Trauma and Spirituality

Workshop with Peter Levine and Marianne Bentzen
June 27-29  2018


Although traumatic events and life experiences most often leave us with a painful and even devastating personal aftermath, it can also be a hidden gift, a doorway into deeper and wider levels of consciousness that are only now beginning to be explored by science.

Some people who have survived severe and ongoing trauma report that in their darkest hours they found the deepest resource; the unshakeable feeling of great meaning, or a sense of spirit, or of God. This feeling often stays with them, as a sense of faith, of gratitude, or as a constant reminder of the preciousness of life. For this reason trauma can sometimes be experienced as a gateway to spirit, or to the discovery of an indestructible part of our being.

Despite their differences, spiritual openings and traumatic responses have a great deal in common at the level of the brain.

At the deepest level of brain organization, the autonomic nervous system, trauma often activates the highest arousal levels and the deepest immobility at the same time. In formal spiritual training systems, the same spontaneous emergence of arousal and immobility in the organism heralds deep experiences of spiritual opening. There are other similarities between the brain function of the traumatic and the spiritual states.

In this workshop we will explore the theory and research that bridge the gap between trauma and spiritual openings, and explore some of the methods that can allow deep feelings of connection to emerge from the darkest experiences.

We will explore therapeutic methods and spiritual practices as reflections on two questions:

  • How can we discover the spiritual or life-enhancing elements that may be hidden in traumatic experience?
  • How can we access the doorway into the archetypal and spiritual levels of meaning more often in our daily lives?

The format of this training will alternate between practical exercises, demonstration therapy, theoretical presentations and discussion.

Target group
Professionals and students who are interested in working with the deeper layers of trauma.

€695 excl boarding and stay. Day stay (obligatory) incl lunch about €105. Full stay about €365.

June 27-29 2018

Conference Center Reehorst (
Ede-Wageningen, The Netherlands


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