Somatic Experiencing and Trauma

Health and growth are conditions of ease, relaxed activity, expansion and consolidation, flow and connection. Trauma does not feel like this.

Trauma is unfinished regulation business bottled up in the body. It can make itself felt in the form of pain, anxiety, numbness, flashbacks, altered perceptions of risk and danger, psychosomatic distress or the feeling of being stuck.

We are resilient creatures and our bodies carry not only pain but also the keys to repair and recovery. Somatic Experiencing provides a way to bring the protective forces of tension, pain, anxiety and helplessness back into power, vitality, meaning and connection.

Conceived by Dr. Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing differs from talk-based therapy methods in several ways:

  • In Somatic Experiencing sessions with me, I listen to your experience on many levels: how both the things that ail you and the things that nourish you express themselves in your thoughts, feelings, symbol world, body sensations and spontaneous movements.  If you prefer to, we can work with a verbal narrative of traumatic events but we do not have to. Some stories can be overwhelming or simply not in conscious memory and it is possible to engage in this therapeutic process without complete narrative detail.
  • Somatic Experiencing works with resources. Traumatic shock sets in when stress greatly exceeds available strengths. Coming forward from this point begins with shoring supports so that available strengths can embrace what your neurophysiology is seeking. In our sessions, we will take a closer look at things you enjoy. I will ask you about everyday moments where you or someone you know felt, for example, light (or free, strong, appreciated…). The purple questions at the end of some of these pages are examples of resource exploration.
  • The pace of Somatic Experiencing is gentle. Because trauma and high stress are intense, there is a decisive departure from the cathartic and sessions emphasize stability and transformation at a held and sustainable pace.
  • Somatic Experiencing has its base in neuroscience including the polyvagal theory work of Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Peter Levine. Sessions follow your body’s pace and wisdom for seeking completion. Brought into gear, natural self-regulation and neuroaffective relief mean that stuck stress is released on a physiological level allowing for lasting change. Released traumatic stress returns the body’s energy to your vitality, relationships and sense of meaning.

My goals with Somatic Experiencing are to support post-traumatic growth and build resilience: to rediscover resources, release stress, increase body awareness, and re-establish meaning and your connection to joy.

Capable – when was a moment this week where you felt „I can“?