Hi everyone, here is the part 2 insert of understanding Somatic Experiencing (SE). Enjoy!
- What does somatic experiencing encompass, and are there any (scientific?) principles that it’s based on? Who is it for (or not for)?
Yes, as the founder of SE – Dr. Peter Levine is a scientist, a lot of the concepts used in SE have a strong scientific basis from ethology, neurobiology, psychology, physiology and biology. SE consists of theory and practical tools to help individuals renegotiate their stress and trauma in a naturalistic manner. The content is extensively trauma focused.
Two commonly heard concepts of SE are “pendulation” and “titration”. Dr. Peter Levine coined the term “pendulation” to explain the biological rhythm of the nervous system to shift between expansion and contraction, from chaos to order, from disorganisation to organisation. While the term “titration” comes from Chemistry, in SE it is about working with minimal perturbation – renegotiating arousal energy using small amount of activation that is in the nervous system. In addition, SE draws a lot of concepts from the Polyvagal Theory developed by Dr. Stephen Porges.
I would say SE is for anyone as long as we have a living body. SE is an approach that work with the human body and occasionally, the discharge that is release in the process can be taxing for the body. Some of the clients I see are individuals who had sought talk therapy for a long time and decided to explore somatic work. Some categories of trauma which SE can be helpful in processing are: developmental trauma, motor vehicle accident, medical trauma, falls, pre & peri natal and birth trauma.
I would refrained from using SE for individuals who are still recovering from physical injuries or receiving any form of treatments which could take a toll on the body (i.e: chemotherapy, dialysis, surgery). As the body is focused in recuperating during such times, we do not want to process any stress or trauma related issues. However, resourcing could be explored to help individuals heal better. Resourcing in SE can help the individual in feeling calmer and less activated and create greater capacity for self-regulation. It would be wonderful for these individuals to explore using SE after their treatment, so as to support their bodies to discharge any residual stresses from the treatments.
Stay tune for more!
About the contributor
Dominica is a psychotherapist at Soulmatics. She is also a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and a certified TRE Provider. She enjoys integrating body-oriented approaches in the therapeutic process to help those who come to her to have a more holistic and experiential process. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing with her pet dogs – Kopi & Xiaobai.