SE Table Work | Co-Regulating Touchwork
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) touch or table work is a form of gentle, non-intrusive, therapeutic touch with the intention to support regulation and healing. As infants and children before we ever learnt words, our first language received and expressed was body sensation and touch. Ideally, our earliest experiences of being soothed, comforted, and supported in relationship happened via touch. Because of this, touch can often more directly interact with and support a client's nervous system. Touchwork can add depth and nuance to trauma healing and to the regulation capacity of any human being.
Also some of our earliest experiences of disconnect, neglect, shock, or trauma may have happened before our brains were developed enough to cognitively understand, process, and make sense of what happened to us. Sometimes trauma is pre-verbal and touch can be a crucial tool in renegotiating trauma's impact on our system.
SE Touchwork is done fully clothed and face up on a massage table. Once an initial sense of comfort and safety is found, and with the permission of the client. I will use my hands to bring support to specific areas of the body. Most often, these are the kidney/adrenals (strongly associated with our threat response system), base of the head (brainstem), shoulders, body diaphragms, joints, and feet. We might explore one or two of these areas in a session. The nature of this work is slow, gentle, open, and well titrated. Note that this type of touch is not about manipulating the body or doing anything from the outside. Rather, it is about bringing awareness to our different parts and offering support for whatever emerges.
SE Touchwork can be a small part (5-10 minutes) of an SE session or it can take up a full session itself.