The Somatic Experiencing® method, developed by Dr Peter A Levine, is a physiologically oriented approach to trauma healing and recovery which seeks to restore resiliency throughout the individual system.
Acute stress from a perceived life-threat and/or cumulative stress can impair one's ability to function and may lead to unresolved trauma. Examples of stressors may include ongoing fear or conflict, emotional abuse, sexual or physical assault, loss, neglect, accidents, medical procedures, birth trauma, war, and natural disasters.
The Somatic Experiencing® approach supports the natural regulation of the autonomic nervous system, which underlies physical, emotion, and physiological functioning. Facilitating the completion of the self-protective fight, flight, and freeze responses may release trapped survival energy and address the underlying causes of trauma symptoms. The individual may then develop increased capacity and resilience, allowing the integration of previously overwhelming emotions and physical sensation.
"Only after we become capable of standing back, taking stock of ourselves, reducing the intensity of our sensations and emotions, and activating our inborn physical defensive reactions can we learn to modify our entrenched maladaptive automatic survival responses and, in doing so, put our haunting memories to rest."
- Bessel A van der Look, MD Cabot, Vermont, July 26, 2015 (From Peter A Levine, Trauma and Memory, Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2015), Foreward, xvii.