somatic experiencing

Somatic Experiencing®

Somatic Experiencing® is based on the work of American psychotherapist Dr Peter Levine, who believes trauma is primarily biological – a physical phenomenon – not an incurable disease. His theory is based on observations of wildlife. Animals are regularly threatened with death yet rarely traumatised; their survival instinct kicks in, flooding their body with highly charged energy ready for fighting back, running away or playing dead. When the threat’s passed, that intense energy is discharged, and the animal returns to full normal health.

We are all equipped with the same capacity to overcome an overwhelming experience, yet we also have an upper rational brain that frequently ‘rejects’ the powerful primal instinct of the body. The result is that huge fight/flight/freeze energy gets trapped in our nervous system where it can lead to all sorts of symptoms, sometimes immediately, sometimes not until years later.


What is trauma?

Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of chronic anxiety, ongoing fear and conflict. Somatic Experiencing® teaches that trauma is not caused by the event itself but rather develops through the failure of the body, psyche and nervous system to process adverse events.

How does Somatic Experiencing® work?

Somatic Experiencing® facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.

“I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening — a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation.”
Peter A. Levine

Somatic Experiencing® does not require the traumatised person to re-tell or re-live the traumatic event. Instead, it offers the opportunity to engage, complete and resolve (in a slow and supported way) the body’s instinctual fight, flight, freeze and collapse responses. Individuals locked in anxiety or rage then relax into a growing sense of peace and safety. Many of those stuck in depression gradually find their feelings of hopelessness and numbness transformed into empowerment.

Somatic Experiencing® catalyses corrective bodily experiences and contradicts feelings of fear and helplessness. This resets the nervous system, restores inner balance, enhances resilience to stress, and increases people’s vitality, equanimity and capacity to actively engage in life.

What happens during a session?

Sessions are both educational and therapeutic, leading to a reduction in symptoms and a return to a more profound sense of psychological, emotional and physical well-being. Specialist consensual bodywork and touch, through clothing, may be used, with the client either seated or lying down. This helps support the healing process and enables tracking of body sensations, allowing the nervous system to safely release trapped survival energy in a slow and manageable way.

somatic experiencing in hampshire trauma
"I had the fortune to find Sarah and receive her treatment when my back had completely given up due to shock and trauma. When I saw her the first time I was in agonizing pain, very little mobility and deep anguish. During the first session I had a massive shift in feelings and emotions and very quickly the pain in my back dissipated to the point I could move freely the next day and for the next week after that, relief that has lasted over time, with very little relapse. I have stopped having ruminating thoughts related to the event that had caused my back to freeze in the first place, and for the first time since I can say I’m over what happened!"
“A true blessing that I found Sarah. I went through a lot of trauma in a short space of time. A difficult delivery of my baby and not long after, I underwent two eye surgeries due to retinal detachment. My body was in a constant state of anxiety and hyper-vigilance. As such, I started to develop sleep issues. Sarah has helped me tremendously to get back to a state of calm. After her sessions, I instantly felt the anxiety and stress melting away. Over time my sleep has massively improved. In addition, I’ve learned a lot from her, including how to become more present and grounded. Thank you Sarah for making a big difference in my life.”

The Ytene Healing® approach

The Ytene Healing® approach offers Somatic Experiencing®, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Osteodouce and Reiki and Animal Reiki to both human and animal clients, either in combination or independently.

The aim is to optimise the benefit for you and help you access your inherent health, which unfortunately can become trapped in the body as a result of trauma. Working slowly, respectfully, and at a pace you are comfortable with, I facilitate as physical and emotional patterns and restrictions in the mind/body system are released, enabling a shift towards physical and emotional equilibrium.

All the therapies offered are gentle due to their nature but can elicit profound healing. I guide you through the session at a pace which allows time for titration, pendulation and integration. We may pause occasionally for you to reattune to any shifts which have taken place, or I may encourage you to move your body a little to facilitate any integration as required.

Contact me to book an appointment or find out more about the therapies I offer.

Please remember to check with your doctor or vet first if you have any concerns regarding the health of a family member or your animal.

Somatic Experiencing® sessions are intended to complement, not replace, the relationship you have with your medical practitioner. If you have or suspect you have a health problem, please see your Doctor.

© Ytene Healing® 2023