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Somatic Experiencing Therapy: The Revolutionary Technique for Trauma Release

What Is Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Trauma can take hold of your life with an ever-tightening grip that makes it difficult to enjoy the things you once loved. Somatic experiencing therapy can help release that trauma so that you can get back to living your life. 

But what is somatic experiencing therapy? How is it used in trauma treatment? Let’s explore this form of alternative therapy, its exercises and its benefits.

Somatic experiencing therapy uses the mind-body connection to help patients release past trauma. Along with talk therapy, this form of therapy uses exercises to help patients learn how to regulate their emotions, reduce their symptoms and improve their sense of well-being. 

What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

Somatic experiencing therapy is a form of body-centric therapy that uses a combination of physical therapy and psychotherapy to release trauma. Along with talk therapy, physical techniques are used to help patients release built-up tension that can affect a person’s emotional and physical well-being.

Somatic experiencing therapy can help with:

Those who are suffering from repressed trauma can undergo somatic therapy online or in person.

How Does Somatic Experiencing Therapy Work?

It is believed that trauma held within the body can lead to emotional dysregulation. Through somatic experiencing therapy, it’s possible to release that trauma that has become trapped within the body.

Peter Levine, a developer of somatic experiencing therapy, posited that people could become trapped in a “freeze” state when they experience trauma. Levine believed that people remained frozen in certain areas of their lives where they’ve had a traumatic experience. 

The purpose of somatic experiencing therapy is to redirect the person’s energy in a healthier direction, help patients develop the tools they need to regulate their emotions and move out of the fight or flight state.

Here are some of the core principles behind this form of therapy:

  • The mind and body are intimately connected. Whatever is felt in the mind will also be felt in the body.
  • Repressed memories can continue to impact your body physically, even if those memories are forgotten. These memories must be felt so that they can be fully processed. Until they are felt, they will continue to do damage.
  • To process memories, the patient must feel the physical sensations associated with the traumatic events to access and process the body’s memory of the incident.

One of the main goals of somatic therapy is to help the patient return to the present moment. This goal can be achieved through various exercises aimed at redirecting the person’s energy.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Somatic Experiencing Therapy Exercises

There are several exercises that patients can use to help them move out of the fight-or-flight state and regulate their emotions. These include:


Grounding exercises help bring patients back to the present moment and take their minds off of traumatic past events.

Effective grounding exercises can include:

  • Tensing and relaxing different areas of the body
  • Running water over your hands
  • Breathwork, such as controlling how you inhale and exhale

Grounding can help bring you back down to earth and back to the present, helping reduce your symptoms and redirect your focus.


Somatic tracking is all about focusing on the symptoms without reacting to them. The goal is to simply observe and describe the symptoms and be aware of how they change from moment to moment. 

Initially, tracking exercises can feel overwhelming and challenging. However, with time and practice, the brain will learn that the symptoms and emotions are not a real danger. Eventually, the intensity of the symptoms will subside.

Learning how to simply observe your emotions and sensations can also help you better regulate your automatic nervous system.


In somatic therapy, titration is the practice of slowing things down. Traumatic events are often experienced at lightning-fast speed. The experience is too much, too soon. 

To counter this, titration slows things down a bit. It breaks the event into small pieces, allowing patients to pause and notice sensations in the body that are associated with the event.

Titration is an effective and safe way to deal with trauma and face it in degrees, rather than all at once.

Benefits of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy

Somatic experiencing trauma therapy offers many benefits, including:

The Release of Traumatic Memories

When successful, somatic therapy allows patients to finally release the traumatic memories that have kept them in a frozen state. The release and resolution of these memories can reduce symptoms and help patients learn how to live in the present moment once again.

Better Regulation of the Nervous System

Focusing on the physical sensations of the body can help patients better regulate their nervous systems.

Improved Sense of Well-Being

As patients practice somatic experiencing therapy exercises, they learn how to become more aware and attuned to the sensations in their bodies. Improved awareness can lead to a better sense of well-being and a feeling of being in greater control.

Greater Resilience and Quality of Life

Somatic therapy can improve a person’s quality of life in many ways. As their sense of well-being and symptoms improve, they feel more inclined and motivated to participate in activities they once enjoyed. 

Through the exercises and practices associated with this form of therapy, patients learn how to adapt and cope with stress.  

How Does Somatic Experiencing Therapy Work

Improved Mobility

Trauma can sometimes make people freeze to the point where they cannot make certain movements. 

This kind of therapy can help these individuals learn how to let go of their repressed trauma and move parts of their body that were once restricted.

Summing Up

Somatic experiencing therapy takes a mind-body approach to trauma release and treating stress-related disorders. It uses physical sensations in the body to help resolve traumatic events and regulate the nervous system. 

Only by facing and truly feeling the physical sensations associated with the traumatic event can you finally start healing. Many people have experienced the power of somatic experiencing therapy, and you can, too. If you are a trauma survivor who is seeking healing, there is hope. Somatic experiencing therapy may help.



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