Somatic Experiencing Therapy is pseudoscience

Doris Semmelmann

The so-called problem horses usually have a key experience behind them, with which the problem began. Since then they have been afraid and this has resulted in a pattern of behavior with which the horse protects itself, from riders, from frightening situations, from horse trailers or whatever. Some flee, some fight, some freeze. This "emergency mechanism", as the scientist Dr. Peter A. Levine names it can become persistent and chronic. Then one speaks of a trauma, a psychological injury caused by fear and helplessness. From Dr. Levine's research resulted in trauma therapy for humans based on the evolutionary behavior of escape animals: fight - flight - freeze; fight, flee, freeze.
The central element of Dr. Levine's therapy is to get the client moving. The escape reflex, which cannot be acted out in an accident, for example, is made up for. This is exactly how Monty Roberts works in the join-up. He gives the horse the opportunity to flee in a round pen under the guidance of the trainer. Just as a client in the psychologist's office goes through trauma therapy. Going through a process - well dosed instead of escalating - in order to be able to learn afterwards, this is how modern therapies work. Perhaps the therapies for traumatized people and traumatized horses are not far from each other.