What is Somatic Experiencing?
Somatic Experiencing was founded and developed in the last 40 years by Dr. Peter Levine. On safari in Africa, he observed that animals in the wild, though constantly threatened by predators, are rarely traumatized. These animals have built-in mechanisms to release huge amounts of stress after they are chased, injured or nearly killed. Within a matter of minutes they would be composed again, grazing, digesting and in a relaxed manner alert for the next danger. Human beings possess the same self-regulating processes, but due to social conditioning and shame we often inhibit these mechanisms, thereby reducing our capacity for healing. The process of Somatic Experiencing is one of uncovering this already present self-regulatory mechanism of our organism.
What Does a Somatic Experiencing Session Look like?
I offer Skype sessions so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Somatic Experiencing (further known as SE) is an awareness/mindfulness-based body-oriented therapy. What does this mean? First of all this means that the therapist is not the one with the answers, is not the one who knows, is not the one who heals. It is more like the therapist is simply present like an open space in which what is, has permission to be.
There is great healing possible in simply being present to what is. Therapy comes from the word “therapeia”, which is the Greek word for ‘healing’ in the meaning of “making whole”. True therapy means moving towards this wholeness.
In the conversation during a Somatic Experiencing session, you will be encouraged to include your body in the field of awareness, by placing your attention on your bodily sensations, a sensitive inner listening, and in so doing you will be led to discover the forces of self-regulation and healing. The discovery of this natural and intrinsic compassionate wisdom that is always present and active in our organism, is a powerful healing in itself. In the early stages you should feel a growing confidence in the safety of this process, not feeling overwhelmed or concerned that you are taking on more than you can. A good Somatic Experiencing Practitioner will work with you and your body/mind system in such a way that you will be able to manage and assimilate difficult experience in an empowering way.
“Working with Harry was like a revelation. I had never before experienced “presence’ as profound as that. It’s something not easy to put into words – and I imagine it is the fruit of so many years of dedicated spiritual practice – but the simple attention of someone who is TRULY with you is extraordinarily healing. It’s not something you can learn or fake, I realised, but something someone has to genuinely embody. It’s rare and precious to encounter this! What he shared was deceptively simple but went very deep. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Harry: he opened a door into another dimension. I went from a place of desperation and helplessness to embracing the possibility of reclaiming my life and my health.” Vaishnavi Brassey, Devotional Singer and Voiceworker
“I don’t know where to start with my thanks to Harry as there are so many! We met when I was at a very low point in my life and I didn’t really know who or where I was. I was fairly deep in depression and dealing with many repressed traumas which were still causing me a lot of discomfort mentally and spiritually, but Harry became a wonderful mentor to me and helped me navigate some fairly turbulent inner territory. With Harry’s help, I have learned how to find peace, even when everything around me is the opposite and most importantly I have learnt the art of discrimination, which enables me to practically understand who I really am, which is whole and complete!” Amelia Griffiths
“It is difficult for me to articulate how amazing my online counselling sessions have been with Harry Dijkshoorn . After only a few sessions with Harry already this combination of his counselling and Somatic Experiencing therapy has been a transformational experience for me. I have been plagued with depression and stress symptoms that caused my GP to suggest that I need anti-depressants. I have tried acupuncture, CBT counselling, taking herbs, taking CBD etc. and resisted the anti-depressants but I was seriously considering it until I found out about Harry’s work and thought I might as well try a session (not being sure it could even help me as I felt like a hopeless case). After just one session with Harry (by Skype) I felt like my whole life experience changed. Now, several weeks later, I feel like I am reframing my past experience and I am able to reframe my current experience also. I thoroughly recommend Harry for online counselling and Somatic Experiencing therapy. He is kind, thoughtful, sensitive, caring and deeply trustworthy.” Irene Henderson, Seminar Leader
“At first, I was skeptical if working with Harry will help me. There are not many people I trust and to whom I can open up fully. Therefore it is always a challenge for me to enter in a process with someone. What I can say is that Harry was absolutely amazing. He was a safe rock for me. I was able to open up. I came to him with the aim of working on my trauma. Through the Somatic Experiencing in each session, it was as if I discovered a new inner landscape. Harry led the sessions in a very gentle way and he always reassured with a query if I want to go there, what I appreciated a lot and that helped me to trust and feel safe. The sessions with him have helped me tremendously to build a new relationship with my sensations and the language of my body. I’m forever grateful and highly recommend working with Harry.” Maitari Simone, Universal Coach