SE® & Trauma

Why Somatic Experiencing®(SE®)?

SE® gives a framework to assess where a person is "stuck" in the fight, flight, freeze/collapse responses and provides tools to resolve these fixated physiological states.

Somatic Therapy attends to the whole organism. It helps clients heal from trauma, reduce stress, manage chronic illness and pain, lessen anxiety, and resolve the suffering of enmeshed physical & emotional ailments.

What is Trauma?

Trauma could begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress.

The more we learn about Trauma, the more we realize the truth of its subjectivity.  Trauma, in physiological terms (as pictured above), is anything that causes the nervous system to get stuck in a survival response. This anything is determined by all the prior anythings (traumas) that have influenced the development of that system.  

How SE® Works

SE 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. 

As the system begins its return to regulation we increase resilience and, consequently, heal trauma. We re-incorporate the fragmented parts of our self. As we integrate that which has been lost to the fragmentation process of trauma, we grow into our selves, have fuller access to our selves, and we become the whole beautiful beings we are meant to be.

One may seek somatic healing for many reasons. Often, there are symptoms that motivate us; anxiety, panic attacks, depression, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, migraines, chronic fatigue, flashbacks, insomnia, lack of sense of self, deadened sensations, vertigo, attention deficit, hyperactivity, mood swings, relationship problems, fear of intimacy, unhealthy relationship behaviors/patterns, negative body image, chemical sensitivities, to name just a few.

Through the lens of Somatic Experiencing®, an often isolated symptom is looked at as an integral function of a dysregulated nervous system.  The approach is completely client-centric. We look at the entirety of each person's unique organismic expression.  The model honors that unique expression by grokking its innate wisdom. Biological systems are self-organizing given the proper conditions and human biological systems are no exception to this rule. The rhythms of our hearts, our cerebral spinal fluid, and peristaltic functions are all complex, interrelated body systems/subsystems that are influenced by and influence the regulation or lack thereof our nervous system.  

As we support the system's resurgence of regulation our healing process begins.

~SE® does not require the traumatized person to re-tell or re-live the traumatic event. Instead, it offers the opportunity to engage, complete and resolve ”in a slow and supported way” the body's instinctual fight, flight, freeze, and collapse 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 catalyzes corrective bodily experiences that contradict those of fear and helplessness. This resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience to stress, and increases people's vitality, equanimity, and capacity to actively engage in life.~

Adults who come out of adverse childhood experiences (, generally, have less resilience in their nervous systems-- their [physiological] infrastructure was not able to develop as soundly. Later, when this system is confronted with the trials and stresses of life, it is at a higher risk of becoming traumatized.

Some examples of what might result as trauma in the nervous system--Loss of family member/loved one. Loss of job. Loss of home. Falls. Hospitalizations. Medical or dental procedures. Birth complications; mother and/or child. Physical injuries. Ongoing overwhelming stresses. Divorce. Divorce of parents.

It may help to think of our nervous system as infrastructure-- good infrastructure yields less damage when hit. Whether it be a city's architecture is built for earthquakes or its layout is adequately designed for boom-season population increases-- if it is well developed, whole and inclusive, it is resilient to stresses. 

Resilience is what we want!  

Resilience is the capacity to not get stuck.