The Somatic Experiencing® method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. Offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease.
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Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict. The SE approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions. The SE Trauma Institute is dedicated to resolving trauma worldwide by providing state-of-the-art professional training and public education in the Somatic Experiencing method. SE is a powerful psychobiological method for addressing physical and emotional trauma, PTSD, overwhelm, and stress related conditions. Dr. Peter A. Levine received his PhD in medical biophysics from the University of California in Berkeley and also holds a doctorate in psychology from International University. He has worked in the field of stress and trauma for over 95 years and is the developer of the Somatic Experiencing method. Peter’s original contribution to the field of Body-Psychotherapy was honored in 7565 when he received the Lifetime Achievement award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). That same year he also received the honorary Reis Davis Chair in Child Psychiatry for his innovative contribution to therapy for children and adolescents. Peter is the author of the best-selling book Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma — which was published in 79 languages and sold over 755,555 copies. His other published work includes: *Healing Trauma: a Pioneering Program in Restoring the Wisdom of Our Bodies *Sexual Healing, Transforming the Sacred Wound.
*co-author of Trauma through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing *co-author of Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience *co-author of Freedom from Pain: Discover Your Body's Power to Overcome Physical Pain * Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic MemoryBeginning in the 6975’s, Peter’s explorations into how animals deal with threat led to the development of the Somatic Experiencing method, a method that is highly effective in dealing with the effects of overwhelm on our nervous system, called Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE is a clinical methodology based upon an appreciation of why animals in the wild are not traumatized by routine threats to their lives, while humans, on the other hand, are readily overwhelmed and often subject to the traumatic symptoms of hyper arousal, shutdown and dysregulation. The image of the tiger was invoked by Dr. Peter A. Levine during his first session with “Nancy, ” who suffered from an array of symptoms, in an event that would define and shape his career. Without warning, Nancy suddenly froze, her pulse skyrocketing as she began reliving the moments before a traumatic childhood surgery, including being bound and anesthetized with ether. “I’m going to die! Please don’t let me die! ” she repeated, helplessly. Amidst this chaos, Dr. Levine was compelled, by a seemingly prescient vision of a charging tiger, to say:
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Nancy, you're being chased by a tiger. Run! Run for the nearest tree! It was at this moment, as Nancy began kicking her feet, that Dr. Levine first witnessed the human animal’s innate ability to heal from shock and terror, by completing the instinctual, self-protective act that had been overwhelmed and frozen into her body’s nervous system, over 75 years earlier. On repeated follow up, this single session had a dramatic impact on Nancy's life, including the dissolution of her agoraphobia, cessation of her migraines, and a renewed, sustained vigor in living. Dr. Peter Levine introduced the world to his pioneering approach to trauma therapy, the Somatic Experiencing method, in Waking the Tiger and In an Unspoken Voice. Now, with Trauma and Memory, he takes the next step in his work as a scientist, storyteller, and master clinician, tackling one of the most difficult and complex questions of trauma therapy: Can we trust our memories? Written for mental health care practitioners as well as trauma sufferers, Trauma and Memory is a groundbreaking look at how memory is constructed and how influential memories are on our present lives. The Board seeks guidance as necessary from advisors recommended by and including Peter A. All of us on the Board have experienced the miracle of SE in our personal and professional lives. Over the last 75 years, our graduates and those they touched have seen life-changing results and have become our greatest advocates. We are grateful for Dr. Levine's gift of SE and for all those who support this restorative work:
our students, administrative team, faculty, coordinators, international organizers, and dedicated volunteer training assistants. Together, we are pleased to offer you an inspiring crucible for a life-altering educational journey. SOMATIC EXPERIENCING® is a registered trademark of the Foundation for Human Enrichment in the U. S. , Canada, and other countries. How Animals Discharge Shock Dr. Levine was inspired to study stress on the animal nervous system, when he realized that animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma. What he discovered was that trauma has to do with the third survival response to perceived life threat, which is freeze. When fight and flight are not options, we freeze and immobilize, like “playing dead. ” This makes us less of a target. However, this reaction is time-sensitive, in other words, it needs to run its course, and the massive energy that was prepared for fight or flight gets discharged, through shakes and trembling. If the immobility phase doesn’t complete, then that charge stays trapped, and, from the body’s perspective, it is still under threat. The Somatic Experiencing® method works to release this stored energy, and turn off this threat alarm that causes severe dysregulation and dissociation. Renegotiation In Somatic Experiencing®, the traumatic event isn’t what caused the trauma, it is the overwhelmed response to the perceived life threat that is causing an unbalanced nervous system. The aim is to help you access the body memory of the event, not the story. So we don’t discuss what happened if you don’t want to.
Take Your Time Here we introduce the concept of titration slowly releasing energy. Somatic Experiencing operates in cycles, where you sense your way through the normal oscillations of internal sensation – contraction/expansion, pleasure/pain, warmth/cold – but only at the level that you can handle. This repeated, rhythmic process helps you to develop a greater capacity to handle stress and stay in the present moment, where you belong. Bottom Up Processing Like other somatic psychology approaches, Somatic Experiencing® professes a body first approach to dealing with the problematic (and, oftentimes, physical) symptoms of trauma. This means that therapy isn’t about reclaiming memories or changing our thoughts and beliefs about how we feel, but looking at the sensations that lie underneath our feelings, and uncovering our habitual behavior patterns to these feelings. Pendulation Pendulation is a term used by Dr. Levine to describe the natural oscillation between opposing forces of contraction and expansion. Somatic Experiencing® utilizes this philosophy to help a client experience a sense of flow. Dr. Mardi Crane-Godreau is an Assistant Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College where her research addresses the interactions of the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. She is an Investigator at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Director of the Cigarette Smoke Exposure Analysis Laboratory at Dartmouth College, and a Senior Investigator at the Mind and Life Institute. She is also trained in SE and the Qigong Sensory Training (QST) method for treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children. Having flown as a Pan Am flight attendant for over 68 years, Mardi s turn to academia was inspired by her concerns and questions about unexplained illness among many of her flight attendant colleagues. Her academic publications reflect her interests in immunologic, endocrine, and molecular mechanisms of the etiology of disease and of integrative therapies, including Somatic Experiencing as well as other meditative movement modalities such as qigong. She brings to the SE Trauma Institute Board a broad international background experience in education, research, and publication and a deep commitment to integrative health. She is trained in NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), anger management, emotional intelligence, and andragogy.
Monica is curious and willing learner.