The renowned author, psychotherapist, and creator of Somatic Experiencing, Peter Levine, PhD, developed his work based on the principle that trauma takes deep root within our bodies. It gets trapped in our physical form. This is a fundamental reality that influences how we are able to fully address trauma and PTSD.
Simply stated, somatic experiencing therapy helps people heal from trauma.
It is a body-oriented therapeutic model. It offers a release of traumatic shock that comes from extreme life-threatening experiences—perceived or otherwise. These wounds are both emotional and physical.
Common instigators of trauma include a variety of misfortunes and tragic circumstances. This can include abuse (physical, emotional, sexual), neglect, natural disasters, war, ongoing fear and conflict, and more. These things may pass in the moment, but the self-protective motor responses and thwarted survival energy is bound in the body.
Our bodies hold on to the trauma.
The goal SE therapy is to release that stress—to release the hold our bodies have on the trauma. Somatic experiencing therapy helps increase a sense of awareness of our bodies.
Somatic experiencing therapy uses a “bottom-up” approach to gain access to memories and traumatic experiences. This means the treatment starts with bodily sensations before addressing thought processes. SE therapy uses the SIBAM model (Sensation, Imagery, Behavior, Affect, and Meaning) to achieve a more complete experience of yourself. Your experiences belong to these five different core components.
The trauma that is trapped in the body might lead to emotional dysregulation. The freeze response, our body’s natural defense against danger, is one aspect of this dysregulation.
The body cannot distinguish mental trauma from physical trauma. The freeze response can come in the form of cognitive and physical symptoms. This includes confusion, difficulty concentrating, slowed breath, and a decreased heart rate.
Somatic experiencing therapy does not require you to completely retell past trauma but you will be asked about some painful memories. This may cause you to feel triggered, which is a high level of energetic arousal in the body. You will learn skills to help you self-soothe when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Your therapist will conduct a pre-interview to ask about your health history and trauma history. They will also answer any of your questions about the treatment.
The therapeutic process involves evaluating how your body responds to trauma and reconnecting with yourself through the pendulation technique.
Pendulation involves switching between states of arousal triggered by a traumatic event and states of calm.
Somatic experiencing is safely practiced during your therapy session to become familiar with these feelings. Once you learn from these experiences, you will be able to recognize them and connect with your body on a primal level.
Life is full of ups and downs. How you or your loved one handles the tough times can have a drastic effect on your mental health. Lido Wellness Center is here to help when you feel that your life has become overwhelming and unmanageable. We are a partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient mental health facility that is located in beautiful Newport Beach, California.
If you or a loved one are struggling to balance your approach to life please contact us. Our mental health specialists at Lido Wellness Center can provide the professional help you or your loved one needs in order to make a life-changing difference for your future. We look forward to hearing from you.
I am not just renewed. I AM NEW. I am found new in this freedom that breaking up the trauma has brought. I feel a true sense of clarity and oneness to the highest degree ever in my life. I was able to fully fall into trust with Lido Wellness Center and your clinicians. I was mightily impressed by the overall integrity, clinical and administrative competencies. You instilled such confidence in me about the paths and processes that lead to deep healing. I leave better and strengthened on all levels.
Going to Lido Wellness Center gave me a second chance at life. It equipped me with the tools and resources necessary to live my life the best way I can. I wouldn’t trade my time at Lido for anything. It was priceless to me and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life. I’m eternally grateful to the team I had around me that was dedicated to my recovery.
Lido Wellness Center saved my life. I am endlessly grateful for the knowledgeable, empathetic, and supportive staff members that truly went above and beyond to provide a safe space to heal. Each staff member showed me kindness like I had never experienced before, and believed in me even when I was struggling to believe in myself. It is clear that the Lido Wellness Center team genuinely cares about every individual that walks through those doors, both during treatment and beyond through alumni services. Choosing to fully dive deep into treatment at Lido was one of the hardest and most rewarding decisions I have ever made, and I am now living a life that I never thought was possible.