Letter from SE™ International Executive Director, Marv Tuttle – May 2, 2022

by | May 2, 2022 | POINT OF VIEW

Dear Global SE Community,

Somatic Experiencing is a global best practice for trauma resilience and resolution and has been for quite some time.

Over our nearly 30-year history as an organization, we have operated under a decentralized approach. With organizations developing and supporting SE around the world, we have all co-existed, maintained and grown with the shared aspirations of being better known worldwide with a commitment to excellence and professionalism. The coronavirus pandemic, combined with various political and social justice movements on a parallel track and gaining momentum, has put SE in a position to become more prominent in addressing the rapidly growing trauma and mental health conditions within our world. Where and how do we as champions of SE want to be seen and heard and can we do that better by being more connected and organized globally?

Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI) became Somatic Experiencing International (SEI) in April 2021, with the intention of preparing ourselves to make a stronger statement as a more united global community and to be a catalyst for supporting SE training and principles far and wide. We are now gearing up to raise the profile of SE to different important audiences and centers of influence, such as elected officials, regulatory authorities, social service and non-profit organizations, media and the general public.

We have also been in regular conversations with the leadership of the European Association of Somatic Experiencing (EASE) and Associação Brasileira do Trauma (ABT) serving Brazil, as well as with our international organizers, about where we might go together from here.

Recognizing the variety of cultures and traditions in the various countries that offer SE trainings to the professional community and the public at large, it is time to consider how we maintain our unique, flexible structure and processes and yet become more cohesive, with the ultimate outcome of growing and promoting the value and benefits of SE throughout the world.

SEI has begun to demonstrate its commitment to have a more representative and collective international voice and influence in its organizational affairs: 

  • Last year, the SEI Board of Directors expanded its Board to nine members with the intent of broadening its international perspective and cultural competency
  • In early 2020, we established a Global Culture Committee represented by SE Practitioner leaders from eight different countries to focus on global collaboration and fostering a vibrant, supportive and inclusive organizational culture. We expanded our Governance Committee to include participants from EASE and ABT leadership.
  • SEI board and staff leadership have participated in the past two in-person EASE General Assemblies (GA) and plans to do so again this summer
  • SEI staff met virtually with nearly all of its 54 international organizers in 2021 to visit about current relationships and needs for the future
  • In late 2020, we created the International Faculty Accreditation Committee (InterFAC) with the goal of creating placements for and approving native-speaking faculty in countries outside of Europe, Brazil and North America; since its formation, InterFAC has approved two applications for faculty candidacy in Japan and other applications remain under consideration

Most recently, staff, faculty and board leadership of EASE and SEI came together to respond to the emerging crisis in Ukraine. The SE Ukraine Task Force is providing SE education and resources to support practitioners, first responders and refugees in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Through co-chairs Zlata Kosteljnova of the EASE Board of Directors and Defne Erdur of SEI’s Board of Directors, the task force has worked creatively and tirelessly to help the mental health workers and the first responders who are serving the five million plus Ukrainians who have been displaced from their homeland.  

This most recent example of collaboration highlights the potential and the possibilities of an international framework. Our community can be more connected, from the continual review and upgrading of trainings to developing evidence-based SE research, and from humanitarian support to enhancing mental health and productivity worldwide. When we put our minds and hearts together from an SE perspective and lens to serve each other and to serve the world, what is possible?

My role as SEI’s Executive Director is to help the organization anticipate and respond to change in a progressive and positive way. It is my job to encourage change where old processes, procedures and policies do not work anymore. It is my job to inspire a new perspective on the possibilities for our future, for our growth, and for our unique cause to make a transformative difference in the world. It is my job to help shape and make the decisions to take the organizational vision and convert it into action, with SE principles and values serving as the guiding light.

Thank you for considering my message. I look forward to continuing the journey and collaboration with you.

With gratitude,
Marv Tuttle