Somatic Experiencing

Developed by: Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.


Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in “immunity’’ to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly “charged’’ life-threatening experiences. The theory postulates that the symptoms of trauma are the effect of a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It further postulates that the ANS has an inherent capacity to self-regulate that is undermined by trauma, and that the inherent capacity to self-regulate can be restored by the procedures of  Somatic Experiencing. The procedure involves a client tracking his or her own felt-sense experience.

~Excerpt from Foundation for Human Enrichment

Description of Somatic Experiencing Interview with Peter Levine, Ph.D.:

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