As a licensed mental health counselor, I primarily utilize Somatic Experiencing (SE) integrated with other modalities. The word somatic simply means “related to the body," SE is an approach that encourages autonomic nervous system states to move toward physiological and mental resolution.
SE was developed by Peter Levine and is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened in nature routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge 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 a baseline state in the aftermath of highly-charged, life-threatening experiences. SE taps into the potential that already exists in the nervous system to reorganize itself toward health and healing. In an SE session, I serve as a facilitator and safety-container, but your body is the guide and wise expert leading you toward resolution.
SE is incredibly useful for almost anything inhibiting you including chronic depression, anxiety, existential fears and relationship issues. It supports increased regulation through helping you locate calm, ease and safety in your body and increasing capacity for managing life stressors as they emerge. I have witnessed clients become the parent they wished they had had, the friend who no longer absorbs others’ emotions and a more authentic version of themselves more capable of making life choices that align with this calmer Self.
My experience of SE from the inside is that it produces longer-lasting change and a deeper, more complete healing. I do not ask clients to do anything that I have not spent years practicing myself. While this work can be difficult at first, because most of us have learned to ignore our bodies, it has opened up an entirely new way of being for myself and the countless others who have experienced how powerful it is to include your body in the conversation that is you. Our bodies are speaking whether we are listening or not. Let’s listen together.