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Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,447 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma...

Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 7th 1997 by North Atlantic Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Rachel
Totally idiotic, condescending, and insulting. Levine's central premises - that the body plays an important role in trauma, and that common events such as medical procedures and accidents can have psychological effects similar to those of severe trauma - are both true and important, but he reaches them by denying the lived experiences of trauma survivors at every turn. I finished this book shaking with anger.

Assorted rebuttals and points of disagreement:

- Actually, contrary to what Mr. Levine sa
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Nathaniel
“Waking the Tiger” advances Peter Levine’s hopeful theory that trauma has been badly misunderstood and mistreated in Western Culture. He uses numerous examples from the animal kingdom along with case studies of his own patients to argue that people can make a complete and healthy recovery from trauma by somatically renegotiating their traumatic experience. He emphasizes that “somatic experiencing” is not re-enactment—an approach that he is skeptical about, at best. His contention is that the tre ...more
Cole
Nov 19, 2011 Cole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Almost everyone
Recommended to Cole by: Maeghann Alder
Shelves: non-fiction
I think just about anyone could benefit from reading the first four chapters of this book. This offers a refreshing, biological-based look at trauma and its after-effects, while dispelling many of the myths that surround trauma and PTSD in Western psychology today. This is a book that actually could change certain peoples' lives for the better.
I like that the author writes in simple, layman's language. He tells you what methods of therapy do not work, and why they do not work, and also tells you
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Eddie Black
Feb 05, 2012 Eddie Black is currently reading it
1/2 way through. I am left wondering what exactly this 'energy' is that Levine writes about. If it is indeed some sort of energy, then can we find a scanner to find it? Or is it instead not an increase in any type of energy per se (like there is no more water in a pipe system) but that the body isn't regulating the energy any better (the valves are out of sync). The first is that if it is indeed an increase in some form of energy then we can look for it and find it in scans. If it is not a form ...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 4.5

Review to come.

This was a very unique healing from trauma book. It takes another look at PTSD and other forms of anxiety/panic disorders, and gives us other tools along with our therapy/medication. I believe this will be great help to me, personally.
Michael
The book is written by Peter Levine with Ann Frederick. I find this book fascinating, and it has helped me to see that I have been sometime in my childhood (probably) traumatized because I have these four common symptoms: hyperarousal, constriction, dissociation, and helplessness. I hope to begin therapy soon with someone who has been trained in "Somatic Experiencing," which was devised by Levine. More later, when I finish the book!

I have now (8-11-12) finished the book and have talked with a c
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James
Feb 29, 2008 James rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Trauma survivors and helping professionals
A great book, both practical and inspiring, on an underused approach to healing trauma. This has a lot in common with other holistic treatment approaches that address the physiological/neurological along with the mental and emotional parts of a person's makeup. It is strong in both practice, what has worked for this clinician and his clients, and a theory that makes sense of why it works. I recommend this strongly for both trauma survivors with PTSD and clinicians who are working with them.
Brandt
This book offers remarkable insight into the most important challenge our century faces: trauma. Wedding a naturalistic perspective with an understanding of the neuroscience of trauma reveals a unique approach to the resolution of the sequelae of overwhelming experience. This book has influenced many other theorists and clinicians treating post-trauamtic stress disorder, and yet is perfectly accessible to the layman.
What constitutes trauma? Go ask your nervous system.
David
I have been looking for a book like this for a while. Most of us have become estranged from a very powerful part of ourselves. Although not all of this material was new to me, I really liked the way it was organized and presented here.

Why do some people survive seemingly extreme traumatic experiences relatively unscathed while others emerge with deep psychological scars? Furthermore, why do some people experience more routine and seemingly benign events as traumatic and debilitating? Is it possi
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Erin Drake


Peter Levine has worked with traumatized people for over 25 years as a counselor and mentor as well as earned doctorates in Psychology and Medical and Biological Physics. His interests and education are evident in his straightforward work Waking the Tiger in which he weaves complex biological concepts into practical explanations of how trauma is experienced in the body.
In his book, author Peter Levine argues that not only can psychic trauma be healed, human beings possess the instinctual capac
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Shannon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Interesting ideas about what trauma is physiologically and how our bodies can heal from trauma. His premise is that we become traumatized when our body is not allowed to complete its natural response during a traumatic event. For healing, the focus is entirely on letting the body complete that response rather than dwelling on the accompanying emotions.

One minor issue I have with the book is that at times it seems like he is countering some traditional modalities of psychology, which is not help
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Kate Collins
If you or anyone you care about has suffered a severe shock or been under enormous stress, there are many ways their traumas will come out if not dealt with adequately. This book helped me tremendously after my husband passed away suddenly. I didn't understand that some symptoms appear months after the fact, and doctors didn't know what to do with me other than hand me prescriptions. This book changed my thinking and therefore my approach to dealing with the grief. I highly recommend it.
Narda Martine
this book was given to me by my therapist many years ago and helped me greatly in understanding the effects that trauma had on my body that i had been unable to shake off such as hypervigilance. looking at the way animals deal with traumatic experiences such as being pinned down by lions and being able to just walk away and shake it off allowed greater understanding of how we have lsot this ability as humans. good read for anyone with PTSD or unresolved grief
Madelaine Standing
This read is both practical and imaginative. Dr Peter Levine shows both the inexperienced in science and health studies, the Counselor, and the Therapist how to enrich their skills for helping Self and others. I was amazed by how accessible the information and exercises are for anyone seeking self-empowerment.
Maureen
Some interesting research and ideas regarding healing trauma. Most of the book was repetitive and the argument was often convoluted and incomprehensible--much of it seemed just a rehash of psych 101 rather than the big psychology breakthrough it claims. I was disappointed.
Mohammed Abutaleb
Great book, offers a refreshing holistic perspective in the understanding and healing of trauma.

The book suggests that trauma is a trapped energy in the body, that has immobilized the body due to a freeze response to a perceived threat ( rather than a fight or flight mobilized response). This freeze is presumed to remain debilitating the full expression of life and vitality in the organism ( body and mind), until the mobilization process is restored in the organisms nervous system, by moving out
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Debra Roinestad
Excellent! A wonderful understanding of trauma and the journey of healing. Dr. Peter Levine has been studying trauma and healing for over 40 years. Trauma and suffering is indeed curable through Somatic Experiencing.
Kipbob
I learned one thing: Use your "felt sense" to quiet trauma symptoms. But I wanted a clearer description on how to do so. He beat around the bush, did not clearly describe the process.
Bridgett
This book went into detail about the fight, flight, and freeze responses and the physiological effects of trauma (such as hypervigilance). I related to it well.
Judy
Trying to get past the "immobilizing" and anxiety symptoms induced by past work experiences at work. This book best explains the symptoms and I hope to learn from it.
Vishnu
I may be new to this whole field. Scratch that. I am new to this whole field. So this book was mindblowing for me. The emphasis on being aware of bodily sensations as a core of getting in touch with the body is profound, and makes a lot of sense, and connects to many other thoughts that have been floating around in my head these days.

This review has not turned out to be high on coherence, so I'll try to sum up. This is a great book that presented a novel perspective for me on what "trauma" mean
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Elwirka
This book can be interesting for all people intrigued with our nature and psychology, not only for these who lived trough trauma.
Strong experiences in childchood or adulthood can cause trauma effects even that our culture deny it and reserve this word only for war veterans and sexual abuse victims (which is tabu subject anyway).
Simple explanation how our basic instincts and emotions bumped with rational thinking and fear of strong, explosive emotions causes trauma. Interesting guide how our bod
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Gemini Adams
Waking the Tiger should be gifted to every world leader, politician, teacher, leader of social change and every expectant couple — and that would be the bare minimum!

The premise of this book is that trauma (defined as an external threat which is overwhelming to our physiology) causes a response in our nervous system, which if not discharged or completed, causes a series of symptoms to arise — hyperarousal, constriction, dissociation and helplessness. If these symptoms of unresolved trauma are le
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Jon Frederickson
Levine's book does the psychotherapy field a great service by reminding us that past experience can be encoded in the form of somatic memory. In particular, he shows how past traumas shut down the hippocampus so that verbal memories are often not encoded, but that somatic memories are. Thus, working with the body can be an essential aspect of working with trauma survivors. I give the book only three stars for two reasons: 1) the book regrettably does not address the issue of how anxiety is disch ...more
Frances
Initially encouraged by “Entropy” to pick up some Peter Levine, this book walks through evolutionary anthropology to explain the way the body processes trauma. More so than any other book on trauma healing that I’ve encountered, I felt like I actually learned something about the resiliency of human animals, which was prioritized over the tireless rehashing of traumatizing events that merely emphasize the importance of self-care, public awareness/oppression, and mindfulness.

Many books on trauma
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Sheila
I have had "body issues" for nearly 15 years, culminating in a "crisis" in 2004. I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2007 and have been on Cymbalta for 5 years. I also began working with my body and a massage therapist, as well as a reiki practitioner in 2005. Both women have taught me to "listen" to my body, and my goal over the past 9 years has been to "love my body back to wholeness". My goal now is to come off Cymbalta and continue releasing the trauma my body has been feeling for s ...more
Chris Mckulka
Amazing book with very helpful strategies for overcoming trauma

I was stunned by the insights in his book. Highly recommended for pretty much everyone. Trauma can be much more subtle ham we believe. It is likely that nearly everyone knows at one or more people (if not yourself) that has been touched by trauma.
Arash
Some interesting points about animals/humans and the way we heal from trauma but some of it was a bit of a stretch and it got redundant quickly. Also, not the best writing, typos, misprints and just seemed like the writers were scrambling to make a book out of something that could have easily been an article.
Billy
THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ. This book is one of my top 10 books of all time. I recommend every person who has had an experience of trauma to read this book from beginning to end. The premise of the book alone can help people understand their traumas as well as how to approach them.
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Peter A.Levine, Ph.D. is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing and the Director of The Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. He holds doctorate degrees in Medical Biophysics and in Psychology. During his thirty five-year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific and popular publications.

Dr. Levine was a stress consultant for NASA during the d
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More about Peter A. Levine...
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“Resilient strength is the opposite of helplessness. The tree is made strong and resilient by its grounded root system. These roots take nourishment from the ground and grow strong. Grounding also allows the tree to be resilient so that it can yield to the winds of change and not be uprooted. Springiness is the facility to ground and ‘unground’ in a rhythmical way. This buoyancy is a dynamic form of grounding. Aggressiveness is the biological ability to be vigorous and energetic, especially when using instinct and force. In the immobility (traumatized) state, these assertive energies are inaccessible. The restoration of healthy aggression is an essential part in the recovery from trauma. Empowerment is the acceptance of personal authority. It derives from the capacity to choose the direction and execution of one’s own energies. Mastery is the possession of skillful techniques in dealing successfully with threat. Orientation is the process of ascertaining one’s position relative to both circumstance and environment. In these ways the residue of trauma is renegotiated.” 4 likes
“This leading-edge research echoes what ancient wisdom has always known: that each organ of the body, including the brain, speaks its own “thoughts,” “feelings,” and “promptings,” and listens to those of all the others.” 2 likes
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