What is Somatic Experiencing®?

Somatic Experiencing® is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, resulting from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma.

SE™ Approach to Healing

SE™ offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses, and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others.


  • In healing trauma, it is much more likely that the psyche will learn from the body, and not the other way around.
  • Slow "take your time" and gentle approach
  • Does not over focus on memories or verbal details
  • Practitioner cultivates a loving and kind presence
  • Validating and supportive
  • Leans toward a focus on the body and sensations in small amounts at a time to build capacity to handle stress

Extracts from the Somatic Experiencing® web site www.traumahealig.org

Dr. Levine was inspired to study stress on the animal nervous system, when he realized that animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma. What he discovered was that trauma has to do with the third survival response to perceived life threat, which is freeze. When fight and flight are not options, we freeze and immobilize, like “playing dead.” This makes us less of a target. However, this reaction is time-sensitive, in other words, it needs to run its course, and the massive energy that was prepared for fight or flight gets discharged, through shakes and trembling. If the immobility phase doesn’t complete, then that charge stays trapped, and, from the body’s perspective, it is still under threat. The Somatic Experiencing® method works to release this stored energy, and turn off this threat alarm that causes severe dysregulation and dissociation.

In Somatic Experiencing®, the traumatic event isn’t what caused the trauma, it is the overwhelmed response to the perceived life threat that is causing an unbalanced nervous system. The aim is to help you access the body memory of the event, not the story. So we don’t discuss what happened if you don’t want to.

Somatic Experiencing operates in cycles, where you sense your way through the normal oscillations of internal sensations – contraction/expansion, pleasure/pain, warmth/cold – but only at the level that you can handle. This repeated, rhythmic process helps you to develop a greater capacity to handle stress and stay in the present moment.

ABOUT STEPHANIE's Style and approach:

The basis for all my work is empathy,  validation,  and curiosity.  I can incorporate hands-on techniques and even yoga practices into the session if you want or need it.  We will discover together what can support you.
You do not have to retell your trauma history if you do not want to. 

My friends, clients, and students have told me that I have a friendly, genuine personality, and "keep it real."

I have experienced my share of trauma!

 Through SE™ sessions and practices, we can allow our body to complete what was incomplete in our fight, flight, or freeze responses. Our nervous system and psyche can become more resilient and present to new life moments.

The Somatic Experiencing® trauma resolution  modality is perfect for me! I have always been oriented toward self-awareness through body centered practices such as: yoga, meditation, bodywork, dance, breathing practices, and various forms of exercise. I have 25 years experience in the field of bodywork, massage therapy, yoga, and world dance. 

Through my Devalila yoga teacher training program, I have certified over 275 yoga teachers. Yoga books that I have written and published  include, "Yoga at Your Wall," and "Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting." My latest book in progress is called, "Insights from a Codependent Yogi."
I look forward to meeting you and  collaborating on this journey toward wholeness,  well-being, and authenticity.

Give me a call soon, and let's talk. 908-310-9666



          © Stephanie Ann Pappas, 2017-2018.