VIDEO: Dr. Peter Levine on What Drew Him to Study Trauma

Watch an excerpt from PsychAlive’s exclusive interview with Dr. Peter Levine.

Dr. Peter Levine talks about what drew him to the study of trauma.

Dr. Peter A. Levine: I was being interviewed on this live TV program and they said, “Well, how is it that you’re so interested in trauma? You spent your life studying trauma. How did you happen to come to study trauma?”   And I closed my eyes for a moment and then opened them, and said, “Oh, actually it’s the other way around. Trauma invented me to study it.”  And as I look back in my life, so many things that made no sense, so many things that were horrifying, terrifying, and so forth, led me on this path.

You know the story, the Myth of Chiron, the archetype of Chiron, the “wounded healer.”  I think we all come, in some way, from our own wounding and our seeking of our own healing that takes us, hopefully, into delving our own depths and then being able to use that journey to help other people.

I didn’t realize it would become such a consuming affair and capture my whole life in researching, discovering, uncovering, developing, teaching, training, getting the work out into the world, writing, doing interviews – for instance, with you right now.

So I think, to me, trauma is, perhaps, the most fascinating, most compelling aspect of the human condition. And I think, if we look back into pre-literate times and the beginning of literate societies, basically, the main topic is about what? Trauma. And the overcoming of trauma.

About the Author

Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. is the developer of Somatic Experiencing®, a body-awareness approach to healing trauma, and the Director of The Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. Dr. Levine holds doctorate degrees in both Medical Biophysics and in Psychology. He spent 35 years studying stress and trauma and has contributed to numerous scientific and popular publications. Dr. Levine was a stress consultant for NASA on the development of the space shuttle project, as well as a member of the Institute of World Affairs Task Force of Psychologists for Social Responsibility in developing responses to large-scale disasters and ethno-political warfare. He has authored several books, including international best seller, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma and his most recent book, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. In 2010, Dr. Levine received the Life Time Achievement award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP).

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