Somatic trauma therapy training

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

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This article also contain related information on, How to become a Psychologist, Best Universities for Psychology, somatic therapy exercises, Somatic Trauma Therapy Training and a lot more in this article. Stay with

How to Start Experiencing Somatic Therapy for Better Mental Health

Trauma can have a profound impact on a person’s psychological wellbeing and every day functioning. Trauma counselling is a specialist field of counselling that aims to help those who have suffered a traumatic life event.

The Certificate of Trauma Counselling is an online professional development program that will provide you with the conceptual framework and skills for counselling people who are suffering from trauma-related stress.

In this online trauma counselling course, you will develop your counselling skills and techniques, learn how to establish a counselling relationship, apply specialist interpersonal and counselling skills, and facilitate the counselling relationship and process. You will also learn how to apply learning theories in counselling, implement trauma informed care and learn how to effectively recognise and respond to crisis situations.

On completion of this course, you will feel confident in your ability to use trauma-counselling techniques to assist and engage with those who have experienced trauma.

This six-day trauma certificate program will provide the most current information on the biopsychosocial phenomenon of trauma. Learn how to assess and respond ethically and appropriately to adult clients. Examine the effects of and the responses to working with traumatized individuals. Develop trauma-informed approaches to work that enhance personal and professional resilience.

The objective with clients who have experienced a single incident trauma is to recover to base-line functioning. For this we use psychoeducation and symptom management strategies. With clients who have experienced complex developmental trauma, the objective is to mitigate layers of human suffering. This suffering has manifested in entrenched rigid maladaptive patterns. The objective is to bring clarity to the origin, presence, and manifestations of these patterns. To develop a systematic process for changing the core belief system/schema that drives these patterns.

Adult psychotherapists work with adults to assess and treat a range of emotional, social or mental health issues.  

You’ll help adults tackle problems such as behavioural issues, common challenges such as anxiety and depression or more complex or severe issues, such as psychosis or a personality disorder diagnosis.   

Psychology is a subdiscipline in the field of Social Sciences. By studying a Bachelor’s or Mater’s degree in Psychology you will learn all about every aspect related to the human psyche and how people are influenced by society, culture, and contemporary era challenges. You’ll explore diverse topics, trying to answer questions such as: Is the mind just a byproduct of brain processes? Is behaviour learned or inherited? What is the nature of the human subconscious? How can people change their behaviour through self-discovery?

The field of Psychology can help you understand a broad range of human behaviours as well as the many forms that mental health issues take. Psychology students will combine theoretical classes with practical work experience and case studies on issues such as trauma, mental disorders, addiction, child development, and current therapy methods, among others.

Psychology has a multitude of subfields, such as: Clinical Psychology, Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology, Behavioural Psychology, Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Experimental Psychology or forms of Depth Psychology (focusing on unconscious processes).

By graduating Psychology degrees, students around the world gain access to a wide variety of career options including: psychotherapist, psychology counsellor, occupational psychologist, school counsellor, human resource officer, play therapist, forensic psychologist, organizational psychologist (I-O), and more.

Working life

Treatment usually begins with an assessment which takes place over a number of sessions between you and the patient. 

Having trained in one or more psychotherapeutic approaches, you will provide therapy to help people change the ways they think and behave or find better ways to cope. This therapy will provide space for them to express their feelings and gain a deeper insight into the issues they face. This could include group sessions. 

Where will I work? 

You are likely to work in: 

  • hospitals
  • local clinics and health centres
  • in the community
  • an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service

You’ll also work in a multi-disciplinary team including mental health nurses, psychiatrists and a range of other psychological professionals.

Entry requirements 

To practise as an adult psychotherapist, you’ll need to undertake appropriate recognised training. You’ll usually need an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject and/or be a qualified and experienced healthcare practitioner, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health nurse or social worker. 

To secure a place on a psychotherapy training course, you will also need to be able to demonstrate that you have relevant experience. 

Employers will indicate through the job description/person specification exactly which qualifications they will consider when selecting applicants for psychotherapist roles. 


Training usually takes four years, combining study with clinical training under supervision and provided by a number of organisations, which are usually accredited by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy or the British Psychoanalytic Council.

Clinical training consists of intensive treatment of patients carried out under supervision. Clinical discussions combining theory and practice are held throughout the period of training. Alongside your training, you will be expected to undertake your own personal therapy to build your self-awareness and expand on your ability to relate to others.  

The application process for psychotherapy training is administered directly by the individual organisations running the courses.

Must-have skills  

You’ll need a range of skills to be a psychotherapist, including: 

  • a keen awareness of people and their behaviour
  • a capacity for study and continued learning
  • the ability to relate to a wide range of people
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to work on your own as well as in consultation with others
  • a responsible, professional approach, respecting the confidentiality of patients
  • emotional resilience and maturity
  • self awareness 
  • the ability to empathise with others and make positive relationships 
  • an openness to addressing issues of prejudice and oppression  

How to become a Psychologist

Psychologists study human behaviour and the processes associated with how people think and feel, conduct research and provide treatment and counselling in order to reduce distress and behavioural and psychological problems. They promote mental health and positive behaviour in individuals and groups. Psychologists work on a broad range of issues with clients, including children, adults, couples, families and organisations.

Personal requirements for a Psychologist

  • Interested in people and human behaviour
  • Able to listen and solve problems
  • An inquisitive mind
  • Emotional maturity and empathy for others
  • Patient and perceptive
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Caring and understanding
  • Measured
  • Strong logical thinking

Education & Training for a Psychologist

To become a psychologist you usually have to complete a degree with a major in psychology or a four-year Bachelor of Psychology. This is followed by either an accredited two-year postgraduate qualification (majoring in a specialisation of psychology) or two years of supervised experience with a registered psychologist.Psychology can be studied as a major in an arts, social science or science degree. The fourth year of bachelor degree study, which is needed to satisfy registration requirements, may be undertaken as an honours year in the Bachelor of Psychology degree or as a Graduate Diploma of Psychology.To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional information

The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) sets the standards for accreditation of Australasian psychology programs, ensuring that the standards of training remain rigorous and consistent across universities. For students to be eligible for registration, they must study a course that is accredited by APAC. Visit their website ( for an up-to-date list of approved courses of study.Following successful completion of an approved qualification, students who completed a four-year sequence of study followed by a two-year internship will need to pass the National Psychology Exam in order to gain general registration.It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia before being able to practise as a psychologist in any state or territory in Australia.

Best Universities for Psychology

Universities Location Times Higher Education Ranking (2018) Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking (2017) TopUniversities Ranking (2018) U.S. News & World Report Ranking (2018) 
Yale UniversityNew Haven, United States754
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, United States1014
University of Minnesota Twin CitiesMinneapolis, United States1322
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, United States17526
University of OxfordOxford, United Kingdom1948
University of ChicagoChicago, United States222032
Cornell UniversityIthaca, United States253733
University of Illinois at Urbana ChampaignUrbana, United States262652
King’s College LondonLondon, United Kingdom27212
University of California, DavisDavis, United States345140
What Is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic Trauma Therapy Training

Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a psychobiological trauma treatment, is the life work of Peter Levine and one approach to the resolution of trauma symptoms and the relief of recurring stress. This method is the result of 45 years of successful clinical use as well as extensive research in the disciplines of stress physiology, biology, psychology, ethology, indigenous healing practices, medical biophysics, and neuroscience.  

This approach can help those in treatment discharge traumatic shock, a necessary step in the transformation of posttraumatic stress and the effects of emotional or early development attachment trauma. When a person responds to trauma by becoming fixed in a fight, flight, or freeze response, the SE approach can determine and assess the person’s state and provide that person with the tools necessary to achieve some resolution. These skills are not only used by members of mental health professions, but also by medical professionals, physical and occupational therapists, educators, and others. 

SE holds the development of trauma to result, not necessarily from an adverse event, but from the inability of the body and the mind to process that event. With the help of qualified professionals, people in therapy work toward an increased ability to challenge sensations and emotions they may be withholding or having difficulty addressing. 

The three-year SE Professional Training program provides professionals seeking experience in SE with a thorough theoretical grounding in trauma physiology. A combination of lectures, live demonstrations, guided practice sessions, readings, and audiovisual case studies provides a wide variety of skills professionals can readily integrate into a practice.

Students also receive professional SE sessions and case consultations while in the program in order to develop their working knowledge of SE. Six to eight training modules, each lasting 4-6 days, make up the program. The program’s length allows for full integration of SE skills necessary for professional growth. Small class sizes provide an optimized learning environment and allow faculty and training assistants to provide each student with personalized attention. 

somatic therapy training online

An Online Course for Tapping into Your Innate Ability to Heal 

Evolution has provided us with a way to deal with trauma the moment it happens—yet our cultural training overrides our body’s natural instinct about what to do. The result is that we often store the energy of trauma in the body leading to unexplained physical problems, emotional issues, and psychological blockages.

Course objectives:

  • Assess when trauma may be the cause of anxiety, insomnia, depression, and unexplained pain.
  • Apply nature’s lessons on returning to equilibrium and balance.
  • Describe the concepts of Somatic Experiencing.
  • Demonstrate techniques for preventing trauma.
  • Utilize exercises to release past trauma from the body.
  • Discuss exercises that build resilience for future challenges.

Dr. Peter A. Levine’s breakthrough techniques have helped thousands of trauma survivors tap into their innate ability to heal—from combat veterans and auto accident victims, to people suffering from chronic pain, and even infants after a traumatic birth.

With Healing Trauma, this renowned biophysicist, therapist, and teacher shares an empowering online training course for restoring a harmonious balance to your body and mind. Including more than seven hours of expert guidance, plus Dr. Levine’s answers to questions submitted by past participants, this comprehensive course will help you understand how you can release unresolved traumas and live more fully.

A Proven Body-Based Approach for Restoring Wholeness

Drawing on his 40 years of research, Dr. Levine gently guides you through each of the essential principles of the four-phase process he calls Somatic Experiencing®. From identifying how and where you are storing unresolved distress, to becoming more aware of your body’s physiological responses to danger and practicing specific methods to free yourself from trauma, you’ll learn how to address unexplained symptoms at their source—your body—and return to the natural state in which you were meant to live.

“I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening,” teaches Levine. With all new video and materials that you can download and keep, Healing Trauma offers a step-by-step program to help you restore the wisdom of your body, feel stronger, and reconnect to your inherent aliveness.


  • Anxiety, insomnia, depression, and unexplained pain—when trauma may be the cause
  • Nature’s lessons on returning to equilibrium and balance
  • How our bodies hold the key to freedom from past trauma
  • Why you don’t have to “relive” or even consciously remember an event to heal from it
  • Why moving the energy of seemingly minor events can yield big results
  • More than a dozen practices and exercises to resolve past traumas and build your resilience for future challenges

Note: Contains materials from Healing Trauma book and CD and Healing Trauma audio learning course.

Session One: Trauma and Its Effects on the Body

Trauma is about loss of connection—to ourselves, our bodies, our families, to others, and to the world around us. As Dr. Levine teaches, this disconnection is often hard to recognize because it doesn’t happen all at once but rather over time. In this session, we’ll begin by defining trauma, distinguishing it from stress, and then identifying some of the most common causes and symptoms.

Session Highlights:

  • Fight, flight, or freeze—common reactions to trauma
  • The immobility response and the effects of undischarged energy
  • Why do we do that? The phenomenon of reenactment
  • Step-by-step instruction for rebuilding your relationship to your body

Session Two: Transforming Trauma

It is not necessary to relive a trauma in order to process it, teaches Dr. Levine. The key lies in renegotiating our old trauma. Renegotiation allows us to create new channels for the stuck energy to complete its movement and course of action. In this session, we’ll discuss this process in depth and explore how transforming trauma involves our instincts, emotions, and intellect all working together.

Session Highlights:

  • The truth about symptoms and the messages that they hold for our healing process
  • The inspirational story of Marius for helping us understand how we all can reestablish harmony in our lives
  • How to break free of fixed perceptions through the practice of renegotiation

Session Three: The Concepts of Somatic Experiencing

In this session, Dr. Levine breaks down the key concepts of Somatic Experiencing® in clear and easy-to-follow language. From heightening our state of body awareness to completing the energy discharge cycle, this session will help us understand how each element helps contribute to a successful healing.

Session Highlights:

  • The tracking exercise to help you reconnect with your instinctive resources
  • How we can allow for a natural ebb and flow in our energy to create a new experience
  • The value of natural aggression
  • A grounding and centering exercise to help rediscover your strength and resiliency

Session Four: The 12-Phase Healing Trauma Program (Phases One through Six)

Drawing on the foundational knowledge we created in the previous sessions, we’ll delve into Dr. Levine’s 12-phase Healing Trauma program. The first three phases of our work will help us learn how we can contain sensations and feelings, return to center, and begin to restore our body’s boundaries. In the next three phases, we’ll explore the language of the inner body by learning how to identify where we are tense or constricted, and how we can normalize that sensation through feeling and movement.

Session Highlights:

  • Fluttery, wobbly, dense, or fluid? A list of practical terms to describe your bodily sensations
  • A guided practice for finding the “islands” of relative safety, comfort, and ease within your body
  • How to identify the sensations, images, thoughts, and emotions that cause your fear or anxiety
  • A “pendulation” exercise for learning how to stay with a sensation until it begins to change

Session Five: The 12-Phase Healing Trauma Program (Phases Seven through Twelve)

Memories of traumatic events are stored on an instinctual level in our bodies. When we access those memories through our felt sense or language of inner bodily experiences— as we learned how to do in the first six phases—we can begin to discharge the instinctive survival energy we did not have a chance to use at the time of the traumatic event. In this session, we’ll practice finishing that part of the cycle, learn how to continue cultivating this new state of equilibrium, and explore the spiritual aspects of our Healing Trauma. We’ll also discuss the sacred nature of sexual trauma.

Session Highlights:

  • Strength and resiliency versus collapse and defeat—an exercise for allowing our bodies to be empowered
  • An easy-to-follow exercise for helping your nervous system re-adapt to this new state of harmony
  • Settling and integrating—a guided practice for sustaining this new sense of presence and calm
  • How honesty, compassion, and using the felt sense can help regulate our sexual energies and break the cycle of sexual abuse
  • The unexpected opportunity for spiritual awakening through Healing Trauma

Session Six: Helpful Tips and Techniques for Preventing Trauma

It’s almost inevitable that we, or someone we love, will suffer an accident or other traumatic experience, teaches Levine. There are many ways to help that person prevent long-term trauma from developing. In this session we’ll gain tips and insights for working with someone who has had a traumatic experience, including specific guidance for working with children. We’ll close with a discussion on societal trauma and how our individual healing can have global implications.

Session Highlights:

  • The three phases of “emotional first aid”
  • What a two-year-old toddler named Sammy can teach us about trauma
  • How reclaiming our instincts can lead us out of suffering and recapture the simple wonders of life
  • The transformative power of Healing Trauma in ourselves, our families, and our world 

somatic therapy exercises

A 6-step somatic exercise:


1. Notice. 

Inhale and exhale. Notice what you feel on, in and around your body. Speed of breath, heart rate and body temperature.

2.Think back to safety. 

Think back to at a recent moment you felt most calm, safe and most like your “self”. 

3. Identify. 

Identify at what point in time and/or which part of your body began experiencing disturbance or stress.

4. Replay. 

Replay the scenario from calm state to stressed state, in slow motion (as if watching a slow movie). Identify people, conversations, objects or behaviors that may have made you stressed, uncomfortable or that stand out to you as you’re replaying the recent event(s).  

5. Tune in. 

Tune in to your body sensations as you recall the event(s) and slow down and notice if there is any shift in your body, a sensation of tingling, tensing, warming, numbing or cooling in your chest, arms, legs, face or an overall change in body temperature.

6. Healing hands. 

Place your hand on the area that has experienced a shift or change, and breath deeply. If it’s an overall feeling, you can simply place your hands on your heart. 

Doing this allows the body to process the somatic experience, and creates a passageway to release the tension. 

Notice if something comes up, an image, sensation, awareness or understanding that offers clarity to the situation. If nothing comes up, that’s ok. Simply slowing down, pacing your breath and raising awareness is progress and helpful in itself.

I encourage you to practice this after an upsetting experience, to allow your body to process the emotions and communications of your body. You may also choose to practice this before a stressful situation so that you can identify potential triggers and plan ahead ways to support yourself.

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