This book explores how trauma develops when we are overwhelmed by a potentially life-threatening event we are unable to deal with effectively. Peter Levine claims that traumatic symptoms are rooted in the residual energy created by the freeze response. Left untreated it can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms and stress-related disorders.
He noticed how animals in the wild, although routinely threatened, are rarely traumatised. He says that by understanding what makes wild animals immune to traumatic symptoms we can understand and deal with trauma in the human condition.
Divided into four sections, the book offers useful exercises that will help the reader develop a basic understanding of trauma:
- Section 1 – The Body as Healer Explores how post traumatic symptoms develop and why they are so persistent; it gives a clear description and analysis of the physiological processes that produce trauma.
- Section 2 – Symptoms of Trauma Presents an in depth account of the core elements of a traumatic reaction, symptoms it causes and how it affects a traumatised person.
- Section 3 – Transformation and Renegotiation Explores how we can transform trauma, whether personal or social.
- Section 4 – First Aid for Trauma Provides practical information to help prevent trauma from developing after an accident.
Peter Levine says, “Trauma can be self-perpetuating. Trauma begets trauma and will continue to do so eventually crossing generations in families, communities and countries until we take steps to contain its propagation. At the moment, the work of transforming trauma within groups of people is still in its infancy.” He believes we are able to overcome the debilitating effects of trauma.
Dr Peter Levine on the immobility response