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Waking The Tiger: Healing Trauma

Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma...Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (July 7, 1997)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 155643233X

ISBN-13: 978-1556432330

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches

Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)

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This exciting, insightful book reinforces the wholeness of the human vehicle, that our body and triune brain of instinct, emotion and rationality are totally connected to the human experience and to our connection with all of life. The book explains why humans are often frozen in trauma, unlike animals who daily cope with the unpredictability of nature and man. For humans, as is true for animals, the potential for trauma exists from birth through death, with at least one major difference - that humans have a harder time releasing trauma and many carry it all of their lives, which causes major interference with health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions will remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs awaiting discharge. Like Sleeping Beauty awaiting her restoration to life once the poisoned apple is dislodged, those with deep psychological scars have disassociated the memory from their minds and are living in a numbed, tensed body awaiting its release so the body can return to wholeness and optimum mental and physical health. The author persuasively asserts that psychological wounds are reversible and that healing comes when the physical and mental letting go occurs, similar to the way the tiger experiences the coming and going of threat, tensing in response to danger, and as the threat passes, the tiger's muscles shake, twitch and let go right then and there the fear related energy which now is forever out of mind and body. So, too, Peter Levine states, can humans learn to release long-held and/or current trauma without return.

Peter Levine in "Waking the Tiger," postulates that trauma exists not in the event or in the story of the event, but is stored within the nervous system. Many common physical ailments are actually residues of thwarted trauma reactions incurred during such events as surgical procedures, falls, pre or perinatal stress and/or childhood accidents and traumas. The body has a natural, innate, and miraculous capacity to heal once these reactions are understood and guided.Levine reinforces the holistic nature of the human being. Our bodies and brains connect instinct, emotion and rationality to our experience. Trauma may create damaging and often enduring symptoms. Human beings have a harder time than do animals in releasing trauma and may carry it throughout our lives. We often become frozen in trauma, unlike animals that can cope with the unpredictability of nature. This may provide a major interference with our health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs, awaiting discharge.The author writes about an oft-forgotten aspect of trauma, freezing or immobilization during a traumatic experience. Modern medicine/psychiatry emphasize the "flight or fight" response while often neglecting the freeze response. The concept of the freeze response in the face of overwhelming threat provides a missing link to symptoms such as dissociation that our old ideas of "fight or flight" fail to explain. Immobilization in the face of threat is an automatic biological response that is not voluntarily chosen by the victim. This provides redeeming message to trauma survivors.

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