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Waking the Tiger

“Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the ‘triggering’ event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits.”

— from Waking the Tiger
    by Peter A. Levine, PhD

What about the Tiger?

The image of the tiger was invoked by Dr. Peter A. Levine during his first session with “Nancy,” who suffered from an array of symptoms, in an event that would define and shape his career.

Watch Dr. Levine talking about his breakthrough session with “Nancy.” In this session he first saw the image of a tiger, which later inspired his bestselling book, “Waking the Tiger.”

Without warning, Nancy suddenly froze, her pulse skyrocketing as she began reliving the moments before a traumatic childhood surgery, including being bound and anesthetized with ether. “I’m going to die! Please don’t let me die!” she repeated, helplessly. Amidst this chaos, Dr. Levine was compelled, by a seemingly prescient vision of a charging tiger, to say: “Nancy, you’re being chased by a tiger. Run! Run for the nearest tree!” It was at this moment, as Nancy began kicking her feet, that Dr. Levine first witnessed the human animal’s innate ability to heal from shock and terror, by completing the instinctual, self-protective act that had been overwhelmed and frozen into her body’s nervous system, over 20 years earlier. On repeated follow up, this single session had a dramatic impact on Nancy’s life, including the dissolution of her agoraphobia, cessation of her migraines, and a renewed, sustained vigor in living.

The Tiger has become a symbol of our aliveness, our innate nature.

Go to our bookstore to purchase Waking the Tiger and other books by Dr. Peter A. Levine and SE Faculty on the subject of stress, overwhelm and trauma. As an introduction read chapter 1 of Waking the Tiger here.

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