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Somatic Experiencing by Peter Levine

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Somatic Experiencing by Peter Levine

Somatic experiencing therapy (SET) is a type of psychotherapy designed to alleviate symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health concerns by focusing on the body. It combines talk therapy with physical interventions that can help clients address their body’s reaction to various issues. Developed by Peter Levine, a trauma therapist, SET has proven successful in treating PTSD and other forms of trauma.

The body can store emotional trauma and hold it in a way that causes dysregulation – much like our bodies store fear of tiger when faced with danger. Trauma not only causes the body to stay in a “freeze state,” but can also lead to other issues like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, loss of connection to our bodies or emotional dissociation.

Although this arousal may be uncomfortable for some people, it is necessary for healing to take place within the body. Somatic experiencing practitioners are trained in helping you integrate your body as you work through traumatic memories in sessions.

At an SE session, your practitioner will use a framework called SIBAM (Sensation, Imagery, Behavior, Affect and Meaning) to help reimagine experiences in your body that are linked to traumatic events. This may include body movements, hand gestures or imagery that is pertinent to your story and/or emotions.

Your therapist will observe your body as it adjusts to this new vision of yourself. Although this can be uncomfortable at first, you can trust them to be by your side and guide you through this transition.

Somatic experiencing therapy is an effective treatment for many mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and grief/loss. It may also be beneficial to those who have recently gone through a traumatic event and want to put their life back on track.

Our bodies store and release trauma as we experience it, with our brains not distinguishing between physical and emotional harm. If you were being chased by a tiger, your heart rate, breathing rate, and focus would increase to prepare for fight or flight mode.

Mental trauma can cause your brain to get stuck in a freeze response and it takes time for it to release this arousal and return your body’s equilibrium. That is why therapists use specific techniques to get at the source of your stress or triggers and teach you how to self-regulate on your own.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:
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