Somatic Experiencing® (SE®)

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Mr WJA Engelbrecht has been trained in Somatic Experiencing®. SE® provides a model of understanding and healing traumatic experiences, developed by Peter A Levine (USA). The focus of SE® is on how the body unshackles trauma and restores general wellbeing in a naturalistic way.
SE® is an effective neurophysiological-biological model in resolving PTSD, emotional trauma, overwhelming life events and extreme stress situations.

Trauma is one of the most misunderstood elements of human suffering. From time to time people will use the word trauma as a replacement term for a stressful day to describe stressful activities they went through. It does not mean that stressful events at work cannot be traumatic. It all depends on the person and his or her lifelong developmental experiences. Some people are more resilient towards traumatic experiences than others. It all depends on life-experiences from childhood to present.
A traumatic experience can be so stressful/devastating, in the event of the inability to run away or to protect yourself, that it is stored (frozen) in the body and nervous system, and virtually immobilise an individual. Various psycho-somatic ailments as well as psychological distresses can start to feature unknowingly - sometimes more eminent. Therefore in the SE-community we believe that traumatised persons may show bipolar reactions - both their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) are activated simultaneously (a bipolar response - the PNS has lost its calming function). Such patients have high levels of activations and are easily triggered into outbursts and or anxiety attacks with high levels of activation. When a person shows symptoms of High Activation Levels, it can be constituted that early trauma has happened, or that the person was subjected to prolonged traumatic experiences. SE® also assists to restore these boundaries.

The Autonomic Nervous System consists of two important structures, which involves the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS - activates/excites us) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS - calming us down). It plays a vital role in our survival energy with other nervous sub-structures and brain structures.


Trauma (PTSD) is lately also referred to as Complex Trauma (C-PTSD) in cases of prolonged interpersonal trauma such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, torture, and chronic early maltreatment in a caregiving relationship (in most cases complex trauma is also related to developmental trauma as well). Earlier approaches to trauma healing have ignored the role of the body - these earlier models have attended to disturbances in affect and impulse regulation, changes in consciousness, changes in self-perception, relationship changes and changes in worldview. Today the role of the body in storing trauma is highly recognised. In younger children it may lead to attachment difficulties which has its basis in fear and may be visible in acting out, anger, aggression, withdrawal, depression, lack of empathy, and other anti-social behaviours. If not resolved it will continue into adult life. In the case of trauma (PTSD/C-PTSD) Somatic Experiencing® is utilised to restore the Fight-Fight-Freeze (Fornication and Feed as well) response through the body - unfreezing trauma. Through the body the lower brain functions can be accessed to restore the body-mind equilibrium. This is why it sometimes is difficult to treat trauma through traditional therapeutical models which involves higher cognitive functions such as language and executive functioning.

SE® uses the body to get access to the trauma center in the brain and restores affect, sensing, memory integration, impressions, attachment, behaviour, self-regulation, consciousness, self-perception, relationships, meaning and worldview and restores the trauma embraced by the body.