How did Somatic Experiencing (SE) come about?
SE was developed in response to the question, “Why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized?”1  Exploring the answer to this question leads us to better understand the nature of trauma in humans, while offering new methods for its healing.

Is Somatic Experiencing the same as Psychotherapy?

While SE is therapeutic, its roots lie in neurobiology, animal behaviorism, mindfulness, psychology and somatic practices.  It is being successfully used around the world by many different kinds of healthcare practitioners.

What’s the difference between stress and trauma?

The body responds instinctually to emergencies with a fight/flight or freeze response.  When the intense energy of these survival instincts subsides at the end of an event, it is considered to be a stressful event.  When it persists and cannot dissipate, it becomes bound in the nervous system as symptoms of trauma.

What does an SE session look like?

Like traditional ‘talk’ therapy, SE usually happens as a conversation, though it will be more slowly paced and is focused on the biology (instinctual brain) rather than the biography (rational brain) of the client.  Touch is occasionally used, when it can support a client’s process.  Working cathartically with strong emotions is generally avoided.

The traumatic event happened a long time ago, why am I still affected?

Trauma does not reside in the event, but rather in the nervous system where it has been held.  These events can lie dormant for months or even years before resurfacing.  When traumatic events are consciously integrated, symptoms of trauma disappear.

Read more about Kristen’s Somatic Therapy Practice in Western, MA

1.  Peter Levine, “Healing the Tiger”, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 1997.

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