Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body by Peter A. Levine Ph.D

Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body by Peter A. Levine Ph.D

Author:Peter A. Levine Ph.D.
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Counseling, Self-Help & Personal Growth
ISBN: 9781591798613
Publisher: Sounds True
Published: 2009-01-01T08:00:00+00:00

Dense Thick Flowing

Breathless Fluttery Nervous

Queasy Expanded Floating

Heavy Tingly Electric

Fluid Numb Wooden

Dizzy Full Congested

Spacey Trembly Twitchy

Tight Hot Bubbly

Achy Wobbly Calm

Suffocating Buzzy Energized

Tremulous Constricted Warm

Knotted Icy Light

Blocked Hollow Cold

Disconnected Sweaty Streaming

The way that you distinguish a sensation from an emotion and from a thought is by being able to locate it in your body and experience it in a direct physical way. For example, if you’re experiencing anxiety, the next question to ask would be: “When I feel anxious, how do I know that I am feeling anxious?” In other words, where in your body do you feel it, and exactly what is the physical sensation? Is it tightness? Is it constriction? Is it a knot? Or, is it a fluttery feeling? Is it your heart palpitating? What is your breathing like? Are there butterflies in your stomach? All of these sensations might be called “anxiety.” The trick in dealing with and finding a sensation is to realize that it has to have a location in the body. It can have a size. It frequently has a shape. And it has a specific physical quality, such as tightness, spaciousness, constriction, heat, cold, vibration, or tingling.

Now you’re ready to proceed with Phase 4.



From “Felt Sense” to Tracking Specific Sensations

NOTE: For the following exercise, you’ll need an object (or even a person—or image of them) that is special to you. This object will serve as the focus of the exercise.

When we have been traumatized, the body doesn’t feel like a safe place. It feels like a dangerous place. This exercise is designed to help you discover your own pacing and inner rhythms, and to trust in your own innate capacity to regulate and to heal. It will help you begin to find islands of relative safety or ease within your body.

Find a comfortable place to sit, either in a chair or on the floor. I prefer that you start by sitting rather than lying down, because sometimes when you lie down, the sensations and feeling can come up more quickly and be more difficult. And, please, never try this exercise while driving.

As you practice, slow down or stop altogether if the sensations begin to get too intense. Remember that your tolerance will build gradually, as you continue with all of these exercises.

Begin by bringing into your space something that gives you a sense of comfort or is special to you. It could be a stone, a crystal, a flower, a pet, a favorite picture or photograph. It could even be a trusted friend you want simply to sit with you in quiet support.

Now tune in to the sensations your body is experiencing. Feel how the chair or floor holds your weight. Notice your clothing on your skin, and begin to place your awareness on the muscles underneath your skin as well. Notice how your feet are grounded, through the floor and the foundation and down into the earth. Try to feel this sense of groundedness with your whole body.

Now gaze at


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