Because I’ve noticed that in several different topics and in several different categories, the subject of healing trauma has come up numerous times, I thought I would open this as a new topic, so suggestions/resources can be easily found in one place.
I do not know Peter A. Levine, PhD, nor am I associated with his organization in any way. But I do subscribe to his method of addressing trauma. Much trauma healing is based on “exposure therapy,” which involves recalling, re-living, and re-telling the content of the trauma. Done incrementally, this can be useful in that physical and emotional tension are defused and eased over time,
However, Levine’s method, “Somatic Experiencing” (registered trademark), works directly with the body and the arousal cycles in the nervous system. Per the website, https://traumahealing.org/about-us, his method addresses both “acute stress from a perceived life-threat, or…the end product of cumulative stress,” (the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict). This method “facilitates completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body.”
I particularly like this YouTube video entitled “Nature’s Lessons in Healing Trauma: An Introduction to Somatic Experiencing.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmJDkzDMIIc. It is 27 minutes long, so allow some time. It contains vivid video of animals in the wild dealing with threat and experiencing the same nervous system arousals–fight, flight, fear/immobility (freeze)–as do humans.
The video also contains an example of Levine’s somatic experiencing work with a veteran from the Iraq war, illustrating how the nervous system’s natural “threat response” does not get completed in many traumatic experiences, thus energy gets “stuck” in the body at a particular point in the threat response cycle, and can subsequently be easily ‘triggered’ in the future, or turn into various involuntary motor responses. While talk therapy can be good, sometimes if the trauma is not addressed at its source in the body’s nervous system, emotional/psychological therapy will be less than successful.
Finally, this site, https://sepractitioner.membergrove.com, allows you to search for a practitioner/therapist trained in somatic experiencing. Plug in a zip code and possibly the speciality–everything from military trauma to childhood abuse to sexual assault to LGBT issues to the trauma of homelessness, and more–and it will tell you if there are somatic experiencing practitioners in your area.
(Addendum: Someone has reported being unable to get to the YouTube video “Nature’s Lessons In Healing Trauma” by using the link I provided. If that’s a problem for anyone else, just go to YouTube and enter in Search that title, and that should get you there.)