Somatic Experiencing™ is the life’s work of Dr. Peter Levine (author of Waking the Tiger) a world renowned trauma therapist.
Somatic Experiencing™ (SE) is a body oriented therapy that seeks to heal trauma, chronic stress and injury. SE explores physiological sensations or patterns (such as pain, tension or numbness) in a slow and safe way to both build capacity for goodness in the body and tolerance and processing of uncomfortable feelings.
SE helps the nervous system complete incomplete self defense mechanisms or contractions and allow for a healthier range of experiences. It’s a slow listening process to help build a feeling of safety and regulate our nervous systems.
It can be difficult to make things up as you go, moving through life without an anchor. This becomes especially difficult in the presence of stress and trauma. These things often leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to regulate our nervous systems. If we add on the pressures of our culture, to be efficient, busy and successful it becomes almost impossible to stay grounded in our bodies and work through some difficult physiological sensations.
Many of us are pulled in so many directions and our attention becomes divided. We lose ourselves, and lose being in ourselves. It becomes easier to just keep going and distract ourselves from what might be happening in our bodies. We can easily skip over areas of our bodies that are tight or contracted or have pain. We can ignore parts of our bodies that may be linked to traumas we have experienced.
Somatic Experiencing™ helps regain some of this body wisdom and helps us make contact with ourselves again – the part of ourselves that has never changed despite what we may have gone through. The practitioner helps guide this process so that the client can witness their own healing in a way that helps them understand themselves differently and start to experience the world in a different way.
As we start to explore the physiological sensations in our bodies we start to make contact with our whole selves. We begin to inhabit ourselves differently. As we explore stress, or pain or trauma we help our nervous systems process overwhelming events and begin to regulate differently. Perhaps there are incomplete self defense mechanisms that we can explore, or postural patterns or chronic pain, or tension in our muscles or joints. Maybe we have just ignored our bodies’ signals for so long we are simply confused about that we are feeling and are curious to know more.
Most of the adaptations our body has made for us are signs of a really intelligent system! These adaptations kept us alive, moving through the world. Some of these adaptations might have actually helped us become really successful in life! But they now may no longer be serving us. They become unsustainable and prevent us from living with more ease and options.
In a slow, careful and supported way, we start to unravel some of these tensions and adaptations. In this way, we may find interesting connections to events in our lives, we can explore emotions and sensations in a safe way, we can find sources of our pain and we can help our nervous systems regulate as we look to our bodies for wisdom. We can allow suppressed actions to show up and express themselves and ask the body what it longs for.
Through somatic work, we cultivate deep compassion for ourselves and our adaptations. From this point of view we can stop pathologizing these adaptations and imbalances in our system. We can begin to make contact with our own aliveness and we can start to orient towards the feelings of goodness in our body and in the world.
Please note: someone does not have to have a diagnosis of PTSD or even identify with the word trauma. This work is relevant for anyone looking to explore wellness and healing through the wisdom of their own body.
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner™
Lucy Vandenbrink is owner and operator of Three Quarter Moon Therapeutics and is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner™ having completed extensive training in trauma informed somatic therapy. She has been a registered Massage Therapist since 2007 and is a former birth doula and urban planner.
Lucy uses therapeutic touch and somatic awareness to explore what shows up in the body such as tension, pain, injury, or holding patterns. Lucy brings a healthy sense of curiosity and attentiveness to help guide her clients in their own healing.
Lucy is currently taking on new clients for Somatic Experiencing™ treatments.
Please contact Lucy if you have any questions regarding Somatic Experiencing™ at: