in numbness and hopelessness, they are given tools to transform these feelings into empowerment and triumph. Those suffering from rage or anxiety learn to relax into a sense of peace and safety.
The ultimate goals of Somatic Experiencing therapy are to resettle the client’s nervous system, restore inner balance, increase vitality, enhance resilience to stress, and increase the capacity to actively engage in a life of recovery.
To learn more about Somatic Experiencing, call 844-876-5568