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Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma Paperback – July 7, 1997

251 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Every life contains difficulties we are not prepared for. Read, learn, and be prepared for life and healing."
—Bernard S. Siegal, M.D., Author of Love, Medicine & Miracles and Peace, Love, and Healing

"Fascinating! Amazing! A revolutionary exploration of the effects and causes of trauma."
—Mira Rothenberg, Director Emeritus of Blueberry Treatment Centers for Disturbed Children, Author of Children With Emerald Eyes

"It is a most important book. Quite possibly a work of genius."
—Ron Kurtz, Author of Body Reveals and Body-Centered Psychotherapy

"Levine effectively argues that the body is healer and that psychological scars of trauma are reversible—but only if we listen to the voices of our body." 
—Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., Professor of Human Development and Psychology, University of Maryland
"A vital contribution to the exciting emerging science of mind/body interaction in the treatment of disease."
—Robert C. Scaer, M.D., Neurology, Medical Director, Rehabilitation Services, Boulder Community Hospital

"Peter Levine’s work is visionary common sense, pure and simple."
—Laura Huxley, lifetime partner and collaborator of Aldous Huxley
“[Waking the Tiger] is an excellent resource for those who have been traumatized or know someone who suffers from trauma, like a soldier returning from war. Finally, there is help that doesn’t ask us to relive what happened and re-experience the pain. Instead, it follows the body’s wisdom in its search for renewal and healing.”
Soaring Again

About the Author

Peter Levine, Ph.D. is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing® and the Director of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He holds doctorate degrees in both Medical Biophysics and Psychology. During his thirty year study of stress and trauma, Dr. Levine has contributed to a variety of scientific, medical, and popular publications. His book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma is in its fifth printing and receiving wide international attention. Peter was a consultant for NASA during the development of the Space Shuttle, and has taught at hospitals and pain clinics in both Europe and the U.S., as well as at the Hopi Guidance Center in Arizona. He lives near Lyons, Colorado, on the banks of the St. Vrain River.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (July 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155643233X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556432330
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

434 of 459 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Davis-Thompson on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This exciting, insightful book reinforces the wholeness of the human vehicle, that our body and triune brain of instinct, emotion and rationality are totally connected to the human experience and to our connection with all of life. The book explains why humans are often frozen in trauma, unlike animals who daily cope with the unpredictability of nature and man. For humans, as is true for animals, the potential for trauma exists from birth through death, with at least one major difference - that humans have a harder time releasing trauma and many carry it all of their lives, which causes major interference with health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions will remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs awaiting discharge. Like Sleeping Beauty awaiting her restoration to life once the poisoned apple is dislodged, those with deep psychological scars have disassociated the memory from their minds and are living in a numbed, tensed body awaiting its release so the body can return to wholeness and optimum mental and physical health. The author persuasively asserts that psychological wounds are reversible and that healing comes when the physical and mental letting go occurs, similar to the way the tiger experiences the coming and going of threat, tensing in response to danger, and as the threat passes, the tiger's muscles shake, twitch and let go right then and there the fear related energy which now is forever out of mind and body. So, too, Peter Levine states, can humans learn to release long-held and/or current trauma without return.Read more ›
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156 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Melody on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
After reading Peter Levine's book I found a practioner of "Somatic Experiencing" from his web site in my city. From the first day I saw her I have been releasing trauma in the gentlest way I have ever experienced. This method has helped me release trauma that no other method has ever done and releases from the deepest layers I thought I would just have to live with forever. I have very complex PTSD from years of severe and sadistic child abuse from several perpretrators. Talk therapy, journaling, art therapy were helpful but just couldn't clear the fear, grief, hopelessness, that I carried. Emotional Freedom technique was also helpful and some other body therapies but this is my favorite.

There is a LOT more to the healing techniques of Somatic Experiencing than in this book. I look forward to learning more techniques to clear the trauma from my body/mind. Somatic Experiencing is giving me the life I struggled so hard for in many years of previous therapy to attain. And it is so much easier, with less tears, hard work and pain! I have never experienced the levels of inner peace and calm that I have now. All my relationships are improving as well.

For someone like myself, this will take more than 6 sessions as one person mentioned. I have a highly skilled therapist who is trained by Dr. Peter Levine in Somatic Experiencing. I know it will take many months to complete my healing but I have accomplished more in 15 sessions with her than being in therapy off and on for 16 years, reading books, and doing all kinds of things to get my life back.

My life is just easier in every way. Thank you, Dr. Peter Levine, for helping me heal so I have a life worth living and making a difference in my son's life as well.
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274 of 292 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Rafael on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Levine in "Waking the Tiger," postulates that trauma exists not in the event or in the story of the event, but is stored within the nervous system. Many common physical ailments are actually residues of thwarted trauma reactions incurred during such events as surgical procedures, falls, pre or perinatal stress and/or childhood accidents and traumas. The body has a natural, innate, and miraculous capacity to heal once these reactions are understood and guided.

Levine reinforces the holistic nature of the human being. Our bodies and brains connect instinct, emotion and rationality to our experience. Trauma may create damaging and often enduring symptoms. Human beings have a harder time than do animals in releasing trauma and may carry it throughout our lives. We often become frozen in trauma, unlike animals that can cope with the unpredictability of nature. This may provide a major interference with our health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs, awaiting discharge.

The author writes about an oft-forgotten aspect of trauma, freezing or immobilization during a traumatic experience. Modern medicine/psychiatry emphasize the "flight or fight" response while often neglecting the freeze response. The concept of the freeze response in the face of overwhelming threat provides a missing link to symptoms such as dissociation that our old ideas of "fight or flight" fail to explain. Immobilization in the face of threat is an automatic biological response that is not voluntarily chosen by the victim. This provides redeeming message to trauma survivors.
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