'Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness'

Dr Peter Levine, developer of Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing
Somatic Experiencing (SE) was developed by Dr Peter Levine by watching how animals in the wild released trauma. SE is a non-touch, body-oriented approach that aims to increase the body’s resilience and ability to self-regulate. In this way, symptoms of trauma are reduced and the body is better able to respond to everyday situations with a sense of aliveness and flexibility.

Why is SE so effective?
Trauma affects the autonomic nervous system and lower brain. Because these systems evolved before language, they can’t be healed through words. Unlike other approaches that focus on talking or thinking, SE is effective as it focuses mainly on body sensations, gesture, imagination and emotions.

What happens in an SE session?
SE involves noticing and being with internal sensations, known as somatic experiences. When these are focused upon, stuck survival energy is released and defensive movements are completed. A typical SE session includes;

  • Resourcing  using positive memories to support the body to access feelings of goodness
  • Tracking  following sensations within the body
  • Titration  working slowly and carefully at the body’s pace
  • Pendulation  undoing symptoms by moving between comfortable and less comfortable sensations
  • Completing defensive responses  noticing the body’s impulse to complete movements
  • Discharging  the gentle release of energy through tears, trembling, warmth and easier breathing
  • Integration  the time needed to allow the body to take in the changes

SE is described by one of my teachers as 'sneaky powerful'. The process may seem subtle, but by working slowly and observantly, small changes integrated by the autonomic nervous system can be profound.


Why choose SE?
SE can re-establish regulation after a one off 'shock' (PTSD) event such as a car accident, a fall, an attack, surgery or a suffocation event. SE can ease symptoms associated with developmental trauma, relational trauma and complex PTSD which stem from, amongst other things, a difficult birth, childhood neglect and abuse.

Frequency of sessions
Whilst some people choose to have weekly sessions, the frequency of sessions is a personal choice. We can decide together what may be most helpful to you.

Length of sessions
Sessions last an hour and will start and end on time.

Fees & cancellation
Whilst I am in the final year of training, sessions are charged at £40 per hour. From August 2021, sessions will be charged at £55, with some concession rates available. I ask for 24 hours notice of cancellation, without which the missed session will be charged in full.

Sessions are currently online via Zoom
I will send you a link for the session ahead of the start time. I am based in Brighton, East Sussex and when it is possible, I may be able to offer face to face sessions.

Before sessions
We will have a short telephone call to find out a little more about you and answer any questions you may have. If you decide to book a session, I will ask you to complete an information form and sign a session agreement.

Rachel Cooper

Rachel Cooper
Work experience
For the past 13 years I have worked within education and a hospice setting. I have worked as a counsellor, a counselling service manager and have delivered training and supervision to other counsellors. 

I hold an MA in Psychotherapeutic Counselling from the University of Brighton, 2008. I hold a diploma in Counselling Supervision from Wealden Psychotherapy Institute in Crowborough, 2012. In July 2021, I am due to qualify as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with SOSI, London.

Professional registration
I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP accred), 2011. I am a student member of the Somatic Experiencing Association United Kingdom (SEAUK), 2020.

Continuing professional development
Recent additional training includes a masterclass in 'Polyvagal Theory Informed Trauma Assessment and Interventions' with Deb Dana, 'Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors' with Janina Fisher, 'Dissociation and the Body' with Pat Ogden and 'Somatic Strategies to Address the Interplay Between Shock and Developmental Trauma' with Peter Levine. I am currently assisting on online introductory SE trainings in Hungary.

Ethical standards
I adhere to the ethical framework as outlined by the BACP and attend regular professional supervision. I have indemnity insurance and am transparent about my privacy policy (GDPR) before the start of sessions.


  • Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Please call or email me to arrange a free 15 minute introductory conversation. I will reply to all messages as soon as possible.