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Working with Suppressed Life Energy with Dr. Peter Levine & Dafna Lender

October 27 @ 7:00 pm - October 30 @ 12:00 pm

About this one-of-a-kind Workshop

Attachment trauma interferes with many aspects of a person’s functioning, one of which is the capacity for joy and connection through play or energetic and “free” interactions. Many clients who experienced harsh, unsupportive, neglectful, or abusive childhoods have trauma embedded in their play history.

Imagine, for example, that a child plays too loudly or exuberantly and is then yelled at, shamed, hit, or harshly punished. If play is chronically overshadowed by this type of interpersonal trauma, a small impulse of boldness or playfulness may feel dangerous. However, play behavior for both adults and children, is crucial for the positive aspects of living a fulfilling life: being able to joke, laugh, dance, be spontaneous with others, and feel exuberance, amusement, and a sense of lightness and energy is essential to living a full life.

Learning how to tap into play energy must be a focal point in healing work because play energy is a vehicle for resolving interpersonal trauma. Harnessing the life energy of play in psychotherapy, whether with children, adults, or couples, can help clients overcome aspects of their traumatic past and re-capture their sense of “aliveness” and connection.

This workshop, with Dr. Levine and Dafna Lender, will provide tools and strategies for purposefully and mindfully using play techniques focused on the basic play principles: the social engagement system (voice, movement, touch, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact) to produce surprise, laughter, synchrony, joy, energy, and creativity. The workshop will also emphasize the importance of co-regulation, attunement, and repair between therapist and client.

During this Workshop, together we will…

  • Demonstrate the role of play in attachment and development of self-regulation
  • Discuss the psychic effects of being traumatized during play
  • Assess our (and our clients) play history to determine which types of play interventions are indicated
  • Apply embodied play techniques for enhancing connection, aliveness, and energy
  • Utilize play techniques for practicing self-regulation
  • Use natural moments of rupture and repair in play to develop resilience
  • Compare intensity, quality, and types of play for different client presentations
  • Apply working with our inner child (and that of our client) through enactment, role play, and guided meditation to release the trauma around playful energy, erotic energy, exuberance, and joy
  • Explain the evolutionary underpinnings of trauma, the Polyvagal theory, and flight, flight, freeze, and collapse
  • Demonstrate interventions to help children increase tolerance for negative bodily sensations and suppressed emotions
  • Discuss how these new play practices can be transferred to current relationships with children

Added bonus: A special breakout group for caregivers/parents who wish to focus on restoring or enhancing playful energy with children of all ages.


October 27 @ 7:00 pm
October 30 @ 12:00 pm


Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
PO Box 309 57 Interlaken Road
Stockbridge, MA 01262 United States