Trauma is an internal straitjacket created when a devastating moment is frozen in time. It stifles the unfolding of being, strangling our attempts to move forward with our lives. It disconnects us from our selves, others, nature and spirit. When people are overwhelmed by threat, we are frozen in fear. It is as if our instinctive survival energies are “all dressed up with no place to go.” Somatic Experiencing® offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity to heal.

It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatised? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually “immune” to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed. Although humans possess regulatory mechanisms identical to those in animals, the function of these systems is often overridden by the rational mind. This restraint leads to the formation of a constellation of symptoms, including physical pain, emotional reactivity, cognitive dysfunction, depression and dissociation. Through the focal awareness of bodily sensation individuals are able to access the disconnected physiological action patterns, allowing the highly aroused survival energies to be safely and gradually re-regulated. In this short introduction, Giselle will offer experiential exercises and some simple tools that can be used immediately in times of distress.

Giselle Genillard - The Weekend University

Giselle Genillard, founder and director of “SOS INTERNATIONALE”, is a Licensed Midwife, a member of the European Association of Body Psychotherapy (EABP), a Somatic Experiencing (SE)® Practitioner,, a Touch-in-Parenting Instructor and founding Secretary of the Board of EASE, the European Association for Somatic Experiencing. Giselle combines her training as a somatic therapist with the art of midwifery, the core principles of SE, and her widespread cross-cultural experiences. She works internationally, is multilingual, and was a member of trauma outreach teams in South-East India post-tsunami, New Orleans post-Katrina and post-colonial South Africa post-independence. Giselle brought Peter Levine’s (“Waking the Tiger”) SE trainings to England and France and teaches workshops related to traumatic stress worldwide. Giselle specializes in working with PTSD in early childhood disorders, adolescents, combat and high-stress situations, and international disasters.