lifelong learning

Somatic Experience Training

The Center would like to congratulate Kris Teets upon the completion of stage 1 and 2 of Somatic Experience Training. We thought this week we would give you a short introduction to what this training is all about.

Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. Dr. Peter A. Levine developed this multidisciplinary approach which includes the study of stress physiology, psychology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD along with the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma.

What is the SE Approach?

SE assesses where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others.

Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the stressors of ongoing fear and conflict.

How it works

Beginning in the 1970’s, Dr. Levine’s studied how animals deal with threat and this led to the development of a method that is highly effective in dealing with the effects that overwhelm our nervous system, called Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE is a clinical methodology based upon an appreciation of why animals in the wild are not traumatized by routine threats to their lives, while humans, on the other hand, are readily overwhelmed and often subject to the traumatic symptoms of hyper arousal, shutdown and dysregulation.

The SE approach enables the completion of self-protective motor responses. These responses are developed by gently guiding clients to acquire an increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.

Dr. Peter Levine

Dr. Levine received his PhD in medical biophysics from the University of California in Berkeley and also holds a doctorate in psychology from International University. He has worked in the field of stress and trauma for over 40 years and is the developer of Somatic Experiencing. Peter’s original contribution to the field of Body-Psychotherapy was honored in 2010 when he received the Lifetime Achievement award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). That same year he also received the honorary Reis Davis Chair in Child Psychiatry for his innovative contribution to therapy for children and adolescents.

Dr. Levine is the author of the best-selling book “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” — which was published in 24 languages and sold over 250,000 copies — as well as four audio learning series for Sounds True including the book/CD, Healing Trauma: a Pioneering Program in Restoring the Wisdom of Our Bodies and Sexual Healing, Transforming the Sacred Wound. He is the co-author of Trauma through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience. He also has released with Maggie Phillips the book/CD Freedom from Pain: Discover Your Body's Power to Overcome Physical Pain.

Kris finds the Somatic Experience to be transforming for her clients and a useful addition to the other modalities she uses (such as EMDR). If you would like you can click on this link to watch a video about Somatic ExperienceClick if you would like to read Kris’s biography.

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