SEPTEMBER Somatic Experiencing Mnemonic

A memory aid for rapid application of Somatic Experiencing technique for PTSD discharge.

Numbered text below taken verbatim from p. 75-76 of Dr. Peter Levine’s
In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness.
I strongly recommend purchasing and reading the book, and working personally with an experienced practitioner before attempting to apply this mnemonic in a self-directed way.

S – Safety: 1. Establish an environment of relative safety.
E – Exploration: 2. Support initial exploration and acceptance of sensation.
P – Pendulation: 3. Establish pendulation and containment: the innate power of rhythm.
T – Titration: 4. Use titration to create increasing stability, resilience and organization. Titration is about carefully touching the smallest ‘drop’ of survival-based arousal, and other difficult sensations, to prevent retraumatization.
E – Empowerment: 5. Provide a corrective experience by supplanting the passive responsees of collapse and helplessness with active, empowered, defensive responses.
M – Mobilization: 6. Separate or ‘uncouple’ the conditioned association of fear and helplessness from the (normally time-limited but now maladaptive) biological immobility response.
B – Breakthrough: 7. Resolve hyperarousal states by gently guiding the ‘discharge’ and redistribution of the vast survival energy mobilized for life-preserving action while freeing that energy to support higher-level brain functioning.
E – Equilibration: 8. Engage in self-regulation to restore ‘dynamic equilibrium’ and relaxed alertness.
R – Re-connection: 9. Orient to the here and now, contact the environment and reestablish the capacity for social engagement.

Using the SEPTEMBER mnemonic to personally apply the Somatic Experiencing technique has been instrumental for me in safely working with and discharging traumatic charges.

SEPTEMBER mnemonic text & this page is copyleft Vikram Surya Chiruvolu, 2012. 

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