Somatic Experiencing®/SE™ is not psychotherapy, but a body oriented approach with the aim to resolve trauma and shock by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations. Somatic Experiencing®/SE™ was developed by Dr. Peter Levine.
Body oriented traumatherapy according to Dr. Peter A. Levine
When we experience shock, we might lose contact with ourself. We remain in freeze and shock with the effect that we are no longer able to find our true way to unfold our full potential. Sometimes effects of such shocking and difficult events only appear years after the original experience. Symptoms of stress after traumatic events are not a sickness as such. They are a response to various of causes, such as
- Accidents (road or traffic accident, sporting accident, home and leasure accident, etc.)
- Medical operations
- all kind of violence (domestic violence, abuse, neglect etc.)
- Loss of a person
- Heavy illness
- Termination of job contracts
- Natural disasters (e.g. earthquake)
- and other difficult and overwhelming experiences.
«Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.» (Dr. Peter A. Levine)
It is important to mention that not everyone who experiences a difficult situation reacts the same way. It is possible that two people encounter the very same experience. One of them continues life as before, the other one remains in shock or collapse and develops symptoms that complicate life, sometimes days, months or even years after the original experience.
Polyvagal Theory by Professor Stephen Porges
Somatic Experiencing®/SE™ can only be fully understood in relation with the Polyvagal Theory developed by Stephen Porges. The Polyvagal Theory gives us an understanding on how our body reacts to various challenges. See more in this interview with Stephen Porges and Gunther Schmidt.
Additional information about Jacqueline Erb’s background, career and competences here.