Somatic Experiencing (SE) is one of the emerging methods in the field of somatic psychology that have been found to be very helpful in treating the effects of trauma. The technique is based on the work of Peter Levine, Ph.D., who studied animals in life-threatening situations. His book, Walking the Tiger, describes how animals are able to discharge these stressful experiences and go on with their lives. SE deepens our understanding of how in crisis or times of stress, human beings also use the part of the nervous system that chooses fight, flight or freeze in response to a given situation. If one or more of these impulses is thwarted, sometimes just because of the speed of an accident or natural disaster, then the energy of that response gets stuck and can create symptoms.

Dr. Fleming has integrated SE into her practice because she treats people with persistent pain and people with various psychological diagnoses who require or have been prescribed psychotropic medications, but who do not want to take them or are unable to tolerate their side effects. While not a quick fix, she has found that somatic experiencing is a powerful tool that can help a person work through physical symptoms or emotional stressors. The process becomes a partner with the nervous system in balancing the body. "It is an amazing experience," she says, "to actually feel the efforts of one's body to balance itself."


While useful for chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatic experiencing can also be helpful after a fall or surgery when the patient just doesn't feel like his- or herself or recovery is slower than anticipated. SE can also help someone 'get in touch' with their feelings and can provide a very different entry point into exploring depression. This is because, while not cathartic, it does lead to the expression of held and stuck feelings and impulses in a gentle and empowering way.


In an SE session the practitioner guides and encourages the client to become more aware of his/her body sensations or "felt sense". If difficult feelings, emotions or sensations arise, the client is invited to use identified resources, images and/or touch to work through unresolved situations or emotions. When a client presents with a specific emotional problem, general discomfort or pain, or in an acute or generalized anxiety state, SE can provide an outlet for, and often resolution of, these or other challenges. Some of Dr. Fleming's clients have chosen SE because they have exhausted talk therapy, at least for the current time or issue to be addressed.

For more information about Somatic Experiencing you can visit: or speak with Dr. Fleming directly about whether SE would be appropriate for you.