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Top 35 Peter A. Levine Quotes (2024 Update)

Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “When people have been traumatized, they are stuck in paralysis-the immobility reaction or abrupt explosions of rage.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma has become so commonplace that most people don’t even recognize its presence. It affects everyone. Each of us has had a traumatic experience at some point in our lives, regardless of whether it left us with an obvious case of post-traumatic stress. Because trauma symptoms can remain hidden for years after a triggering event, some of us who have been traumatized are not yet symptomatic.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The body has been designed to renew itself through continuous self-correction. These same principles also apply to the healing of psyche, spirit, and soul.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma happens when any experience stuns us like a bolt out of the blue; it overwhelms us, leaving us altered and disconnected.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The symptoms of trauma can be stable, that is, ever-present. They can also be unstable, meaning that they can come and go and be triggered by stress. Or they can remain hidden for decades and suddenly surface. Usually, symptoms do not occur individually, but come in groups. They often grow increasingly complex over time, becoming less and less connected with the original trauma experience.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “We may deny that an event occurred, or we may act as though it was unimportant. For instance, when someone we love dies, or when we are injured or violated, we may act as though nothing has happened, because the emotions that come with truly acknowledging the situation are too painful. In addition, dissociation may be experienced as part of the body being disconnected or almost absent. Frequently, chronic pain represents a part of the body that has been dissociated.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “There’s one more symptom we need to look at before looking at how trauma actually gets into the body and mind and causes long-term problems. This one is a little less straightforward than the others. Here’s one of the more unusual and problem-creating symptoms that can develop from unresolved trauma: the compulsion to repeat the actions that caused the problem in the first place. We are inextricably drawn into situations that replicate the original trauma in both obvious and less obvious ways.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “To experience embodied awareness, take notice of the underlying sensations that actually inform you about how you feel. If you were to be asked how you feel when you are stressed or in pain, a common answer might be, “I feel anxious” or “I feel upset.” It’s important to go further by becoming curious about how you know that you’re feeling anxious or upset. Is there a tightness or burning that is happening right now inside of you that you are labeling “anxiety” or “upset”?”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Physicians and mental health workers today don’t speak of retrieving souls, but they are faced with a similar task – restoring wholeness to an organism that has been fragmented by trauma. Shamanistic concepts and procedures treat trauma by uniting lost soul and body in the presence of community. This approach is alien to the technological mind. However, these procedures do seem to succeed where conventional Western approaches fail.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “In order to stay healthy, our nervous systems and psyches need to face challenges and to succeed in meeting those challenges. When this need is not met, or when we are challenged and cannot triumph, we end up lacking vitality and are unable to fully engage in life. Those of us who have been defeated by war, abuse, accidents, and other traumatic events suffer far more severe consequences.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Recently, a young Iraq veteran took issue with calling his combat anguish PTSD and, instead, poignantly referred to his pain and suffering as PTSI – the “I” designating “injury.” What he wisely discerned is that trauma is an injury, not a disorder like diabetes, which can be managed but not healed. In contrast, posttraumatic stress injury is an emotional wound, amenable to healing attention and transformation.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “What I do know is that we become traumatized when our ability to respond to a perceived threat is in some way overwhelmed. This inability to adequately respond can impact us in obvious ways, as well as ways that are subtle.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Animals do not view freezing as a sign of inadequacy or weakness, nor should we.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma can be prevented more easily than it can be healed.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma is the great masquerader and participant in many maladies and “dis-eases” that afflict sufferers. It can perhaps be conjectured that unresolved trauma is responsible for a majority of the illnesses of modern mankind.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The second noble truth states that we must discover why we are suffering. We must cultivate the courage to look deeply, with clarity and courage, into our own suffering. We often hold the tacit assumption that all of our suffering stems from events in the past. But, whatever the initial seed of trauma, the deeper truth is that our suffering is more closely a result of how we deal with the effect these past events have on us in the present.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The paradox of trauma is that it has both the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “What generally gets overlooked is that sexual energy and life-force energy are virtually one and the same.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Often, traumatized people either feel nothing or they feel rage, and often the rage is expressed in inappropriate ways. By beginning to get a sense of what healthy aggression feels like, the extremes of numbness and rage can begin to give way to a healthier middle ground.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Some things must be dealt with at the roots. Trauma is one of these things.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “When the moral judgment is removed, individuals are able to acknowledge and experience their authentic life energy freely.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings. – C. G. Jung.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “I have worked to develop a safe, gentle, and effective way for people to heal from trauma. It works by understanding that trauma is primarily physiological. Trauma is something that happens initially to our bodies and our instincts. Only then do its effects spread to our minds, emotions, and spirits.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The other important focus is to realize that pain in and of itself becomes traumatizing.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “When people have been traumatized, they are stuck in paralysis – the immobility reaction or abrupt explosions of rage. Because of this, they lack the healthy aggression that they need to carry out their lives effectively.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “I found that, if given appropriate guidance, human beings can and do shake off the effects of overwhelming events and return to their lives using exactly the same procedures that animals use.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The key is allowing and encouraging children to flow through the natural trajectory of their emotional shock reactions to difficult events without attempting to censor or control these reactions, preaching to our children, or projecting our own fears and anxieties.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “If healing is what you want, your first step is to be open to the possibility that literal truth is not the most important consideration. The conviction that it really happened, the fear that it may have happened, the subtle searching for evidence that it did happen, can all get in your way as you try to hear what the felt sense wants to tell you about what it needs to heal.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “When this stuck energy is restored to the whole organism, we can begin to live more fully – to create, accomplish, communicate, collaborate, and share. Instead of being engaged merely in survival, we can then come back to our balanced place, where we’re basically social animals. The fear and paralysis and dread drop away, and we come back into the present, because we have access to all of the energy previously bound up in our freezing and immobility, in our incomplete fight and flight responses.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Our sense of safety and stability in the world and our interpersonal relationships become undermined by childhood abuse because we carry these early thwarted – that is, deeply conflicted – survival patterns into adulthood.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence. Not only can trauma be healed, but with appropriate guidance and support, it can be transformative.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Any attempt to dictate what thoughts, feelings, and sensations are proper or improper creates a breeding ground for guilt and shame.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “When children are asked to “turn the other cheek,” “put on a happy face,” or “strike back” in situations where they are experiencing daily terror, they do not learn character. On the contrary, they lose self-confidence and a sense of safety necessary to succeed.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The foundational truth imparted by the authors is that the adult’s first task is to attend to his or her own emotional state, since it’s only in the adult’s calm, competent, and reassuring presence that children find the space to resolve their tensions.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “His face is a stage on which heartbreaking emotions play out. Sometimes he looks lost, a boy alone. Other moments he seems sad, his gaze downcast. Other times, terror bolts across his face, like a child who wakes from a bad dream confused by what he has seen. He has not spoken much of his time alone.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “The answer lies in the particular type of spontaneous shaking, trembling, and breathing that I described earlier.”
Peter A. Levine Quote: “Children should never be forced to do more than they are willing and able to do.”
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