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Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing is a gentle, yet highly effective therapeutic practice that helps release traumatic stress from our lives. Traumatic stress is simply extra energy, stored in our bodies, left over from an overwhelming event. We do not have to have lived through a “major” trauma in order to have this extra energy - indeed most everyone has some. This extra energy tends to release itself through a variety of sensations and other physiological processes, which may lead to unpleasant or unbalanced thoughts and emotions.


Somatic Experiencing, developed by Dr. Peter Levine and inspired by studies of wild animals (who have natural ways of resolving traumatic stress), gives us tools to become more aware of the sensations in our bodies. These sensations, we learn, are often “signals” from our nervous system indicating how we can heal from traumatic stress.  The more aware we become of our sensations, the more our bodies are able to transform  stress into beneficial energy. We can become whole, balanced and in control of our lives again.


This process is based on the biological stress responses known as fight/flight/ or freeze.  These biological “codes” are embedded in our nervous systems and are very powerful. When we have not been able to respond appropriately to an overwhelming situation, such as a real or perceived threat, these ancient survival patterns express themselves through feelings, sensations and behavior that may not serve us. They often take the form of symptoms such as PTSD, depression, anger, anxiety, sleep disorders, addiction, chronic pain, phobias, eating disorders, or almost any other mal-adaptive response. Indeed, from the somatic perspective, these symptoms are actually our bodies natural way of releasing the extra energy left over from the incomplete survival response.


By engaging in active awareness of one's body and allowing it to resolve this energy in a safe, contained process, we can release it and return to a balanced system and a more present, embodied, joyful life. In this way, Somatic Experiencing can change your life. At 3 Shields Healing, I offer the option of using Somatic Experiencing on its own or combined with deep tissue massage or herbal therapy. Together we can maximize your ability to heal and become balanced again.

To find out more about Somatic Experiencing and Peter Levine's work, visit,

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