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What is somatic experiencing?

Type: Website

Article or website name: What is somatic experiencing?

Author: Peter Levine

Institution: Foundation for Human Enrichment

Country: USA

Type: Body Psychotherapy Education

URL: www.traumahealing.com


'Somatic Experiencing ® ' (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in 'immunity' to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly 'charged' life-threatening experiences.
Although humans are born with virtually the same regulatory mechanisms as animals, the function of these instinctive systems is often overridden or inhibited by, among other things, the 'rational' portion of our brains. This restraint prevents the complete discharge of survival energies, and does not allow the nervous system to regain its equilibrium. The un-discharged 'survival energy' remains 'stuck' in the body and the nervous system. The various symptoms of trauma result from the body's attempt to 'manage' and contain this unused energy.


Author's institution:
Language: English
Country origin: USA

Entry number: 1862
English version:

Entry source: Colleen Campbell Barshop
Entered by: Courtenay Young
Entry date: 29 December 2005

Key Phrases: Trauma
Other information: see article in USABP Journal 4: 2 : 2005 (2365)