This section of our website is dedicated to professionals interested in the Somatic Experiencing Professional Training Program. Perhaps you have heard about SE from a colleague, attended an Introductory class or seminar, or read one of the books by Dr. Peter Levine or other FHE faculty. Whatever the case may be, you have come to the right place to learn more about this world-class training program.
What is Somatic Experiencing?
“Somatic Experiencing®” (SE) is a short-term naturalistic approach to the resolution and healing of trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine. It is based upon the observation that wild prey animals, though threatened routinely, are rarely traumatised. Animals in the wild utilise innate mechanisms to regulate and discharge the high levels of energy arousal associated with defensive survival behaviours. 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.
Although humans are born with virtually the same regulatory mechanisms as animals, the function of these instinctive systems is often overridden or inhibited by, among other things, the ”rational” portion of our brains. This restraint prevents the complete discharge of survival energies, and does not allow the nervous system to regain its equilibrium. The un-discharged “survival energy” remains “stuck” in the body and the nervous system. The various symptoms of trauma result from the body’s attempt to ”manage” and contain this unused energy.
SE employs the awareness of body sensation to help people ”renegotiate” and heal their traumas rather than relive them. With appropriate guidance with the body’s instinctive ”felt sense,” individuals are able to access their own built-in immunity to trauma, allowing the highly aroused survival energies to be safely and gradually discharged. When these energies are discharged, people frequently experience a dramatic reduction in or disappearance of their traumatic symptoms.
Because traumatic events often involve encounters with death, they evoke extraordinary responses. The transformation process can allow people to deepen their sense of self and others. The healing journey can be an ”awakening” to untapped resources and feelings of empowerment. With the help of these new allies, people can open portals to rebirth and achieve an increased sense of aliveness and flow. The experience can be a genuine spiritual awakening, one that allows people to re-connect with the world.
The very structure of trauma, including hyper-arousal, dissociation. and freezing, is based on the evolution of the predator/prey survival behaviors. The symptoms of trauma are the result of a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. By enabling this frozen response to thaw, then complete, trauma can be healed.
Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the dangerous event itself. They arise when residual energy from the event is not discharged from the body. This energy remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. Wild animals have the ability to “shake off” this excess energy. The key for humans in dispelling traumatic symptoms lies in our being able to mirror wild animals in this way. Dr. Levine has developed a safe, gradual way to help trauma survivors develop their own natural ability to resolve the excess energy caused by overwhelming events.
Professional Training Program
The SOSI Somatic Experiencing professional training is a part-time, three year program consisting of two, six-day training blocks each year. Each training day is comprised of lecture sessions, question and answer exchanges, demonstrations, small group work, and practise sessions.
Our participants come from diverse backgrounds, such as psychologists, social workers, bodyworkers, massage therapists, physical therapists, nurses, physicians, chiropractors, clergy, etc.
We require that an applicant be a member of a professional and regulatory body with a code of ethics and disciplinary procedure, and have an active practice. Exceptions are made for students of a recognised therapeutic training, or in internship programmes with faculty advisors, as well as for people working in high stress environments.
All applicants proceed with the understanding that this training is designed to train professionals in helping clients deal with trauma and is not intended to be a personal self-help course. However, due to the nature and depth of this work, participants are advised that personal trauma may be triggered during the training.
Given the nature and the high level of engagement required to work with trauma, we ask that participants commit to all three levels of the training cycle (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced), 36 days in total.
Class sizes are limited and candidates will be placed on a waiting list if registrations are received after the class has filled.
Once application packets are received and reviewed, if there are any questions as to the applicant’s eligibilbility they are forwarded to the instructor. The instructor may then contact the applicant for additional information. Please let us know if there are any specific questions that we might answer for you.
Consists of two 6-day seminars:
- 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.
Consists of two 6-day seminars.
Examine the different categories and causes of traumatic shock and approaches to
treating each case including:
- Global High Intensity Trauma: surgery, electrocution, hallucinogens, drowning, suffocation, strangulation, fetal distress, traumatic birth, intrauterine stress, and invasive medical procedures in utero.
- Inescapable Attack : wild animals, rape, war, bombings, physical abuse, mugging, incest, molestation.
- Physical Injury : surgery, anesthesia, burns, poisoning, hospitalisations, stabbing, gunshot wounds.
- Failure of Physical Defense : falls, high impact accidents, head injury.
- Emotional Trauma : severe neglect and abandonment, severe loss, ongoing abuse.
- Natural Disasters : earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods, social dislocation from the natural world and community.
- Horror : seeing an accident (especially with blood, gore), watching someone else be abused, raped, killed or tortured, killing or hurting someone yourself.
- Torture and Ritual Abuse : war torture, repeated rape in war, concentration camp, and systematic abuse (sometimes with the person drugged).
Consists of two 6-day seminars.
- Learn about the relationship of trauma to various clinical syndromes.
- Further integrate SE theory and practice into the specialty area of the therapist.
- SE bodywork in working with the different categories of trauma.
- Application of research in the psychophysiology of trauma.
- The ‘art’ of therapy.
- Special topics including work with children and infants.
If you wish to obtain a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) certificate, the following additional requirements must be met:
- Personal Sessions: 15 hours of personal sessions during the 3 year training.
- Supervision Sessions (Case Consultations): 18 hours of supervision, to include Individual and Group sessions during the 3 year training. Supervision sessions must be received from an approved supervision provider.
IndividualSupervision Sessions (Case Consultations):
For Individual supervisions, 1 hour equals 1 credit hour. Participants must receive a minimum of 4 hours of the required 18 hours of supervision in an Individual format. This will insure that all requirements will not be met without a participant ever personally presenting a case.
Group Supervisions (Case Consultations):
For group supervisions (3 or more people), 3 supervision hours equal 1 credit hour.
- A completed Registration
- A copy of your current Curriculum Vitae
- Two professional references
- A brief resumé of your interest in trauma
- A recent headshot
- Certificate of Attendance at a two-day “Introduction to SE®” workshop (can be submitted subsequently)
To apply for Registration, please contact us.
The Intermediate year of the 2017 Edinburgh training will be taught by Lael Keen, S.E.P.
Lael is an Advanced level Instructor of Somatic Experiencing® for the S.E.® Trauma Institute and a founding member of the A.B.T. (Associação Brasileira do Trauma—the Brazilian SE Association).
She has been a Rolfer since 1984 and teaches Rolfing and Rolf Movement for the Rolf Institute. Lael holds a 5th degree black belt in Ki-Aikido and is a teacher of both Ki-Aikido and Shin Shin Toitsu Do—Mind and Body Coordination, certified by the Ki Society International in Tokyo Japan.
She teaches in the US and Brazil and around the world, for both the Rolf Institute and the SE Trauma Institute. She is currently completing her internship in Art Therapy and lives in the Brazilian rainforest with her husband (also an SE teacher) and her daughter.
The Beginning year of the 2018 London training will be taught by Dr. Abi Blakeslee, S.E.P.
Dr. Abi Blakeslee is an SE trainer and faculty member of The Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute and Foundation for Human Enrichment.
She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical and Somatic Psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her dissertation, with a committee that included Dr. Daniel Siegel, generated original research on the role of implicit memory in healing trauma.
Abi integrates SE with clinical research, secondary trauma interventions, and the psychobiological principles of attachment and shock trauma. She treats individuals, couples, children and families in her clinical practice. She teaches and consults world wide and has ongoing online individual and group case consultations for all levels of Somatic Experiencing students and SEPs (www.abiblakeslee.com).
She continues to be involved with developing and implementing evidence-based SE research with non-tribal and tribal communities in rural Montana for the prevention of secondary trauma. Abi lives in Montana, USA, with her husband and enjoys the snow, mountains, and rivers with her three young children.