VIDEO: Dr. Peter Levine on Somatic Experiencing Approach and Attachment
Watch an excerpt from PsychAlive’s exclusive interview with Dr. Peter Levine.
Dr. Peter Levine describes a case example of the Somatic Experiencing Approach in relation to a toddler who had trouble attaching to his mother.
Dr. Peter A. Levine: One of the videos is work I did with a 12 or 14-month-old. He never really attached, he never molded and bonded with his mother. But his mother was, in Winnicott’s tems, “a good-enough mother.” She wasn’t, you know, a cold mother, she wasn’t an ambivalent mother. She really wanted to be there, but he just never attached.
Well, we look at his history. He was born breached, the cord was three times around his neck, he was so far wedged up in the apex of the uterus, under the diaphragm, that even with a Caesarian, they couldn’t get him out, so they had to use suction to pull his head out. So you think of the trauma he went through and then he had tubes and so forth and so on.
Well, we do some simple work, and you see when I start playing with him – I have some rattles—he’s interested in the rattle and he grabs, but then he pulls away, and then again, he touches it, and I encourage him to push, and he pushes this time and that’s the first step. Instead of being completely dependent and overwhelmed by the whole experience, by all the tubes, by all the procedures people are doing, he starts, for the first time, being able to protect himself.
And in 20 minutes, he attaches with his mom. And, you see, she’s having tears. “Is this my baby? I can’t believe it. I mean he’s always been affectionate, he’s always nice, but he’s never done this. He’s never molded into me.” So again, with early intervention, we can do so much. They’re talking about investing some billions and billions of dollars in mapping the brain. Hey, let’s just take a tenth of that and look at early intervention; that money would be much more wisely spent, in my humble opinion.Tags: attachment, child attachment, expert interview, Somatic Experiencing Approach, trauma, video