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Publisher's Summary

In Trauma and Memory, best-selling author Dr. Peter Levine (creator of the Somatic Experiencing approach) tackles one of the most difficult and controversial questions of PTSD/trauma therapy: Can we trust our memories? While some argue that traumatic memories are unreliable and not useful, others insist that we absolutely must rely on memory to make sense of past experience. Building on his 45 years of successful treatment of trauma and utilizing case studies from his own practice, Dr. Levine suggests that there are elements of truth in both camps. While acknowledging that memory can be trusted, he argues that the only truly useful memories are those that might initially seem to be the least reliable: memories stored in the body and not necessarily accessible by our conscious mind.

While much work has been done in the field of trauma studies to address "explicit" traumatic memories in the brain (such as intrusive thoughts or flashbacks), much less attention has been paid to how the body itself stores "implicit" memory and how much of what we think of as "memory" actually comes to us through our (often unconsciously accessed) felt sense. By learning how to better understand this complex interplay of past and present, brain and body, we can adjust our relationship to past trauma and move into a more balanced, relaxed state of being. Written for trauma sufferers as well as mental health care practitioners, Trauma and Memory is a groundbreaking look at how memory is constructed and how influential memories are on our present state of being.

©2017 Peter A. Levine (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Memory has many layers, and Peter Levine has contributed his own unique and powerful way of thinking about how we can understand these systems and optimize their unfolding after trauma. This book offers clinical wisdom drawn from decades of direct experience, demonstrating how a clinician - with focused attention and essential timing - can move unresolved, non-integrated memories into a resolved, integrated form that enables a coherent narrative to emerge and the individual to become liberated from the prisons of the past." (Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of Mindsight, The Mindful Therapist, and Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology)
"Only after we become capable of standing back, taking stock of ourselves, reducing the intensity of our sensations and emotions, and activating our inborn physical defensive reactions can we learn to modify our entrenched maladaptive automatic survival responses and, in doing so, put our haunting memories to rest." (Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Healing of Trauma)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Moni
  • Olympia, WA, United States
  • 01-20-18

Gifted

Dr. Levine has a GIFT and I am so glad he is sharing it with others!!! I hope his techniques become widely used.

In light of the recent elections, I didn’t like the political reference early on. I’m a female working in a male dominated field and I am SO sick of hearing Hillary is a liar. We all lie and studies have shown lies increase when social acceptance is on the line. I don’t think Dr. Levine meant to be sexist. This is my hang up so I kept listening...

The potential for healing is enormous, I suffered greatly as a child and see the huge potential for Dr. Levine’s techniques. But was turned off once again to hear him say most rape can be worded of by a WOMAN firmly saying NO. Yikes! That sounds too close to saying rape is a women’s problem.

I respect Dr. Levine and his work! I hope to learn his techniques so I can help others one day. I obviously have a lot of work to do.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Remarkable book

I'm not reading/listening my way through all of Peter Levine's books, and this is certainly one of the better ones. Remarkable in every way.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

This was insightful and educational. I will have to listen to this again! Love Peter Levine's work.

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  • Mr. David Vernon
  • 01-23-18

Very interesting

A lot of technical insight that went over my head but very interesting and I want to listen through it a second time now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian Mc
  • 10-26-17

The trauma whisperer

I really enjoyed this book having previously read other books Levine has authored. It is well written with excellently detailed descriptions of: different types of memory; how these memory sources inter-relate; practical applications of his methods from case study material; and has helpful metaphors and stories. I highly recommend this book to counsellors and therapists who are interested in trauma. I wouldn't recommend it for people/clients who have experienced trauma as it uses technical terms which could make it a difficult read. One thing I didn't like was in reading the book advertising and cover it's easy to assume Bessel van der Kolk is a co-author - which he isn't; although his foreword to the book is very good. Bmcm oct 2017

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 09-21-17

very technical but very useful

great listen, even better with the actual book to refrance it with, if your a therapist or a trainee I highly recommend it. he gives a clear breakdown of the 4 types of memory we store

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  • Matthew Cole
  • 07-16-18

Good book

Great book, shame about the narrator, had to have it on 1.25 speed to make it listenable.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-17-18

brilliant book, informative and accessible

Brilliant book, very informative and thought provoking. Accessible also - not too dense. Relevant to anyone with an interest in memory and how our bodies and psyches work.

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  • Raina
  • 08-11-18

Informative and interesting!

Brilliant book that I look forward to re-listening to it again and again! so much information that I want to process it and listen again. Thank you

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-18

For all who suffer and treat PTSD

This is a very good book for both clients and professionals and well researched