Somatic Experiencing®

Somatic Experiencing® was developed by Dr. Peter Levine, psychologist and biological physicist, to treat trauma.

Dr. Levine looked at autonomic nervous system functions to treat trauma. For example, we have all felt a surge of adrenalin with increased heart rate and respiration after a “close call.” A healthy autonomic nervous system will return to normal quickly after the threat has passed. Dr. Levine described the healthy autonomic nervous system as producing gentle and continuous oscillations between its sympathetic (active, energetic) and parasympathetic (relaxed) branches.

Our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems also drive the fight or flight emergency responses that are triggered by our reptilian and limbic brains when we are threatened. When the threat has passed, the healthy autonomic nervous system returns to normal. With traumatic stress, the normal cycles of the autonomic nervous system are disrupted and do not return to normal. Dr. Levine felt that when the autonomic nervous system remained in this state of sympathetic arousal, memory and arousal-based symptoms of trauma and PTSD resulted.

Somatic Experiencing® is a set of protocols designed to release this trapped energy. The therapist is trained to recognize the stages of incomplete fight or flight responses and help clients move through these stages and bring the process to completion, resulting in the restoration of healthy survival responses.

Somatic Experiencing® can help individuals who suffer from trauma and PTSD stemming from a wide variety of past experiences including childhood abuse and assault.

For more information on this healing therapy, contact a trained practitioner in your area.


Specific Techniques


Select a region to view to corresponding Somatic Experiencing® professionals operating there: