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Somatic Experiencing

Body-mind therapeutic approach for trauma resolution and strengthening resilience


What is Somatic Experiencing ?

Stress, overwhelm and trauma are sometimes facts of life. They do not, however, have to be a life sentence. That is a guiding principle of Somatic Experiencing (SE).
SE is a life-work of Peter Levine, who developed thes mind-body therapy fourty years ago. His apporach builds on deep understanding of how human nervous system reacts to stress and trauma, as well as what is needed in order to re-establish equilibrium and balance.  In SE session the clients are guided to be in the present moment and tune in and cultivate their “felt sense”, a present moment bodily awareness (aka interoception), which requires practice, as it is not something everyone intentionally does. Bodily sensations, trackable also by the therapist in the quality of breath, posture or muscle tone can be divided into two main categories, constriction (e.g., tight, tense, heavy, burning) and expansion (e.g., light, airy, spacious). Often, an image, feeling, thought or an impulse to move, may be linked up to these bodily sensation. This amplified body memory can then be used in the therapy to work through overwhelming, stressful or traumatic experiences and issues in gentle and titrated (as opposed to katharsic) way. SE looks at the client from the perspective of heath and wholeness, seeking to find and strenghten what works well, what the client's resources are, not through the prism of pathology. 
As the clients become increasingly able to identify how different body parts hold sensations of constriction (e.g., heart palpitations, throbbing temples, tense neck), they learn how to alleviate these constrictions via various SE exercises, first practicing this in the therapy session. During this work, their body spontaneously discharges cumulated, unused, excess energy stored in the neuro-physiology.
This energetic discharge allows us to become better able to function, and to contain experiences and feelings of all kinds (including positive ones) without the nervous system becoming excessively burdened, overwhelmed or stressed. 

“The body has been designed to renew itself through continuous self-correction. These same principles also apply to the healing of psyche, spirit, and soul.”

― Peter A. Levine, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma

My journey towards Somatic Experiencing

Since my studies and early work experieces oriented to understand domestic violence and minimize its effect, I was expolring the impact of trauma on human psyche, mind and body. Together with my interest in trauma sensitive yoga and yoga therapy, I was expanding my horizons with studying crisis intervention, classical psychology, basics of biosynthesis, nevertheless after reading the book of Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger, it was clear to me that I want to be able to use the tools of Somatic Experiencing. In 2017 I moved to Israel and started my training under the International Trauma Healing Institute lead by Gina Ross, gradually integrating the Somatic Experiencing tools into my yoga therapy sessions and trauma-informed classes. In July 2020 I've became part of the assistent team in Israel and January 2022 I have finished the last module of the training. I am deeply grateful for the oportunities to learn also from other practitioners and teachers, such as Raja Selvam, Dave Berger or Peter Levine himself.

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