Author Topic: Somatic Experiencing  (Read 2702 times)

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Somatic Experiencing
« on: July 22, 2022, 01:36:13 am »
This is an extremely popular trauma healing alternative therapy developed by Peter Levine who cites inspiration from "shamanism" in his books describing his understanding and approach to healing trauma. He has also been called a "Shaman" in this interview, A Shaman’s Scientific Journeyhttps://www.ibpj.org/issues/articles/Aline%20LaPierre%20-%20A%20Shamans%20Scientific%20Journey%20Conversation%20with%20Peter%20Levine.pdf

https://www.somaticexperiencing.com/

from Wikipedia:
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Levine's model, influenced by his work with shamans of "several cultures", makes wider connections "to myth and shamanism" and is "connected to these traditions".[50] Levine "uses a story from shamanistic medicine to describe the work of body-centred trauma counselling. In shamanism it is believed that when a person is over¬ whelmed by tragedy his soul will leave his body, a belief which is concordant with our present understanding of dissociation."[51] Levine even notes that while developing his "theoretical biophysics doctoral dissertation on accumulated stress, as well as on my body-mind approach to resolving stress and healing trauma" he had a mystical experience where he engaged in a year long socratic dialogue with an apparition of Albert Einstein.[52] After reportedly having a "profound" dream Peter Levine believed he had been "assigned" the task "to protect this ancient knowledge from the Celtic Stone Age temples, and the Tibetan tradition, and to bring it to the scientific Western way of looking at things....".[53]

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Somatic Experiencing
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2022, 02:55:28 pm »
https://www.psychalive.org/video-dr-peter-levine-treatment-trauma-different-cultures/

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Dr. Peter Levine describes the treatment of trauma in other cultures.
Dr. Peter A. Levine: As you can see, my journey went in many directions from animal behavior to studying some of the ancient yogic and shamanic traditions.  I taught at the Hopi Reservation for a number of years in Second Mesa, I started to see how similar our approaches, in some ways, were. In many ways, of course, they were different. And one of the things that struck me when I was visiting the Kinaki people in Brazil, in the upper part of Minejurise, near the border with Baia, — We had spent three days to get there. It was quite a journey. We were walking in the noonday sun which he warned us against.  He told us to leave about 5 or 4 o’clock in the morning. But anyhow, he must have pitied us and he took us out and gave us some water and put some flutes out and when I first arrived, he said, “Well, what can I do?”  I said, “Well, I don’t know if you know the term ‘trauma,’  or ‘cistus’ which means, in Shamanistic language, ‘fright paralysis.  It’s borrowed from the Spanish and Portuguese word. And he said that he had heard both of the word trauma and of ‘cistus,’ of course, but he said, “Let’s just go out and sit outside under the mango tree.”  And we sat there and we sat there and he was playing the flute and I said, “May I have a flute to play?” and he said, “Well, of course, they’re here for you.”

So we played for a while and in that way we got some kind of a connection, a rhythmic connection between each other.  Another key in working with trauma successfully is re-establishing the capacity for rhythmic perception of our inner states. So he said, “Tell me again why you’re here.” Then — and this is through double translation — I said, “Well I wanted to know how you deal with ‘cistus’  or trauma.”  And he said, “Well, we see it really as not a thing, but as a breakdown in the fabric of the society.”

And he said that when the society is coherent, that the traumatization wasn’t there. But I would add that it would be greatly reduced. And I think that’s one of the weaknesses we have in such an autonomous, individualistic society where, you know, the only way people get to deal with these important experiences are through one-to-one psychotherapy, not through ritual, not through other modalities that have also been used since time immemorial.

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1408
Re: Somatic Experiencing
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2022, 12:59:26 am »

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Somatic Experiencing
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2022, 09:30:44 pm »
I reached out to Somatic Experiencing to see if they could clarify the "Shamanic" influence on Somatic Experiencing as created by Peter Levine.  Here is the response that I recieved:

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Dr Levine is working on a book to help catalogue some of this information that he can recall. Keep in mind he’s over 80 and most of his research and extensive world travel was long before computers or digital calendars, etc. Details were handwritten on paper long gone. He has much regret over this, but has excepted it and will do the best he can to recall specifics in his next book. You can look on this webpage and scroll down to learn more in the Roots of SE section (more details to come as he explores his memories over time - he’s one of the hardest working people, always in the future learning more, so it’s been a bit hard to for him to make the time needed for past reflection - I forgive him as his continued teachings are still valued): https://www.somaticexperiencing.com/somatic-experiencing

In general Shamanism has been a personal support for him over his lifetime with many many different healers - it seems he feels this essence of body/mind/universal connection seeped into SE work as his skills evolved over time. If you are an SEP who has taken his master courses and are familiar with Shamanism you may be able to understand how this connects - and he’s talked more in depth in courses over the years.

The Wikipedia page needs work as it was not created by us. I’ve know false information is there and the faculty are tasked to edit it. Our website is the best source for info on Peter or SE.

Thank you.


Melissa A Stager, EMBA, SEP | Manager
Office of Peter A Levine, PhD
Ergos Institute of Somatic Education
Vista, California