Body-Oriented Trauma Therapy
"After years and years of working in this and grappling with this, the conclusion that many of us are coming to is that in order to help these animal, frozen, inappropriate, fight/flight/freeze responses to come to an end, you need to work with people’s bodily responses. You need to help their body to feel like it’s over." Bessel van der Kolk, MD
Over the past several years, many therapists have found that working with clients to identify where and how they hold trauma in their body and helping them to release it can be far more effective than traditional talk therapy alone. They’ve learned that somatic approaches can help trauma survivors to befriend their body, which they so often have come to see as the enemy.
In this three-part series, researchers and clinicians share their perspectives on the nature of trauma, including recent research on heart rate variability and the role of the social engagement system. They describe trauma’s impact on mind and body, and the most effective tools for helping clients heal. Presenters demonstrate a variety of somatic techniques in excerpts from model therapy sessions. Body-oriented practices such as yoga and Impact Model Mugging are discussed, and ways of working with at-risk children and survivors of war and natural disasters are shown.
Presenters include Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Pat Ogden, Bill Bowen, Janina Fisher, and Stephen Porges. Released 2008.
"This work is really about evoking the client’s own intelligence, their own wisdom. It’s not an authoritative model where I know what’s best for the client. All I’m doing is tracking their body, attuning with them and stimulating them to more adaptive action. But they already have that action potential in their bodies." Pat Ogden, PhD
Body-Oriented Trauma Therapy I: Clinical Perspectives
(#279, 45 min.)
This video examines the nature of trauma and its long-term effects, including recent research.
Trauma and the Fight-Flight-Freeze System
Trauma Memory Is Not Cognitive
Intervening on a Body Level
Safety During Therapy Sessions
Developing Mindfulness and Other Resources
Window of Tolerance, Boundaries, and Touch
Pleasure and Joy
"Therapists, by and large, are trained to work with the verbal communication. So we kind of have to untrain ourselves a little bit from just working with the words, to being interested in the gestures, in the changes in posture, in changes in breathing, in changes in temperature which we see." Peter Levine, PhD
Body-Oriented Trauma Therapy II: Treatment Modalities
(#280, 52 min.)
This program describes and demonstrates somatic techniques in excerpts from model therapy sessions.
Accessing the Body
Boundaries, Grounding, and Posture
Demo Session One: Janina Fisher, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Demo Session Two: Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapy
Demo Session Three: Bill Bowen, Psycho-Physical Therapy
"Traditional psychotherapy or talk therapy, and action-oriented approaches that really engage mind and body in unison, aren’t and shouldn’t be two separate tracks, but really are best served when they co-exist and are integrated. And that’s something that our center and several others around the country are really committed to doing." Joseph Spinazzola, PhD
Body-Oriented Trauma Therapy III: Children and Groups
(#281, 45 min.)
This program shows a range of body-oriented group work with children, teens, and adults.
Different Professional Backgrounds
Working with Children
Trauma Drama: Urban Improv Intensive
Impact Model Mugging
Black Lotus Yoga Project
Crisis Response: Indonesian Tsunami
Purchase price: One video $125, two $225, set of three $295
Rental price: One video $45, two $75, set of three $100
TO ORDER - phone or fax 800-345-5530
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About the Presenters
Bill Bowen, MFA, LMT is the founder and director of Psycho-Physical Therapy and a co-founder of Hakomi Integrative Somatics. He is a body psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon, and is currently on the faculty of the Somatic Psychology program at JFK University.
Jodi Carey is studio director of All One Yoga living arts studio. She has been practicing and teaching yoga for the past 7 years in settings that include the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, where she has taught students who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Leon Dunkley, PhD has a background in ethnomusicology, and was the director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University for 5 years. He is a student at Starr King School for the Ministry and an instructor for Impact Bay Area in Oakland, CA.
David Emerson, RYT is founder of the Black Lotus Yoga Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching of yoga to individuals with PTSD. He has conducted yoga groups for rape crisis, domestic violence, and Veterans Administration centers and clinics in Boston. He is the author of Yoga for Peace of Body and Mind: A Manual for Clinicians.
Janina Fisher, PhD is a trainer in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, an EMDR Approved Consultant, and has been an instructor at both the Trauma Center and Harvard Medical School. She lectures internationally on topics related to trauma, dissociation, and the implications of neurobiological research for treatment.
Frank Grijalva is a clinical consultant in adolescent residential services and an international trainer in Classroom-Based Intervention. He trained dolphins for the US Navy for 8 years, and worked at ground zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, providing psychosocial support.
Steven Gross, MSW is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Joy. On an international level, Gross has implemented child trauma intervention projects with the Center for Trauma Psychology, and provides consulting, workshops, and trainings in the field of trauma and play.
Peter A. Levine, PhD is the originator and developer of Somatic Experiencing® and the Director of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He holds doctorate degrees in Medical Biophysics and in Psychology. His best selling book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, is published in 12 languages.
Sue Lynch, JD, RYT is an attorney and an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corp in the U.S. Army Reserves, where she experienced the effects of PTSD after returning from the Gulf War in 1991. She has studied yoga since 2001, and is owner of Charlestown Yoga in Boston.
Dicki Johnson Macy, ADTR, M.Ed, LMHC is the Creative Director for the Center for Trauma Psychology, and the Director of the Children’s Trauma Recovery Foundation. Her work focuses on children with severed attachment, as well as developmental and neurological disorders.
Robert Macy, PhD is the director of the Boston Center for Trauma Psychology, and is a pioneer in the field of Traumatic Incident Stress Interventions and violence prevention initiatives for children, youth, their families and their communities exposed to traumatic events, nationally and internationally.
Pat Ogden, PhD is the director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, a co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, and served on the faculty of The Naropa University in the Somatic Psychology department from 1985 to 2005. She is author of the groundbreaking book, Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy.
Stephen W. Porges, PhD is Professor of Psychiatry at University of Illinois, Chicago, and lectures internationally on psychobiology. He is director of the Brain-Body Center, which conducts research on the interdependence between the nervous system and social behavior. He is the author of Psychophysiology: Systems, Processes & Applications.
Joseph Spinazzola, PhD is Executive Director of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, where he runs the adult clinical program. He specializes in the assessment and treatment of complex adaptation to childhood trauma in children and adults.
Kathy Turner, RN, NP is a Certified Impact Instructor and has been teaching at Impact Bay Area in Oakland, CA since 2000. In addition, she is a women’s health nurse practitioner and Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and directs a program at Stanford that provides energy work to women with breast cancer.
Bessel van der Kolk, MD is Medical Director of The Trauma Center, which specializes in the study and treatment of survivors of severe psychological trauma, and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University. He is co-author of Traumatic Stress: The Effect of Overwhelming Experiences on Mind, Body and Society.
The Trainer’s Guide
The 51-page trainer’s guide includes objectives, reproducible viewer handouts, review and discussion questions, and a resource list. The appendices include two journal articles, described below.
Bessel van der Kolk’s article, Clinical Implications of Neuroscience Research in PTSD, appears in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2006, p. 1-17, and is abstracted as follows:
The research showing how exposure to extreme stress affects brain function is making important contributions to understanding the nature of traumatic stress. This includes the notion that traumatized individuals are vulnerable to react to sensory information with subcortically initiated responses that are irrelevant, and often harmful, in the present. Reminders of traumatic experiences activate brain regions that support intense emotions, and decrease activation in the central nervous system (CNS) regions involved in (a) the integration of sensory input with motor output, (b) the modulation of physiological arousal, and (c) the capacity to communicate experience in words. Failures of attention and memory in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interfere with the capacity to engage in the present: traumatized individuals “lose their way in the world.” This article discusses the implications of this research by suggesting that effective treatment needs to involve (1) learning to tolerate feelings and sensations by increasing the capacity for interoception, (2) learning to modulate arousal, and (3) learning that after confrontation with physical helplessness it is essential to engage in taking effective action.
Mary Sykes Wylie’s article, The Limits of Talk: Bessel van der Kolk Wants to Transform the Treatment of Trauma, appears in Psychotherapy Networker, 2004, Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 30-41, and includes A Diagnosis Non Grata, The Neurobiology of Trauma, The Monopoly of Talk, Bottom Up, Not Top Down, and A Huge Debate.