Somatic Experiencing® is a gentle body-based approach that helps those suffering from symptoms of overwhelm, chronic stress and trauma. Unlike talking therapies that focus on the story, SE® works with the autonomic nervous system which regulates our fight, flight, freeze response. This part of brain does not speak in words, numbers or concepts but rather the language of sensation and movement.
When overwhelmed, our nervous system goes into shut down and freeze as a way of coping. This is an important part of our survival response and we see it acted out by animals. When realising it can’t defend itself (fight) or get away (flight) an animal will feign death (freeze). After a short period of time in this frozen state they shake it off, discharging the survival energy in the body, and then carry on about their business. But as humans, unfortunately we can get stuck there and this can have devastating consequences. When survival charge gets locked in the body it can lead to symptoms of PTSD, chronic stress and syndromes.
In an SE® session, you will be encouraged to bring mindful attention to sensing what’s happening in the body. You might become aware of sensations like tingling, trembling, warmth, tightness or a softening and opening. You might also become aware of small movements or impulses in the body. This is how the body tells its story. By listening to and gently following what it’s telling us, we give the body a chance to complete and integrate the trapped survival energy, coming back to a state of safety. This renegotiation helps build both our resilience and our capacity for living a joyful life. It reconnects us to our true self and our vitality.