- Peter Levine
- 59 Minutes
- Audio and Video
- Jun 05, 2020
Somatic Experiencing®(SE™) is a body-oriented therapeutic approach to the treatment of trauma and other stress related disorders. Trauma can come from many things like war and abuse, but it can also come from a difficult birth, a snow boarding accident, or even an invisible threat, like Covid-19. With trauma we can become frozen and stuck in the past, unable to be fully present in the here and now, and unable to move forward in life with joy; detached from history, but intruding into the present. The trauma response is a set of defensive bodily reactions (fight, flight, freeze) that we initially mobilize in order to protect ourselves physically and emotionally, both from threat, and sometimes later, against feeling the aftermath of helplessness and fear.
This pandemic presents us with unique challenges. With Covid-19, we are working with the nervous system while it is still under an invisible perceived threat. Human evolution has prepared us to respond to threats that we can see, identify, and then respond to, as in fight or flight.
However, we are now confronted with a potentially lethal pathogen, one that we cannot see, and for which we do not have an evolutionarily prepared active response. In addition, people may also feel trapped and lonely, worried about a sick loved one, experiencing loss, or in an unsafe environment as they are sheltering in place. For some, the presence of Covid-19 may lead to chronic fear, helplessness, anxiety, anger, rebellion, collapse, and depression, as well as to various physical symptoms, like chronic pain, IBS, etc.
Trauma and immobility and the body’s response to helplessness
How our body overcomes and processes trauma
The psychotherapy techniques that aid clients in processing trauma
Dr. Peter Levine holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a naturalistic body-awareness approach to healing trauma, which he teaches all over the globe. Dr. Levine is also the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment and was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the space shuttle.
An accomplished author, Dr. Levine penned Healing Trauma, Sexual Healing and the bestselling book, Waking the Tiger. He also co-authored with Maggie Kline Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids. His latest book, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, is a testament to his lifelong investigation into the connection between evolutionary biology, neuroscience, animal behavior, and more than 40 years of clinical experience in the healing of trauma.
Dr. Levine was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) and is a Senior Fellow at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.
Financial: Peter Levine is the Developer of Somatic Experiencing®. He is the founder and Senior Advisor to the Foundation for Human Enrichment; and Senior Advisor to The Meadows Addiction Treatment Center. Dr. Levine receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Peter Levine is a member of the American Psychological Association; Humanistic Psychological Association; and International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.