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Above the Clouds

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body of work that was developed by Dr. Peter Levine to renegotiate trauma. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease.  SE helps us to explore the effects that traumatic stress has had on our nervous systems, our bodies, our actions or reactions, our beliefs, and our relationships to self and others. When we are stuck in patterns of fight, flight, or freeze, SE helps us release, recover, and become more resilient.

When we experience a traumatic event, we can often times become stuck in a fight or flight, flee or freeze response. If we can not, for whatever reason, fully discharge the energy that builds in our body when in the threat of danger, that energy can remain in our tissue, waiting to be released. This held energy can manifest in several ways. Sometimes, when we are in a situation that increases our adrenaline in the same way it was increased during the event, that place in us can be stimulated and we may react as though we were in the middle of our traumatic event rather than what might be appropriate for the current situation. Our body is on hyper-alert, waiting to act out and discharge this held energy. It is not uncommon to suffer physical symptoms as a result of this trapped energy. When it is unable to run its course and release its charge, it can settle in a particular area of our body, resulting in "body armoring," physical pain, or illness. Finding a safe way to release this trauma held within us can be invaluable.


Receiving bodywork from a compassionate practitioner who has understanding and experience working with trauma has proven to be very effective in healing any underlying patterns of unresolved energy. As the practitioner touches on areas of physical holding, he/she acts as neutral witness, creating a safe place for you to allow these feelings to rise, finish their process, and release.

How it works


The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.


SE sessions may be done in a chair, on our feet, or on the treatment table depending on what is needed for the day. Some tools we may use to help the process could include movement, sound and breath, imagery, body sensations, etc. On the the table we may use both SE touch work and CST to release physical and energetic holding in the soma (body) creating more spaciousness and capacity while liberating vital life force.

For more information on the affects of trauma, read " In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness,” by Peter Levine. 





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