Somatic Experiencing
The Foundation for Human Enrichment
By Peter Levine, PhD.



Somatic Experiencing® (SE) offers a theoretical, clinical and short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of traumatic stress. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatized. Animals in the wild utilize innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviors. These mechanisms provide animals with a built-in ‘’immunity’’ to trauma that enables them to return to normal in the aftermath of highly ‘’charged’’ life-threatening experiences.

Developed by Peter A. Levine, Ph.D., SE is founded on neurophysiologic research that supports clients to ‘’renegotiate’’ and heal their traumas rather than relive them. This is accomplished by developing refined awareness of embodied and dissociated states through tracking the internal sensations that accompany images, behaviors, emotions, and beliefs.

When highly-charged survival energy bound in symptoms is processed through the lower brain structures, symptoms are relieved and self-regulatory capacity is improved. When danger is perceived, the body organizes an energetic defensive response. Traumatic symptoms arise when residual energy from this response is not discharged, leaving the nervous system disorganized and wreaking havoc on body, mind and spirit.

SE workshop participants learn to a) complete incomplete orienting, fight, flight and freeze responses; b) discharge high levels of activation by engaging the autonomic nervous system; and c) integrate lower brain sensory-motor experience with the mid- and higher-brain functions of emotion and cognition to restore self-regulation and appropriate social engagement.

This safe, gradual way helps trauma survivors reconnect with their own innate capacity to recover, whether from disorganized early attachment, episodic, or chronic traumatic events, in order to experience aliveness, vitality, and health in the here-and-now.

The Foundation for Human Enrichment (FHE) offers a 3-year training program in Somatic Experiencing for those in the helping and healing professions, to include psychotherapists, psychologists, medical doctors, chiropractors, nurses, EMT’s, MFT’s, CSW’s, massage therapists, body workers, school educators and counselors.

The complete Somatic Experiencing training program consists of three levels: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. The Beginning and Intermediate years consist of 3 modules, each totaling 4 days in length. The Advanced Level consists of 2 modules, each 6 days in length. Participants are also required to obtain 12 hours of personal sessions and 18 hours of case consultation during the 3-year course to meet certification requirements. Each Beginning &

Intermediate course provides 24 hours of instruction contact hours. Advanced courses earn 36 instruction contact hours.

In the Beginning level training the participant will:

• Understand the physiological basis of trauma.
• Learn about containment, resourcing and empowerment.
• Study tracking skills, titration and establishing continuity through the felt sense.
• Practice establishing defensive orienting responses, completion and discharge.
• Explore coupling dynamics, the elements of internal experience (SIBAM), and integrating experiential polarities, in order to restore creative self-regulation.
• Be able to identify, normalize, and stabilize traumatic reactions.
• Attain skills to avoid pitfalls of re-traumatization and false memory.
• Learn to uncouple fear from immobility; re-establish and maintain healthy boundaries.
• Investigate the transformative qualities of trauma.
• Integrate trauma work into ongoing therapy.
• Acquire short-term solutions to acute and chronic symptoms.

The following Beginning 1 level SE trainings are scheduled for California and Arizona:]

Beginning 1 - August 10-13 at the Aliso Creek Inn, Laguna Beach, CA. Contact Joan Luly, SEP at (858) 273-2240 e-mail  or Kathleen Love MFT, SEP (949) 338-6464,

Arizona: Beginning 1 - October 27-30. Contact Scott McNamara (602) 952-0748, e-mail

For additional information, visit

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