3.25 CE Credits Available
Resolving Trauma in Psychotherapy: A Somatic Approach
by Peter Levine
Therapists know how difficult it can be to help clients heal from trauma, especially when using traditional cognitive or insight-oriented approaches. Learn powerful techniques for treating trauma from Peter Levine, developer of Somatic Experiencing®, as he demonstrates his body-oriented trauma therapy with an Iraq War veteran diagnosed with severe PTSD.
Therapists working in the area of trauma often either over-focus on thoughts and intellectual insights or compel clients to ‘re-live’ the traumatizing experience — approaches that are ineffective at healing trauma. With over four decades of research and clinical practice in stress and trauma, Somatic Experiencing® developer Peter Levine knows that true healing requires re-regulation of the nervous system. By both watching him in action with Ray, an Iraqi war veteran with PTSD and severe tic-like symptoms, and discussing his methods, you will learn how to help your own traumatized clients move from pain and hyperarousal to relief, control, and freedom to live more fully.

Levine knows that trauma traps the body and mind in a state of constant alert and distress, almost a continual re-living of the traumatizing event — be it war, natural, or man-made disasters. By watching him masterfully demonstrate a series of guided body-oriented exercises with Ray, you will learn how to help your own clients take back their bodies from trauma. And by doing so, they will learn to gently release and re-direct emotional and physical energy so they can confidently regulate themselves and begin to re-experience pleasure in their body. So, regardless of your theoretical orientation, the proven techniques of Somatic Experiencing® will allow you to work more fully with clients whose lives have been impacted by trauma. You’ll take away a full appreciation for Levine’s methods, ready to work effectively in this most challenging clinical domain.   

What therapists are saying…

"...I felt I was watching a complete combination of Milton Erickson, Wilhelm Reich, or some of his softer disciples, and Carl Rogers. The focus on each movement of the body and body energy was a delight to watch. Levine's observational skills and ability to bring his observations respectfully into the therapeutic relationship are superb and obviously a result of years of disciplined study....For those who work somatically, this video set will both encourage, as you observe skills you already use, and inspire, as you see new and more advanced possibilities available for your work. For those whose trauma work has thus far not allowed a somatic perspective, these sessions will open the door to more effective and powerful ways of working."

-- Doug Southeren, reviewed in Psychotherapy in Australia
"In this video, Peter Levine teaches and exemplifies a wise, experienced and kindly approach to working with trauma survivors. Several important and useful concepts are covered, including the creation of a safe space, the timing of attention to traumatic issues, the need to pay close attention to visible expressions of tension, confusion and, conversely, relaxation and understanding, as well as a sensitive assessment of the use of touch to promote healing. He clearly has a deep understanding of the impact of trauma in all its varieties, and possesses a mastery of techniques for treating this deserving population."

-- Frank Ochberg, MD - Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University, Editor of Post-traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, Founder, www.giftfromwith.org.
"This video provides an especially clear demonstration of Peter Levine’s highly effective approach to working with trauma. His sessions with Ray, an Iraq war veteran, show how Peter slowly and gently guides Ray towards the reduction of his symptoms and the recovery of self-regulation. In breakouts from the sessions, Peter explains the underlying physiology of trauma and how he treats it step by careful step, without re-traumatizing his client. These video’s of actual sessions are probably the most powerful, effective way to understand and appreciate Peter Levine’s finely attuned approach to working with the terrible tragedy of trauma."

-- Ron Kurtz, DHL - Founder of the Hakomi Method; Author of Body-Centered Psychotherapy
"Levine masterfully works with the soldier using the somatic-experiencing technique that he developed during the last 40 years…Levine’s knowledge of trauma and how it affects the body is amazing, and he uses it with precision to bring out the trauma and heal the body and mind. It is a respectful and powerful approach…This two video set offers new tools and perspectives about trauma and healing. I recommend this video and I already have told several people about it."

-- John D. Lentz, D.Min., reviewed in The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter
"This double video set contributes substantially to the field of psychotherapy and trauma work.The manual is well written and clearly articulates the main tenets of the theory, and the case study is an eye-opening example of the potential impact....I highly recommend this video for anyone with an interest in trauma-work and body work integrated into psychotherapy."

-- Margot Sennett, reviewed in The New Therapist (South Africa)
In Depth
CE Test
Trauma overwhelms the nervous system, trapping clients in a seemingly inescapable life-draining cycle of pain and hopelessness. For Peter Levine, it is only through re-regulation of the nervous system that clients can break free of this cycle before they can even begin to process the experience of trauma. Rooted in Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal theory, Levine’s directive, body-oriented techniques can be integrated into a wide range of therapeutic modalities and be used to treat all manner of trauma – from car accidents, surgeries, child abuse, experiences of violence, and natural disasters.

Simply stated, trauma is about ‘fixity’ and pain, while ‘flow’ is about release and freedom to live. Working over five sessions, Levine introduces several essential trauma resolution techniques that greatly improve Ray’s Tourette-like symptoms, as well as his overall pain and emotional outlook. By watching him at work, you will learn how to:
  • create a therapeutic environment of relative safety
  • support the initial exploration and comfort with bodily sensations
  • appreciate the process of “Pendulation”, which encourages clients to come into contact with an intrinsic rhythm in their bodies
  • restore active and adaptive defensive response or protective reflexes
  • teach clients to work with one sensation or feeling at a time (“Titrate”), to avoid further overwhelming the nervous system and re-experiencing of the trauma
  • uncouple fear from immobility to help the client experience the physical sensations of immobility in the absence of fear
  • encourage the discharge of energy, allowing hyper-arousal states to be brought down to equilibrium
  • restore equilibrium and balance through self-regulation, so the client can experience a greater sense of goodness, hope, and empowerment
  • reorient clients to the here-and-now so they can engage with their environment, regulate themselves and return to feeling alive to the outside world

You will feel as if you are sitting by Levine’s side with Ray as you join this true master, and in so doing, build your healing repertoire and clinical efficacy with traumatized clients as they begin their healing journeys.   

Length of video: 3:20:00

English subtitles available

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-214-X

Individual ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-214-3

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-213-1

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-213-6

Peter A. Levine, PhD, is the developer of Somatic Experiencing© and founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He teaches trainings in this work throughout the world and in various indigenous cultures. Levine is the author of the best-selling book Waking the Tiger : Healing Trauma : The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences and he has recently co-published a comprehensive book on childhood trauma, Trauma Through a Child's Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing as well as a guide for parents, Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parents' Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience. He is the recipient of the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the the US Association of Body Psychotherapy.

CE credits: 3.25

Learning Objectives:

  • List the building blocks of the Somatic Experiencing approach
  • Explain the physiological orientation that underpins this method of trauma resolution
  • Apply somatic methods to your clinical work with trauma clients

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2010

Course Reviewed January 2024

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