Somatic Experiencing®(SE) is a naturalistic approach to the understanding and healing of trauma developed by Peter A Levine over the past 40 years and taught throughout the world. SE®is a clinical methodology based upon an appreciation of why animals in the wild are not traumatized by routine threats to their lives while humans, on the other hand, are readily overwhelmed and traumatized. Fortunately, the very same instincts (and related survival based brain systems) that are involved in the formation of trauma symptoms can be enlisted in the transformation and healing of trauma. Therapeutically, this “instinct to heal” and self-regulate is engaged through the awareness of body sensations that contradict those of paralysis and helplessness, and which restore resilience, equilibrium and wholeness.
Because human responses to potential threat vary so greatly, it is difficult to identify or classify sources of trauma. Most people associate trauma with events like war, violence, extremes of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, crippling accidents, or natural disasters. However, many ''ordinary'' or seemingly benign events can also be traumatic. For example, so-called minor automobile “whiplash'' accidents frequently lead to bewildering and debilitating physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms. Common invasive medical procedures and surgeries (particularly those performed on frightened children who are restrained while being anesthetized), can be profoundly traumatizing. Somatic Experiencing® utilizes basic tools (and “building blocks”) but also works differentially with various sources of trauma. These diverse categories include:
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