Somatic Experiencing

What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a holistic therapy approach developed by Dr. Peter Levine, designed to treat and resolve symptoms of trauma and stress-related disorders. This body-oriented therapy is grounded in the understanding that trauma symptoms are the effects of instability in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). SE facilitates the release of trapped or bound energy in the body and helps individuals renegotiate their experiences rather than reliving them.

Somatic Experiencing offers a powerful path to healing and recovery for those affected by trauma, promoting long-term healing by focusing on the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. This approach can be integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other therapeutic modalities, offering a robust framework for treating trauma in a holistic and body-centered way. Mary Ortenburger is currently a SEP in training with Somatic Experiencing International, and is in both training modules as well as mentorship. She is projected to graduate and become a certified Somatic Experiencing Professional in 2026.

Somatic Experiencing in Practice

SE is implemented through a gentle and structured approach to therapy that emphasizes physical sensations within the body. Unlike traditional talk therapies that focus primarily on cognitive or emotional aspects of trauma, SE shifts the focus to the body’s physical responses. During sessions, therapists guide clients to develop awareness of their bodily sensations, known as “somatic experiences.”

Therapists trained in SE use a variety of techniques to help clients track their physical sensations and encourage the release of tension through gentle movements or exercises. This process is typically slow and controlled, ensuring that the client remains within their window of tolerance, which is the optimal zone of arousal where they are able to process trauma without becoming overwhelmed. Some of the benefits of SE include:

-SE helps restore balance to the autonomic nervous system (ANS), leading to a reduction in trauma symptoms such as anxiety, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbances. Clients often experience increased resilience and greater capacity to manage stress and emotional responses.

-SE facilitates the release of energy and tension that are typically held in the body following traumatic events. This release can reduce physical symptoms such as chronic pain and stiffness.

-Clients become more attuned to their bodies’ needs and signals, which can lead to better self-care and healthier choices.

-Through increasing awareness and release of bodily tensions, clients often find they have a greater ability to regulate their emotions.

-SE can help individuals renegotiate attachments and improve interpersonal relationships affected by trauma.

My Qualifications

  • • Licensed MFT
  • • MFC #47955
  • • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist
  • • Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor
  • • Certified EMDR Therapist
  • • Tri Lingual Capabilities
  • • 15+ Years of Experience
  • • Professional Associations:

  • Professional Associations

    My Office / Location

    219 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Suite 201
    Claremont CA 91711
    Phone: (562) 281-7752