Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy by David Emerson — Bringing the Body into Treatment
A systematic process for addressing trauma in a clinical setting has been outlined in the book, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy. Author David Emerson is director of The Trauma Center Yoga Program.
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga has been shown to be a useful adjunct to traditional psychotherapy. It focuses on symptoms of trauma rooted in the body, an area that other approaches have struggled to address. This practices integrates the mind-body connection. Trauma-sensitive yoga cultivates an awareness of presence in the physical form first. Therefore, people who have survived trauma can use self-regulation to gain power over their own bodies. This is an area that may have previously caused a feeling of estrangement or lack of control.
Emerson provides evidence to explain why this specific type of yoga can be beneficial to clinicians and clients as they work together for healing. He includes samples of yoga forms that can be adjusted for individuals. Emerson explains how the fundamentals of this work go beyond a cognitive approach. Trauma-sensitive yoga shifts the focus from external to internal. This approach even moves beyond other somatic models that have come before it, such the Hakomi Method, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing.
In addition, practicing these concepts for oneself will provide a better understanding of the body, and a personal understanding of how stress and trauma can be addressed through Trauma-Sensitive yoga therapy. This understanding makes it more effective when offering trauma-sensitive yoga therapy to others.
Olivia Kvitne is a Los Angeles yoga instructor specializing in yoga therapy for veterans struggling with PTSD. One of the influences in her life was her grandfather, a WWII vet, and later a psychiatrist who embraced using the mind to heal the body: TheYogaAbbey.com @OliviaKvitne