About Peter A. Levine
Peter A. Levine, PhD, has spent 45 years studying and treating stress and trauma. He holds a doctorate degree in medical biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley and in psychology from International University. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing®, a naturalistic approach to healing trauma.
He has practiced and taught at treatment centers, hospitals, and pain clinics throughout the world, and has dealt with a wide range of trauma, including accidents, rapes, assaults, abuse, and invasive medical procedures. Peter was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the Space Shuttle program.
He served with the Institute for World Affairs Task Force for “Psychologists for Social Responsibility” and the American Psychological Association “Presidential Initiative on Responding to Large-Scale Disasters and Ethno-Centric Warfare.”
He is also the bestselling author of Waking the Tiger (published in 22 languages), as well as several other books and audio programs that teach people how to use the body as a tool in resolving trauma. Peter is the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment, based out of Boulder, Colorado, which now has a membership of 5,000 Somatic Experiencing® training practitioners worldwide.
His current interests include prevention of trauma in children, for which he has published two books, his most recent being Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: a Parent’s Guide to Instilling Confidence, Joy, and Resilience.
In Fall 2010, he published his master opus In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. In October 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP.org).
What you’ll learn in The Healing Trauma Online Course
Session One: Trauma and Its Effects on the Body
Trauma is about loss of connection—to ourselves, our bodies, our families, to others, and to the world around us. As Dr. Levine teaches, this disconnection is often hard to recognize because it doesn’t happen all at once but rather over time. In this session, we’ll begin by defining trauma, distinguishing it from stress, and then identifying some of the most common causes and symptoms.
- Fight, flight, or freeze—common reactions to trauma
- The immobility response and the effects of undischarged energy
- Why do we do that? The phenomenon of reenactment
- Step-by-step instruction for rebuilding your relationship to your body
Session Two: Transforming Trauma
It is not necessary to relive a trauma in order to process it, teaches Dr. Levine. The key lies in renegotiating our old trauma. Renegotiation allows us to create new channels for the stuck energy to complete its movement and course of action. In this session, we’ll discuss this process in depth and explore how transforming trauma involves our instincts, emotions, and intellect all working together.
- The truth about symptoms and the messages that they hold for our healing process
- The inspirational story of Marius for helping us understand how we all can reestablish harmony in our lives
- How to break free of fixed perceptions through the practice of renegotiation
Session Three: The Concepts of Somatic Experiencing
In this session, Dr. Levine breaks down the key concepts of Somatic Experiencing® in clear and easy-to-follow language. From heightening our state of body awareness to completing the energy discharge cycle, this session will help us understand how each element helps contribute to a successful healing.
- The Healing Trauma Online Course
- The tracking exercise to help you reconnect with your instinctive resources
- How we can allow for a natural ebb and flow in our energy to create a new experience
- The value of natural aggression
- A grounding and centering exercise to help rediscover your strength and resiliency
Session Four: The 12-Phase Healing Trauma Program (Phases One through Six)
Drawing on the foundational knowledge we created in the previous sessions, we’ll delve into Dr. Levine’s 12-phase Healing Trauma program. The first three phases of our work will help us learn how we can contain sensations and feelings, return to center, and begin to restore our body’s boundaries. In the next three phases, we’ll explore the language of the inner body by learning how to identify where we are tense or constricted, and how we can normalize that sensation through feeling and movement.
- Fluttery, wobbly, dense, or fluid? A list of practical terms to describe your bodily sensations
- A guided practice for finding the “islands” of relative safety, comfort, and ease within your body
- How to identify the sensations, images, thoughts, and emotions that cause your fear or anxiety
- A “pendulation” exercise for learning how to stay with a sensation until it begins to change
Session Five: The 12-Phase Healing Trauma Program (Phases Seven through Twelve)
Memories of traumatic events are stored on an instinctual level in our bodies. When we access those memories through our felt sense or language of inner bodily experiences— as we learned how to do in the first six phases—we can begin to discharge the instinctive survival energy we did not have a chance to use at the time of the traumatic event. In this session, we’ll practice finishing that part of the cycle, learn how to continue cultivating this new state of equilibrium, and explore the spiritual aspects of our Healing Trauma. We’ll also discuss the sacred nature of sexual trauma.
- Strength and resiliency versus collapse and defeat—an exercise for allowing our bodies to be empowered
- An easy-to-follow exercise for helping your nervous system re-adapt to this new state of harmony
- Settling and integrating—a guided practice for sustaining this new sense of presence and calm
- How honesty, compassion, and using the felt sense can help regulate our sexual energies and break the cycle of sexual abuse
- The unexpected opportunity for spiritual awakening through Healing Trauma
Session Six: Helpful Tips and Techniques for Preventing Trauma
It’s almost inevitable that we, or someone we love, will suffer an accident or other traumatic experience, teaches Levine. There are many ways to help that person prevent long-term trauma from developing. In this session we’ll gain tips and insights for working with someone who has had a traumatic experience, including specific guidance for working with children. We’ll close with a discussion on societal trauma and how our individual healing can have global implications.
- The three phases of “emotional first aid”
- What a two-year-old toddler named Sammy can teach us about trauma
- How reclaiming our instincts can lead us out of suffering and recapture the simple wonders of life
- The transformative power of Healing Trauma in ourselves, our families, and our world
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