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Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma Paperback – July 7, 1997
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"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.”
From the Back Cover
Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity to heal as well as an intellectual spirit to harness this innate capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question - why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed. Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them.
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Somatic Experiencing has somehow taught my body to self-regulate emotions, without causing more dissociation after sessions. It has the added benefit of not being talk-centered, so I don't have to constantly delve into details of my past that I often would rather not repeat again and again. It has by-passed my problematic thought-processes that often hinder my recovery, by working directly on my body. Somehow, without cognitive effort, I end up feeling much better without even trying to think my way better. In fact, my thoughts and perspectives have somehow changed of their own accord, as my body begins to feel better on its own. It's like my body just started healing on its own, and then my brain catches up with it accordingly. I see the world differently now, I see myself differently now, and without even trying to implant new thoughts or perspectives into myself.
When I was doing CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) I felt like I was constantly exerting immense effort on myself, trying to make my brain interpret my environment differently. I was repeatedly attempting to force new thoughts into my head, and this made me feel resentful at the constant argumentation I would have going on inside my brain, and angry because I felt that I was lying to myself with these new thoughts I was forcing into my head. Somatic Experiencing with a touch-certified therapist has removed this battle from my mind; and healthier thoughts and perspectives have slipped into my brain unnoticed by me at first. Despite having read this book, I still don't fully understand how it is possible that somatic experiencing is so effective.
This book explains somatic experiencing very well. Not only does Peter Levine go into the details of how trauma effects the brain and body, but he describes some somatic experiencing sessions with clients in enough detail that the reader can learn what he or she can expect in a somatic experiencing session. I highly recommend his other book "Trauma and Memory" for a detailed explanation of traumatic memory. This book "Waking the Tiger" explains how trauma effects the brain-body and how somatic experiencing functions; his book "Trauma and Memory" explains how traumatic memory works, and how it is different from non-traumatic memory, and the difference between explicit and implicit memory. For those of us who feel confused about our patchy, gap-ridden explicit memories, coupled with our highly valent emotional patterns of reaction, his "Trauma and Memory" book sheds much light on this confusion.
CBT is woefully under-equipped to handle childhood attachment trauma; it only made me fight inside my head more, and feel resentful at the constant effort of forcing myself to think differently. EMDR did not work for me, as it attempted to cram more trauma into my brain while leaving my body behind in the process, which mainly led to further dissociation. Talk therapy has been helpful for my own understanding of what happened to me, but it, too, left my body out of the picture, and did not help me with the daily emotional dysregulation which caused me so much constant grief. Somatic Experiencing, on the other hand, has put the healing emphasis onto my body, and caused it to heal itself, resulting in my body feeling better and my brain responding to my improved feelings in my body. My brain just keeps catching up to my healing body without much exerted effort on my part.
I highly recommend this book, and somatic experiencing with a touch-certified therapist, to anyone who has experienced childhood attachment trauma.