What happens in a typical Somatic Experiencing® session?

It is probably easier to say what and SE session is not!  

Unlike other approaches to working with trauma,  you will not be asked to tell your ‘story’ or examine the past. Nor will you be encouraged to think differently about your experience nor set goals to change it.  Traditional approaches tend to focus on cognition that is, how thought influences emotions and behaviour.  This involved a focus on the problem with a view to reducing symptoms, through changing self-beliefs.  It is a combination insight and behaviour change.  

In SE® the focus is on the present moment and how the client survives the experience, on capacity i.e. what you can do.  Through supporting increased awareness of body sensations, impulses, movement the clients works with the interrupted fight/ flight /freeze. to explore the underlying dysregulation that produces and maintains the distressing experience of the client.  Exploring the nervous system in this way, at a pace that supports the resolution of symptoms and distress to enable the return to a natural state of wellbeing.


What you will learn?

The overall movement of each SE session is :

  • how our bodies hold emotional distress and trauma often long after the event has passed
  • how to understand better what happens in the body at such times, and the steps that can be taken in daily life to change patterns
  • how to draw more easily on the inherent capacity to live well with an increasing sense of resilience.


Please ask  any questions you have about the work with your SE therapist. Your understanding is a vital part of an SE session.

An SE session in more detail

A typical SE session lasts an hour. There is time for you to settle and discuss what you would like to explore in the session.

By exploring physical sensations, feelings, thoughts and images as they arise, in a simple moment-to-moment process, it’s possible for highly charged stress energy in to deactivate naturally.  Deactivation may be signalled  through tingling, warmth, and involuntary muscle movements such as twitching or yawning. When change occurs deep in the nervous system, it affects every other part of us including the story of the event.

Does SE involve touch?

SE is referred to as a body oriented therapy because it attends to what is happening in the nervous system and how that impacts on every other aspect of the person.  

Touch can be part of a session and the practitioner will discuss it with you.

It is neither manipulation or massage. It is a touch "listens" to an supports the innate patterns, left in the wake to the traumatic experience, to complete.  

However, it is always the client’s decision whether or not this will happen.