What happens in a typical Somatic Experiencing® session?
This is intended as a general guide, on the understanding that each SEP works in their own way to meet a client’s needs.
The aim of the SE Practitioner is to act as an impartial, compassionate support to help you feel safe, and facilitate the release of your trauma through your body.
You will not be asked to tell your 'story' or examine the past. Instead, you will be guided to gently release physical tensions, emotions and energy related to your trauma as they arise in the session, at a pace and in a way that best supports you return to a natural state of wellbeing.
What you will learn
The overall movement of each SE session is towards educating you in three regards:
- about the basic physiology of stress, emotional distress and trauma
- how to improve your awareness and understanding of what happens in your body at such times. And the steps you can take in daily life to control the patterns
- how to access the parts of you that are whole and functioning well so that you’re better equipped to cope with overwhelming states and face them with an increasing sense of power and resiliency.
Typically, you will sit comfortably opposite your therapist, given time to settle, and then asked what issue you’d like to work with.
You’ll then be guided to consciously explore - without judgment - related physical sensations, feelings, thoughts and images as they arise.
Through this simple moment-to-moment process - called tracking - it's possible for highly charged stress energy in your body to be properly engaged and released naturally. Examples of this discharge include tingling, warmth, and involuntary muscle movements such as twitching or yawning.
The result of this often subtle mobilisation can be immediate; the trapped survival energy at the root of your symptoms is freed, allowing a new relaxation to establish deep in your body and mind.
Does SE involve touch?
It can. SE is referred to as a body-based therapy because its focus is on the body rather than the mind. But it doesn’t necessarily involve touch. And where it does, it is simple touch - no manipulation or massage - intended to support your healing.
Should touch be beneficial to your session, the practitioner will discuss with you what is most appropriate to your process.
You are encouraged to bring up any questions you have about the work with your SE therapist.