Understanding Trauma – Peter Levine and his Slinky

slinkyPeter Levine’s work unlocks our understanding of how trauma works within us – and how we can heal ourselves and find ways to support others in their healing,

In this short [6min] clip he uses a slinky to demonstrate how what we call “trauma” is when energy gets locked within us during events when we feel overwhelmed, disempowered, unsafe.

We can easily understand how fight and flight are both highly energetic responses.

The freeze response is just as energetic- but the energy gets trapped within us- for use later.

We understand that both Fight and Flight are survival responses. Freeze is also a survival response our organism storing the energy for use later.

If we’re prevented from using that energy to escape, or fight –
if were are prevented from completing the freeze response – well, the result of that is what we call “trauma”…

And that manifests itself in many ways.

When we are triggered, that can lead to sudden and dramatic release of tremendous energy and we become overwhelmed. Repeated, this can become a vicious cycle leaving us feeling more overwhelmed and our wounds reinforced and deepened.

He goes on to use the slinky to illustrate how healing involves releasing the energy trapped in our bodies in small packets, gradually learning how we can experience situations in ways we can feel safe.


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