Somatic Tools for Self-Soothing

Psychotherapy Networker

Peter Levine Describes How Somatic Experiencing Helps Clients Self-Regulate

Often, traumatized clients find themselves becoming dependent on their therapists to help them handle their extreme emotional states. But according to Peter Levine, originator of Somatic Experiencing therapy, the key to helping clients achieve more autonomy is by giving them tools that enable them to better regulate their own body states.

In this brief video clip, Peter demonstrates a body awareness technique that includes loud, vibrating deep breaths to help clients minimize anxiety and self-soothe.

“The shutting down, collapsing response in trauma is associated with high vagal activity,” says Peter, referring to the vagus nerve that connects the brainstem with the heart. “This exercise shifts the messages that the gut is sending to the brain. It’s similar to a lighthouse making sounds to guide boats to safe harbor.”


Peter Levine is the developer of Somatic Experiencing and founder of the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. He’s the recipient of the USABP Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to trauma. This clip is taken from his session in our trauma video course:

The Trauma Treatment Revolution
This introduction to powerful trauma treatment approaches will give concrete strategies for incorporating them into your clinical work. Among the issues covered are:

  • The key differences between single-incident PTSD and complex trauma, plus which treatments are most effective with each

  • How to use your own healing presence to regulate your clients as they move deeper into processing their trauma

  • Concrete steps for creating safety in the early stages of treatment so that vulnerable clients aren't retraumatized

  • Details for creating right-brain-to-right-brain connection without allowing the therapeutic relationship to tip into disempowering dependency

  • Proven strategies for mobilizing clients’ resilience and tapping into resources offered by family and friends

  • Best practices for helping clients integrate the changes they experience in therapy into their everyday lives

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Topic: Anxiety/Depression | Trauma

Tags: complex trauma | family | grief | practices | PTSD | resilience | somatic experiencing | somatic experiencing therapy | therapists | therapy | trauma treatment | traumatized | traumatized clients

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