What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy and How Can It Help People with Anxiety?

Somatic experiencing therapy is a type of therapy that helps to treat anxiety disorders. It was created by Dr. Peter Levine in the 1970s and has been widely embraced as a great way to treat people who have experienced trauma. Somatic experiencing is a body-centered approach used to treat people who are “stuck” in the fight or flight response from a traumatic event. Today, trauma centers offering somatic experiencing therapy use this approach to get people”unstuck” in that fight or flight response, and help them rid their body and mind of the traumatic energy trapped within. 

What is an Example of the Fight of Flight Trap Somatic Experiencing Treats?

Here is an example of the fight or flight response that people can get stuck in, and that somatic experiencing therapy treats: imagine a deer getting lightly struck on the hip by a passing car, but the deer doesn’t die. The deer will likely fall to the ground and stay down for a few minutes, and then get up in a standing position. Then he will shake like crazy for a few moments, and then carry on with the rest of his day. The violent shaking that the deer does is his way of releasing that traumatic energy; it is an animal instinct that creatures use to heal themselves from traumatic energy. Since people don’t have that programmed instinct to do the same and get the same results, therapists use the somatic experiencing method to help people free themselves from that anxiety. 

What Makes Somatic Experiencing Work to Treat Trauma and Anxiety?

What ultimately enables somatic experiencing to successfully treat trauma and anxiety disorders is its ability to engage the interactions between one’s mind and body. At Serenity Trauma in Malibu, for example, a somatic experiencing therapist will execute interventions with the goal to pacify the person’s nervous system and orchestrate an arena of ease where the healing process can roll out in a peaceful manner. As this happens, somatic experiencing changes PTSD by unleashing the traumatic shock as wounds heal that are rooted in early developmental attachment trauma. Somatic experiencing therapists will establish a framework and tap into the specific moment where the patient became stuck in their fight or flight response. 

Somatic experiencing strives to hone in on two specific formats of stress: various types of trauma are able to manifest as acute stress from the idea of a life-threatening scenario, or as the end result of collective stress. Both stresses are strong enough to disable a person to the point that they are unable to conduct themselves in a normal manner in their daily routine. Somatic experiencing therapists can enter the patient’s state of being and fears and help the person come to terms with the roots to expel anxiety and trauma from the brain and body. 

Is Somatic Experiencing Therapy Right For Me?

Only a trained therapist can determine if somatic experiencing therapy is right for you. Trauma centers in Malibu, CA like Serenity Trauma offer consultations in which a somatic experiencing therapist will delve into your history and medical records, and together you will determine if this type of therapy is the right approach. If it is not, there are scores of other anxiety treatment, and one may be your better fit. Just make sure to reach out and get help today.

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