Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga-Bringing the Body into Treatment

What is Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)?

Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is an empirically validated, adjunctive clinical treatment for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developed at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, TCTSY has foundations in Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience as well as deep roots in Yoga. TCTSY is the first yoga program listed for the treatment of psychological trauma and is a complementary treatment for PTSD. TCTSY is recognized as an evidence-based practice by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).

While TCTSY was developed for those who have experienced complex developmental trauma, verbal, physical or sexual abuse, social oppression, treatment resistant PTSD, military sexual trauma, intimate partner violence, or any other form of trauma, almost anyone can benefit from this supportive yoga.

There is a growing body of evidence around TCTSY. You’re welcome to read the studies here.

“No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest.”
—Judith Lewis Herman

What to expect in your TCTSY session:

  • Opportunities to experience being in your body, noticing your breath, and resting.
  • Space-there are no physical assists or adjustments in TCTSY. I will be on my mat practicing along side you.
  • Invitational language- you are in charge of every movement and the choice to move or not-I will not tell you what to do with your body.
  • Choices and modifications-choices of forms will be offered so you can explore a variety of yoga shapes in different ways
  • Interoception-an opportunity to experience a felt sense of sensations in your body as you move and transition between forms.
  • No discussion about trauma. During TCTSY we are not working to make meaning or discuss emotions. This may be a welcome change if talk therapy is not providing relief.

Often when someone is living with trauma, their body’s stress response system, flight, flight, or freeze, is activated. In other words, the body can be in a state of hyper-vigilance constantly scanning for threats. Often survivors are encouraged to try yoga. However, without the right fit, yoga can be a triggering experience. It is important that YOU be in charge of your yoga practice. This includes making choices for yourself, not having an emphasis on “doing it right”, not being touched, choosing not to do certain forms that may be triggering, breathing as you like, keeping your eyes open during practice, stepping away from the mat if needed, etc.

I offer closed group and private sessions for adults and adolescents in and around Durham, North Carolina. I also work with youth in residential treatment facilities, adults in residential weight loss facilities, veterans, and partner with therapists. Additionally, I provide trauma education as part of yoga teacher training programs and to mental health professionals.

Client Praise

“My son has really benefited from this style of yoga during his residential therapy program. He felt in charge of his body, safe to ask questions, enjoyed making choices, and wants to continue working with Kathy.”
Mother of youth in residential treatment center

Trauma education as part of yoga teacher training or for mental health professionals:
Please contact me for more information.

TCTSY is not a replacement for professional counseling services. You do not need to be in therapy to participate in TCTSY; however, TCTSY is often most effective as a complementary therapy. During our time together, there will no verbal processing of traumatic experiences or memories. Please do have a supportive person available to process experiences with if needed.