MN Trauma Project Blog

Increased Safety Through Embodiment

​The definition of trauma is that some force or person renders another person defenseless and powerless, overwhelming the ability to cope. This can be through either an attack or through neglecting basic emotional and physical needs. Such traumatic overwhelm leaves behind a feeling of vulnerability. Consequently, the first objective in trauma work is to increase a sense of safety and reduce both actual and felt vulnerability. Working experientially with the body itself is quite effective in increasing safety. Safety and boundaries are learned through a physical experience of connection between others and ourselves. As children, we feel safe when our caregivers meet our basic needs reliably a

Myths, Misconceptions, and Moving Forward: Successful Implementation of Prolonged Exposure

​ I was eager to write this blog when Ryan Van Wyk asked if I would be willing to contribute a post on Prolonged Exposure (PE) to the Minnesota Trauma Project website. As I’ve attended trauma conferences and talked with colleagues, it has amazed me the misconceptions in the field of mental health when it comes to exposure-based therapies. As a PE therapist and trainer myself, I have seen first hand the amazing changes that patients can undergo in 8-12 sessions; I’ve literally seen lives change and success maintained for years afterwards. It’s from this place of the incredible honor and fulfillment that I’ve experienced in providing this therapy that I write this post. While there is a lo

Trauma Treatment and the Synthesis of Intervention

Through my current practice, I work primarily with clients experiencing disrupted attachment stemming from complicated trauma. I typically start by trying to help clients clarify their goals and use mindfulness practices to increase competencies around body awareness and how to regulate arousal effectively. As we move on to process or reprocess traumatic material, I focus on helping clients to learn how to incorporate new behaviors and new responses to old material, with the aim of continually increasing both emotional and interpersonal relationship competency.​ In my view, the therapist is the connective tissue between all of the factors that enable healing, whether that be the trauma and t

Yoga and the Trauma Survivor - Offering Choices

Relatively speaking, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is still a diagnostic adolescent. Not officially recognized until 1980s in DSM III and driven by reactions to combat, we are still learning so much and yet so many questions remain. One thing that is clear, the prevalence of those who have experienced trauma is much higher than previously thought and affects more than just veterans. To complicate matters, like all mental health treatment, one size does not fit all. In recent years, research has been exploding on the integration of bodywork into or as an adjunct treatment to therapy. As a Psychologist, I have been studying and integrating yoga and yoga theory into work with clients with m

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