Peter Levine Healing Trauma Exercises


Theories About Why These Kinds Of Exercises Work:

A Simple Exercise to Ease Despair with Peter Levine, PhD

1. The human nervous system responds to touch. Hands-on healing has been used by humanity since ancient times. This could have to do with electrical currents, or the fact that we are calmed and held in specific ways as babies.

2. This is one of many exercises that forces one to focus on the body, this change of attention and awareness is therapeutic. See also exercise Felt Sense.

3. This is training one to be gentle towards self rather than harsh. This helps to build up this kind of relationship to self a relationship that is characterized by being gentle, caring, kind and nurturing.

How Stress Affects Us Physically

When trauma or stress stay âlockedâ in our bodies, it not only affects us emotionally and psychologically with symptoms related to depression and anxiety, but it can also turn into physical problems like stomach issues or even chronic back pain.

This is because our human response to stress is automatic and activates to keep us safeâfight or flight. However, when the âdangerâ mode is activated in us for long periods of time and we donât get that discharge moment, our nervous system stays charged up and we remain in a state of distress, even if weâre not wholly consciously aware of it.

There are physical repercussions of this kind of stressâhigh blood pressure and blood sugar can impact our immune system, long-term muscle tension can have a physical ripple effect, and short or rapid breathing can impact our respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Somatic therapy involves becoming aware of when our bodies are telling us weâre stressed or triggered, like with muscle tension, stomach aches, headaches, shallow breathing, throat tightness, or numbness. Somatic therapy also involves learning how to calm or discharge that stress, tension and trauma. These techniques can include breathing exercises, dance, mindfulness and other body movement techniques.

Somatic therapy techniques are body-focused to help us calm our nervous systems that have been overloaded by stress.

Clinical Experience And Anecdotal Evidence

SE® has been applied for over four decades by Peter Levine, and most of the evidence comes from his clinical experience . Although professional practitioners knowledge and experience are highly valuable, this does not ensure that treatment and improvement in clients are necessarily causally related.

Moreover, the application of interventions based on animals natural responses to trauma mostly relies on observing animal behavior and anecdotal experience .

The scientific study of animals living in the wild is challenging, which undermines understanding why and under what conditions this natural response is deployed and when it is not. Understanding this might enable us to comprehend how natural trauma responses in animals can be extrapolated to humans.

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Finding A Provider For Tre

Certified TRE practitioners have training in tension and trauma releasing exercises and shaking therapy. You can find a provider close to you by searching this TRE provider list.

As shaking therapy can release intense emotions, Berceli recommends bringing someone along to support you. This is especially true if you experienced severe trauma.

Its still safe to do, but oftentimes people need somebody to accompany them. They might cry or get anxious, he says. a clinician who helps them regulate that emotional state or even a close friend or a partner who they feel safe and comfortable with.

Emdr Yoga And Other Mind

Pin on Kinesiology

Yoga and other mindful movement practices are becoming widely used in trauma treatment. However, one of the most extensively studied therapies for trauma involves movement of the eyes.

In eye movement desensitization and reprocessing , the therapist slowly moves their finger back and forth from right to left in the patients field of vision. The patient is instructed to think about the traumatic incident and how the experience felt while at the same time following the therapists finger movements with their eyes. As memories and sensations come up, the patient is told to notice them, and then to resume following the finger movements. EMDR is typically carried out in weekly sessions over the course of approximately three months.

If youve never heard of EMDR before, it may sound odd. Researchers still dont know exactly why it works, but it is thought that the therapy integrates traumatic memories that were previously inadequately processed. As van der Kolk describes in his book, EMDR may reproduce what happens in REM sleep, when our eyes move rapidly and we process memories. No matter how it works, it works meta-analyses show that EMDR has moderate to strong effects in reduction of PTSD symptoms and depressive symptoms, and can result in loss of PTSD diagnosis.

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Shower Exercise To Connect With Your Body


When a situation exceeds the persons ability to cope with it, and he/she feels helpless and unable to escape, then it results in trauma. Its said that trauma does not lie in the event but in the response to that event.


Dissociation, in other words disconnection from the feelings and body, is a way to escape the inescapable. It is a mode of survival. Trauma and dissociation go hand in hand when the trauma is over, the person can still be dissociated from that incident. According to Dr. Scaer, Our brain is strongly wired to protect us from life threats through a series of message systems in the limbic brain that allow us to assess danger and then institute a self-preservation response. Dissociation is a form of self-preservation response.

If youve been through trauma and your body initiated a survival response, dissociation, to cope with the trauma, then youll habitually disconnect from your body. However, even if we arent dissociated, we have a tendency to disconnect from our bodies. Were in our minds most of the time, hardly in our bodies.

Heres a simple and gentle exercise to bring your awareness back to your body. This exercise is by Peter Levine and outlined in his book, In an Unspoken Voice.

In his words,

Containment With Safe Touch

Somatic Experiencing therapy sometimes utilizes touch because it more directly intervenes with the nervous system. Touch can include self-touch. One use of touch is to provide a sense of containment. Again, take your time with each of these steps in this self-soothing exercise.

  • Take a moment and notice your overall experience.
  • Take your right hand and place it just below your left armpit, holding the side of your chest.
  • Place your left hand on your right bicep .
  • Take several minutes to notice the feeling under your hands . Do you experience a sense of containment from your hands and arms? Is it pleasant?
  • Notice how the rest of your body experiences this soothing and containing touch .
  • What do you notice now about your overall experience?

When you experience a lot of emotional arousal from being triggered by coronavirus news, it can be difficult to contain the energy of those emotions. This Somatic Experiencing exercise keeps you grounded by re-establishing a felt sense of containment in your body.T

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According To Experts Dr Levine And Dr Mat The Key To Healing Is To Reconnect With The Body

This is why many movement and body-centered therapies are emerging as more effective modalities, such as Somatic Experiencing, art therapy, trauma-informed yoga and Qigong.

This is why Rewire Therapy combines over 8 researched-backed body-based therapies into short daily techniques that help rewire the trauma response…

And why weve brought together our top-rated Rewire Therapy techniques into a new cutting-edge program.

What Is Somatic Experiencing

Treating Trauma: 2 Ways to Help Clients Feel Safe, with Peter Levine

Somatic Experiencing is a body-oriented therapeutic model applied in multiple professions and professional settingspsychotherapy, medicine, coaching, teaching, and physical therapyfor healing trauma and other stress disorders. It is based on a multidisciplinary intersection of physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics and has been clinically applied for more than four decades. It is the lifes work of Dr. Peter A. Levine.

The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. It offers a framework to assess where a person is stuck in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. SE provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others.



The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.

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Somatic Therapy Exercises And Techniques

Have you ever been startled by something like a loud noise, something falling near you, or someone jumping out to scare you, but after that initial jolt you break down laughing, get a body shiver after you realize youâre safe, or feel a small burst of energy? Thatâs your bodyâs nervous system discharging a moment of stress.

Somatic means relating to the body, so somatic therapy is all about the mind-body connection. Cognitive approaches to therapy , like cognitive behavioural therapy , where you focus on your thinking processes and how youâre feeling emotionally while aiming to resolve those issues verbally. Somatic therapists incorporate the body as an important part of our overall mental health picture.

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How To Do It

Shaking therapy can be performed seated or standing. Focus on particular parts of the body, simply shaking it out.

Sometimes I just get goofy with it and make crazy movements, Finucane says. You can also just pause and notice your breathing. Maybe even sigh it out, take a deep breath, and then take one of your arms and start wobbling it around a bit. Hang out here for three more breaths.

Finucane emphasizes that youre not really looking for anything in particular. Just be aware and curious.

Ask yourself:

  • What does it feel like to be in my body?
  • How did my body and emotions feel before I did this?
  • How did my body and emotions feel after I did this?

Once complete, youre ready to switch sides.

Repeat on each leg, the hips, and then the body as a whole. Shake it around and move any parts you feel like, including your head, fingers, and bottom.

Can You Practice Somatic Experiencing By Yourself

Peter Levines Self Holding Exercises for Sufferers of PTSD  PART 2 ...

Its highly recommended that you start somatic therapy with the help of a trained therapist. This can help you customize your approach to your specific trauma, emotions, and symptoms. It may also feel safer if any unexpected emotions come up.

According to Peter Levine, a therapist is trained and focused on creating a safe space for you. However, when you practice somatic exercises for a long time with a therapist, its possible to get attached to them and might feel its the only place you feel totally safe.

Thats why Levine thinks its important for therapists to teach tools and exercises that may help you feel safe on your own, too.

Keeping the above in mind, here are some somatic therapy exercises you could consider practicing at home:

Grounding exercises help you center and anchor yourself to the present moment. This could help you take your mind off past events that are causing you distress.

Grounding may be particularly helpful if youre experiencing flashbacks, anxiety, and dissociation symptoms.

Here are a few grounding techniques to try at home:

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What Youll Learn In The Healing Trauma Online Course

Session One: Trauma and Its Effects on the Body

Trauma is about loss of connectionto 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 doesnt happen all at once but rather over time. In this session, well begin by defining trauma, distinguishing it from stress, and then identifying some of the most common causes and symptoms.

Session Highlights:

  • Fight, flight, or freezecommon 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, well discuss this process in depth and explore how transforming trauma involves our instincts, emotions, and intellect all working together.

Session Highlights:

  • 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

Session Highlights:

Ichill App And Website

iChill was developed by the Trauma Resource Institute. Inspired by neuroscience, stress physiology and Somatic Experiencing, the About iChill section provides an overview of the effects of stress on your body and emotions, and introduces core skills for emotional regulation that are trauma-informed. There are exercises and an audio track to guide you along. The Help Now button also provides a quick list of handy strategies you can use in a crisis.

*Note: The crisis line numbers in the app are US-based. Please contact your local Canadian crisis/distress line for immediate support.

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Healing Tools For Trauma

I use Tapping, TRE® and EMDR at home, short term, to calm myself. Try them , but dont isolate. For real healing we need a good attachment-based psychotherapist and a support group. I also had a Grief Recovery partner. Research these to see whats right for you and ask your therapist:

Neurofeedback Works Van der Kolk: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, MD, posted a webinar on neurofeedback 8-9-16 which changes the map. He saw how drawings by traumatized kids changed and developed after 40 weeks treatment and said, I was blown away. Nothing I know of can do that.Neurofeedback: Healing the Fear-Driven Brain -Neurofeedback pioneer Sebern Fisher says it cured her own developmental infant trauma.Find a Neurofeedback Practitioner Online: EEG Spectrum: EEG Information Directory:

Tapping, aka Emotional Freedom Technique Incredibly helpful takes a few tries to learn. Dont tap alone if you have extreme trauma. Click the start of this paragraph for my May 2015 blogs on tapping.

EMDR Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing Long-term use requires an EMDR therapist. New research shows EMDR may also help developmental trauma check links in blog above. Find an EMDR Practitioner:

Trauma Release Exercises

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Your Feedback And Suggestions

12 Phase Healing Trauma Programme

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Trauma And Se Through The Eyes Of Ray And Monica

Ray is a veteran who experienced trauma while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. After being involved in an explosion, he developed several physical and psychological symptoms, including involuntary movements, which severely affected his quality of life.

With SE®, Ray was able to approach these physical sensations and gently bring himself back to a state of balance. Watch Peter Levine guide Ray through SE® therapy:

After a car accident, Monica felt her body trembling while being medically assessed in the hospital, without understanding what was happening to her.

After years of experiencing physical pain and depression, she ran into SE®. This has helped her deal with highly stressful situations and better understand and help others experiencing trauma.

Monica talks about her personal experience with SE® in this TED Talk video:

What Our Practitioners Are Saying

SE provides the basic natural healing and core nervous system skills for all the work I do, and its natural mindfulness as well. It helps clients attune to what’s happening in their bodies, slow down and pause fast energies, wake up and balance sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Learning to consciously titrate gives clients a boost in self-awareness, and confidence in their capacity to change and heal. These basic and natural SE practices and tools help clients re-enter a traumatized or dissociated body slowly, at their own pace, and gradually more safely.

~Craniosacral Therapist from Huntington Beach, CA USA

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