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Somatic Experiencing (SE) Therapy
Transforming Trauma and Stress-related Conditions
Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a gentle, body-centred approach used for healing symptoms of trauma, chronic stress and stress-related disorders.
It does not require you the client to re-tell or re-live traumatic events. Instead it offers you a compassionate space to reconnect with your body and gradually release symptoms of trauma and stress.
I will guide you to gradually track body sensations in a way that feels manageable and supportive. When our nervous system begins to settle, we start to feel better in our body, build resiliency to stress, regain a sense of wholeness and inner balance and increase our capacity for vitality.
Common symptoms of trauma and stress that SE can help:
- chronic pain
- chronic fatigue
- sleep disturbances
- anxiety and depression
Area of focus
- Sexual Trauma
- PTSD, Complex PTSD & Early Developmental Trauma
- Women in Addiction Recovery
What is an SE session like?
Somatic Experiencing is a collaborative healing process; an interactive, body-centered conversation between you, your body and me, your therapist. Healing happens in connection by nourishing a compassionate, safe relationship with your body. Together we create a safe space for your nervous system to regulate, re-set and settle.
In a Somatic Experiencing Session, you and I will sit down together with the intention of reconnecting you with your body to slowly notice how your experiences feel in your body. This a compassionate process where sensations in your body can be felt gradually, in manageable, “bite-size pieces.” I will gently and skillfully guide you through tracking your body sensations so that that your nervous system can settle or regulate areas in your body that have been activated by chronic stress or acute trauma.
Do SE sessions involve touch work?
SE Touch is one aspect or tool that can be used during your Somatic Experiencing Session. We will first discuss what area of the body we will work with. You have the choice of laying on a table, remaining seated in your chair or perhaps laying on a yoga mat. Unlike some types of bodywork, you are always clothed in an SE session.
SE Touch is a quiet process where my hand is held still. Like all SE sessions, I will guide you as you track your body sensations. Using touch is not a necessary component of your session- the decision is always yours. Touch can be a helpful way to connect to your body and regulate your nervous system. Each person and each session are unique.
Areas that touch can be particularly helpful:
- Working with Early Shock Trauma, Early Developmental Trauma or Complex Trauma
- Helping a client learn to differentiate between appropriate, caring touch and inappropriate, harmful touch
- When the use of verbal language is limited, either due to disability or language
What types of trauma can SE help?
In Somatic Experiencing, we do not define by the event itself but look for the roots of trauma in the physiology of our nervous system. Our nervous system is very good at responding to potential threat whatever the stress may be. Sometimes the threat is from an acute incident such as fall, car accident or an assault. Sometimes it may be a result of chronic daily stress we experience in our relationships or in doing our job.
As human beings we don’t readily settle our heightened nervous system and come back down to rest after being activated by threat and stress. When that happens, what can show up over time are various physiological symptoms that are the body’s way of coping and managing high levels of activation in our body. Chronic pain and fatigue are common symptoms of dysregulation. Others can include digestive issues, headaches, mental fogginess, lack of motivation or poor sleep patterns such as insomnia.
Elisa Peterson, MEd, SEP
For Somatic Experiencing students:
I am a SE Personal Session Provider at the Beginning and Intermediate level
1 Hour Somatic Experiencing Session: $120 +GST
Sliding scale is available: please Contact Elisa.
SE Appointments: Virtual and In-Person
In-person appointments are offered at Canopy Integrated Health located in North Vancouver, BC.
Elisa Peterson is a very gifted healer and facilitator. She effectively uses her acquired knowledge and intuitive skills to empower one on their healing journey. As a counsellor, I would not hesitate to refer my clients to her.