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Healing Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body
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Healing Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  938 ratings  ·  65 reviews
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 23 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders- many as a direct result of trauma. As a young stress researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, Peter A. Levine found that all animals, including humans, are born with a natural ability to rebound from these distressing situations. Now on Healing ...more
Audio CD, 46 pages
Published March 31st 2005 by Sounds True (first published 1999)
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Morgan Blackledge
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Healing Trauma: Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body is a brief introduction to Dr. Peter Levine's research, theory and clinical work in assisting recovery from PTSD symptoms.

Somatic Experiencing is the clinical modality based on Dr. Levine's theory and research.

Somatic Experiencing differs from conventional talk therapy. Rather than linguistically interpreting the trauma and reframing the event in a more adaptive way (cognitive restructuring and narrative integration).

Somatic Experiencing facilit
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to be cautious when approaching a significantly alternative philosophy: some can be pretty far out, and even detrimental. An open mind is a good thing, as long as you take care about what you’re letting in! I had all my radar on for this book, which begins with a quote from the Gnostic Gospels and the four noble truths of Buddha:

Suffering is part of being human
Find out why you suffer
Suffering can be transformed and healed
After finding the cause of suffering, you must find the right
Kumari de Silva
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would not recommend this short book as an introduction to Dr Levine's work. If you read and enjoyed his work "Waking the Tiger" this book is a how-to with that process. The first time I listened to the audio I felt very hypnotized. I very easily sensed my feelings in my body because I was already on board with the idea, I meditate with regularity and practice body conscious exercises like running, hiking and yoga. It may take a little longer for you if the idea is new to you.

I fully expected t
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is much more readable than Peter Levine's other, for the lay person anyway. I like the way it talks about healing trauma in terms that a person can hear it without feeling it's the end of the world to get past trauma. Not to mention all the little things that can actually traumatize that we don't even realize can have an impact, especially for little children. ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Practical somatic interventions to be used at home to restore connection with the body. Good starting point for psychoeducation of trauma survivors. Easily accessible to people without a psychological studies background. Would recommend to anyone who experiences out-of-body numbing.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Honestly the first review that pops up nailed all my thoughts exactly. This book is heavy on theory and very light on research (to be fair, this book was published in 2005 and somatic experiencing has grown a lot). Much of what he espouses are components of other therapies that have robust research bases, such as Prolonged Exposure. That being said, this could be very helpful to someone who wants to feel more connected to their body and or cannot (or does not want to) go to therapy for some reas ...more
Kevin Bergin
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book help me heal from childhood and recent abuse and trauma.
This reads like a cliffs' notes version of Peter Levine's other works. I found the book interesting and helpful until the end of the practical exercises. The sections after felt like filler.

Levine's work is really interesting, especially since it deals more with body work vs intellect. Much of the time, trauma isn't bound in logic so thinking your way through it in order to process it doesn't work. Processing trauma through body exercises is another strategy and it seems to be effective.

This boo
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with a lot of hang-ups like me.
"If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will be your salvation...
If you do not bring forth that which is within you, then what is within you will destroy you" - The Gnostic Gospels

done reading...have not come to exercising it yet. i think this book is helpful in terms of information about trauma - its level of helpfulness though will depend upon the result/s i get when i finally come round to doing the exercises.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very informative book that I found useful (and working as a psychologist I'm always looking for books that might help me with helping others). It has many examples and exercises you can use on your own, and I also like how he compares our reactions to those of other animals. There are also some great case studies in the book, that demonstrates eloquently what he means when he explains the theory behind the treatment. An essential book for all trauma therapists! ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, practical book that also comes with a CD with exercises to help the listener develop a deeper awareness of the body's "felt sense". Written with clarity, compassion, and well-grounded faith in the human being's innate capacity to triumph over trauma. ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've just started doing the course of exercises, and it's been influencing me greatly so far. I don't know what the final result will be, but, generally, the the author says many true things which I can personally relate to. I am very hopeful about the result) ...more
Sarah Marble
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book and CD are amazing. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I read. It made me appreciate that my difficulties stem not from being a lazy or bad person but from having a body trying to protect me, and a body with stuck energy. The exercises work. Truly life changing.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I thought this was going to be similar to "trauma release exercises". There were some good exercises here but they seemed more like mindfulness (which is good) than training my body to let go of stress ...more
A "somatic experiencing" book. I've had a couple of sessions of this bodywork modality, and might want to read a book about it at some point. ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trauma, psychology
Events that so profoundly shatter our sense of safety grip our bodies. Trauma symptoms appear on a tier of time, first come acute hyperarousal symptoms like a pounding heart or rapid breath lock our bodies, while relational troubles and addictive behaviors and chronic pain bear down further from the trauma if it is not resolved. Trauma expert and clinician Peter Levine advocates that while we protective protection from trauma cannot be sought, it is not something that has to haunt us viscerally ...more
This is an extremely promising book. I was a little worried by some of the rhetoric, which seemed ... odd at first. After some research online and checking Levine's credentials it seems he isn't a quack, but this book is very, very aimed at the lay person. Personally I would have preferred him to use a few scientific terms rather than claiming things like 'trauma is caused by stuck energy in the body' which almost made me put the book down. It seems more like it's something closely linked to the ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Favorite quotes:
“I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation."

"As we move from fixity to flow, we begin to experience a sense of coherency. We begin to feel reconnected to life. We feel more peaceful, at home with others, the world, and ourselves. We are no l
Tom Weissmuller
Apr 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
I have spent a lifetime as a martial artist and a career as a Judge in Native American communities. I have researched and heard testimony in trauma throughout my career and always look for additional resources. Levine borrows from the worlds I have lived in, the animal kingdom, Buddhism, and other cultures as he formulates his questionable theories and creates a series of exercises and therapeutic responses to trauma. He does so here without so much as a single reference to scientific methods th ...more
Weekend Reader_
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, research
This book was very easy to read and explains how to work with traumatized people plainly. Dr. Levine is a seminal research on the topic so I was expecting the book to bogged down with theory and therapeutic techniques but it was the complete opposite. It presented how trauma occurs and how the body responds to it over time. The guided step processes really should be coupled with the CD for full effect. The one draw back is that I wished there was a chapter on how to work with traumatized adults. ...more
Lauren Schultz
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for the simple, concise explanation of trauma and how it impacts a person's physical body, not just someone's mental health. Five stars as well for the introduction that the book provides to Somatic Experiencing and trauma-related therapy. What I would really like the book to state more clearly is that while all the exercises in the second half of the book are/will eventually be super helpful for trauma survivors, those who have severe cases of PTSD should not attempt these exercises ...more
This book is incredibly hard to read, unfortunately. I found it much duller than similar books of the same topic. Further, to be able to access all the exercises requires a CD player - do people still have those?? Was surprised (and disappointed) that there wasn't an online version of the audio that could be accessed.
The mindfulness exercises are decent but, again, there are other books that are much easier to digest that contain the same and easier to access apps such as Insight Timer that lik
Mar 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Honestly I don't know what to think about this book or Peter Levine. I came across his ideas several years ago and now happened upon this audiobook, so I decided to give it a try. The whole theory almost seems like too good to be true, but I am intrigued. I mean, if it helps, it helps, no matter how silly you feel while imagining yourself to be a deer frolicking on a medow. I felt so silly I didn't even try any of the exercises yet, but I might, I've done sillier things.
The book consists of seve
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book, my first read of not only this authors work but really this type of “healing trauma” methods was new to me and a learning experience.

I thought it was a bit prolonged and more repetitive than it needed to be, but interesting nevertheless. If it works it’s great because something like this can be accessible and easy to implement for many people who need it most for one of their aids to recovery / healing ( reason I say if it works is because I didn’t find any need for the techni
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s certainly a very interesting book, I think st times it can be a little “wordy “ especially if it’s a lay person trying to understand by way of self help. It’s a book I will likely go back to and pick bits out of it. I have a lot of respect for the work of Peter Levine . For me, this was more digestible when I read it in small parts, it was not a book that I devoured from cover to cover, it did however learn me a lot of things and provoke my thoughts both personally as professionally .
Cassandra Kay Silva
I think this is best consumed on audio if you are actually looking to do the exercises. I think the author was fairly clear but not always pointing to the sources for his work and the deeper implications of the outcome of the work. This is not a subject I have studied so I can't comment on the depth of it but it was interesting and the exercises were practical and helpful. ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, soul-care
Audiobook. Very interesting. Different paradigm. I didn't go through the exercises slowly, as recommended. Possibly check book out again or buy hard copy to practice the exercises. Seems hopeful, yet seems this is just an introduction to how to heal from trauma. ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Trauma is a fact of life and can be naturally healed, leading to transformation and reconnection to instincts and other beings. Tools for processing and healing trauma, creating peace within, and interactions with others and the world.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A must read if you are a therapist, psychiatrist or coach working with traumatized patients or a trauma patient yourself. Goes into the a program that heals trauma through allowing the body to sense itself into healing.
Cecilia Hernandez
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
this book is really boring and a drag . its a dull read. not informative did not help me at all. I did not find the information in it useful what so ever .
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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

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18 likes · 6 comments
“Feelings of helplessness, immobility, and freezing. If hyperarousal is the nervous system’s accelerator, a sense of overwhelming helplessness is its brake. The helplessness that is experienced at such times is not the ordinary sense of helplessness that can affect anyone from time to time. It is the sense of being collapsed, immobilized, and utterly helpless. It is not a perception, belief, or a trick of the imagination. It is real.” 10 likes
“Although humans rarely die from trauma, if we do not resolve it, our lives can be severely diminished by its effects. Some people have even described this situation as a “living death.” 7 likes
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