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Somatic experiencing therapy


The idea that “time heals all wounds” is a comforting concept, but it doesn’t always apply to trauma. As we’ve come to learn, trauma is really complex, and sometimes it can lead to physical and mental health challenges. In fact, the chronic pain and stress you feel could actually be based in past traumatic experiences. That’s the concept behind Somatic Experiencing (SE), a therapeutic option meant to increase confidence, resilience, and even hope in those who experience it. SE takes a holistic view of each person and aims to heal the past to create a healthier future. Makes a lot of sense when you put it that way, right? In the words of Brene Brown (queen of empowering us to be vulnerable), “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” It’s not easy, but for some people, it can bring healing in ways they never expected. That’s our kind of glow up! SE was developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, who combined biology, neuroscience, psychology, and indigenous healing practices into an approach designed to set you free from emotional and unconscious wounds. During a session, the therapist might gently bring up something that was traumatic for you in the past. You may experience physical sensations, such as tightening, heaviness, or dizziness, in response. The therapist may then help you safely process the memory so it doesn’t have such a powerful hold over your body and mind. When SE therapy sessions are over, many patients say they feel less physically and mentally stressed. You might be a good candidate for SE if past traumatic experiences intrude on your life today. Let’s say you jump at loud sounds, shut down when you’re faced with conflict, or feel a surge of adrenaline in stressful situations…but you don’t really know why you react that way. If that’s the case, this therapeutic modality might help. You might find that it calms your nervous system, brings you to a more balanced perspective, and even boosts your resilience.

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