Westside Therapist is a group psychologists (psychotherapists) providing psychotherapy counseling. We are also a psychotherapy resource for adults and teens living in the Santa Monica area. We service the greater LA area with the majority of our clients from West Santa Monica, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and other area of Southern California. We can help with addiction and recovery, depression, anxiety and relationship issues. In the Santa Monica area, finding the right psychotherapist (psychologist) can make all the difference.

About SE

In Peter Levine’s book, Waking the Tiger (1997), he describes his observations of animals in the wild and how they instinctually recover from life-threatening situations. Somatic Experiencing (SE) practitioners believe that trauma symptoms are the effect of a disruption to the balance of the nervous system, and humans have an innate capacity for healing.

The key to understanding why these symptoms occur lies in our bodies. Levine discovered that even though animals are routinely exposed to potentially-traumatic events, they rarely suffer from traumatic symptoms. If an animal chased by a predator manages to escape its attacker, it literally shakes off the event and then rejoins the herd.

He also observed that in the case of an animal that doesn’t escape, its powerful survival energy drives the animal to flee. At the moment of capture it falls, immobile, to the ground. This state, called the freeze response, is a kind of altered state, which allows the animal to avoid suffering at the time of death. But it also has survival value—if the predator doesn’t kill its prey immediately, the animal may still arouse from its trance and escape.

This freeze state holds the key to understanding trauma. Once aroused, our survival responses of fight or flight need to come to successful completion for our nervous systems to return to a state of rest and equilibrium. When we’re unable to complete these responses, our nervous system defaults to this freeze state. The frozen, immobilized state may look calm on the outside, but internally it can be compared to what happens in a car if we step on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. A huge amount of energy is revving, usually below conscious-awareness, creating symptoms of trauma as we know them. Levine believes that SE restores the wisdom of the body.

For more information about Somatic Experiencing and its ongoing international trainings, please visit the website of the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute at www.traumahealing.com.