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SOMATIC EXPERIENCING

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a natural, gentle, and radical approach for the regulation of the nervous system, for healing symptoms originated by traumatic experiences, and, in general for learning how to transform everyday stress, and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

Understanding the basic mechanisms of activation and relaxation of our nervous system through the SE model, we are able to direct our experience away from stress, into the flow of life. These comprehensions alone are fundamental for the restoration of one's wellbeing.

 

The theory of SE was developed by Peter Levine, PhD, drawing from these main sources of information:

  • By observing how animals in wildlife deal with everyday threats.

  • Extracting conclusions from his many years of clinical experience working with war veterans and other severely traumatized clients.

  • By linking his observations with neuroscience latest discoveries.

 

By closely observing the healing processes of his clients as well the behavior of wild animals exposed to repeated threat, Peter Levine was able to describe in detail the subtle ways we naturally heal: in waves and cycles, gently connecting physical sensations, emotions and thoughts, and increasing tolerance in amounts that can be comfortably handled.

Trauma is the result of one or many overwhelming event(s) which occasionate the dysregulation of our organism. The extent to which a person is affected does not depend on the magnitude of the traumatic event itself, but on her capacity to self-regulate her nervous system. The good news that SE bring is that, by learning how to restore these self-regulation capacities, trauma symptoms can be totally overcome.

 

There are various categories of trauma, which we may group into:

  • Shock trauma - mainly due to a one-time event.

  • Developmental trauma (also called adverse childhood experiences) - the result of lack of attunement, abuse or negligence during our childhood.

  • Transgenerational trauma

  • Social or Collective trauma - due to events that happened within our social context, either during our lifetime or in the past.

 

 

All these categories of trauma can coexist, (most often they do). Each one has specific requirements, yet, there is a common ground for them all: they all require a gentle approach, which gives priority to the feeling of safety and finding the person's (or the group's) own ground, resources and empowerment. SE practitioners have both the knowledge and the training to stay in tune with the specific needs of each person, in every step of their healing process.

MY PERSONAL APPROACH

My personal approach to somatic integration always includes the relational (attachment theory) and the systemic perspectives which I find essential for the developmental, transgenerational and collective aspects of healing.  When dealing with adverse childhood experiences (developmental trauma), or if we are victims of an abuse or attack, not only we need to heal the biological stress responses, we also need to deal with the human/relational implications, and with the breaking of nature's laws. Even if we are dealing with one-of experiences of shock trauma, often, on top of dealing with the initial shock, we also need to deal with the lack of support or the inappropriate responses of caregivers, family or friends. 

 

The most important and personal aspect of my approach is my own healing and awakening journey, and how it manifests in my capacity to be present and deeply attuned. Having worked with renowned spiritual teachers from all over the world, today I've chosen to work very closely with Thomas Hübl, from whom I'm blessed to receive personal guidance and supervision. 

 

The main goal of my practice is the self-empowerment of my clients. Therefore, I usually teach basic notions of trauma healing, and provide a tailored tool-kit for self-growth and self-regulation. However, the deepest healing happens beyond understanding, through emotional resonance and deep connection. In some occasions, I still use hands on approaches, like Cranio Sacral therapy, which may be more effective in situations of recent shock, delicate states, and early trauma.

GISELLE CHARBONNIER

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