Episode 37

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Episode 38


Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing® and the Director of The Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.

Peter holds doctorate degrees in Medical Biophysics and in Psychology and during his thirty five-year study of stress and trauma, has contributed to a variety of scientific and popular publications.

Among his many accomplishments…

Peter has been stress consultant for NASA in the development of the first Space Shuttle; he’s been a member of the Institute of World Affairs Task Force with Psychologists for Social Responsibility and has also served on the APA initiative for response to large scale disaster and Ethno-political warfare. He is on the ‘distinguished faculty’ of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute and is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows Addiction and Trauma Treatment Center in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Peter is the author of the best selling book Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma,(published in twenty languages) as well as four audio learning series for Sounds Trueincluding the book CD, Healing Trauma, a Pioneering Program in Restoring the Wisdom of Our Bodies; and Sexual Healing, Transforming the Sacred Wound.

He is the co-author of Trauma through a Child’s Eyes, Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing. And Trauma-Proofing Your Kids, A Parents Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience.

The Quote

Trauma is a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
Peter Levine, PhD

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

  • In 1969 Peter experienced what he calls a singular event which crystallized his interest in mind/body healing and then eventually trauma. At that time a client came to see him who had a plethora of symptoms including panic attacks, agoraphobia and fibromyalgia. During a particular session with this woman Peter worked with her to calm her anxiety but in addition, out of no where, told her There’s a tiger on your chest. Run! It was this directive which compelled the woman to move her legs as if she were running. It took several sessions for this client to improve, but it was this moment which was the beginning of Peter’s interest in trauma.

A Crucial Early Mistake

  • Peter shares an early experience of working with a couple of individuals who had been sexually abused by their parents and not quite getting the complexities and intricacies or fully appreciating the nuances of this type of trauma.

Peter’s Why

  • What drives me in this work is my sense of curiosity about how people heal and the joy that comes from watching them heal.

Peter’s Advice

  • Show up, be present, and shut up!
  • Appreciate the role of the body.
  • Learn to be embodied as a therapist.
  • Learn the basic skills of tracking and ground and helping our clients to become grounded and centered.

Peter’s Go-To Books

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Ethologists mentioned:

Peter’s Links

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Ellen Lacter, PhD
Larry Decker, PhD

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