What does it mean to be traumatized? And what does it look like when someone gets triggered? According to trauma expert Peter Levine, acclaimed author of Waking the Tiger, trauma lives on in the body even after the traumatic event has passed.

In this brief video clip, Levine explains why investigating the root cause of trauma isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for healing. Instead, it’s important for clients to temporarily put aside their triggering event and listen to how their body reacts to it.

According to Levine, since trauma has such a strong biological connection, the body acts as one of the therapist’s most valuable resources. “Trauma is encoded in the brain stem, the thalamus, the limbic system, and the hypothalamus,” Levine says. “And the language of that part of the brain is bodily sensation. To investigate trauma, we have to be able to talk in that language, to guide the person in that language.”


Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day. 

Peter Levine

Dr. Peter Levine holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a naturalistic body-awareness approach to healing trauma, which he teaches all over the globe. Dr. Levine is also the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment and was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the space shuttle. An accomplished author, Dr. Levine penned Healing Trauma, Sexual Healing and the bestselling book, Waking the Tiger. He also co-authored with Maggie Kline Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids. His latest book, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, is a testament to his lifelong investigation into the connection between evolutionary biology, neuroscience, animal behavior, and more than 40 years of clinical experience in the healing of trauma.