Life Care Wellness offers effective solutions for people with trauma, PTSD, or psychological stress: EMDR, Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy, and Yoga Therapy. Your counselor will discuss which therapy (or therapies) would be most helpful to you. Trauma counseling is a specialty of Life Care Wellness, and our therapists help you heal from trauma.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy is a powerful method for resolving trauma symptoms and relieving chronic stress. Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, SE results from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, and decades of successful clinical application.
Dr. Levine found that prey animals in the wild rarely become traumatized, despite routine threats to their lives. Yet he observed human beings become readily traumatized. He noted that mammals automatically regulate survival responses through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Further, he saw that under threat, massive amounts of energy are mobilized in readiness for fight, flight, freeze, and collapse responses. Once safe, animals spontaneously “discharge” this excess energy through involuntary movements like shaking, trembling, and deep breaths. This discharge process resets the ANS, readying it for the next threat. Since humans and other animals possess nearly identical brain- and body-based survival mechanisms, Dr. Levine theorized that human beings get PTSD because of overriding this mammalian discharge response.
The Somatic Experiencing Therapy Approach
The SE approach releases traumatic shock – the key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. SE offers a framework to assess where “stuckness” occurs in the fight, flight, freeze, or collapse responses. Further, it provides tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It also gently guides clients in developing increased tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions. With this increased tolerance, clients can learn these tools to manage their own systems.
From a brain perspective, SE therapy works to shift brain stem and limbic system responses. This “bottom up” approach gets at the root cause of trauma symptoms. Specifically, it facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body.
SE therapy does not require the person to re-tell or re-live the traumatic event. Instead, it offers the opportunity to engage, complete and resolve in a gentle way the body’s instinctual self-protective responses. Individuals locked in anxiety or rage then relax into a growing sense of peace and safety. Those stuck in depression gradually find their feelings of hopelessness and numbness transformed into empowerment, triumph, and mastery. SE sparks corrective bodily experiences that counter fear and helplessness. This resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience, and increases vitality, equanimity, and capacity to actively engage in life.
Still wondering what is somatic experiencing? Read more by searching our blog for posts on SE.
A number of Life Care Wellness affiliated therapists offer SE therapy. Schedule an appointment with our somatic experiencing counselor today.