Since 2003, the Trauma Center in Brookline Massachusetts has offered a special form of yoga to people who have survived complex trauma, including war veterans, survivors of sexual abuse, and survivors of childhood trauma such as abuse or neglect.
The yoga is called the Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga or TCTSY.
TCTSY is now recognized as an evidence-based intervention for complex PTSD by SAMHSA - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration in the United States. For more info on the research visit www.traumasensitiveyoga.com.
TCTSY Facilitators (TCTSY-F) are trained, supervised and certified, as a guarantee of ethics and quality, by the Boston Trauma Center.
TCTSY is offered both individually and in small groups.
TO HAVE A BODY
In TCTSY, we explore physical forms and movements as an opportunity to practice noting physical sensations. What one feels is an entirely subjective experience and for that reason there is no right or wrong way to "do" a yoga form.
TO OWN YOUR OWN BODY
During yoga, you will also be invited to explore:
Making choices about how you want to be in a shape, e.g. turn left or right
Making these choices based on what you notice you feel and what you want to feel
I HAVE A BODY… YOU HAVE A BODY
Subjective experiences are at the heart of TCTSY, so when we do yoga with other people it becomes an exercise to "be and let the other be".
This relational dynamic is central to TCTSY and is the opposite of trauma relationships, where one person often has power over another. It is an opportunity to practice non-trauma.
WHAT DOES TCTSY DO?
Since there is no right or wrong way to do a yoga form in TCTSY, a facilitator does not need to:
Change a participant's form - no physical assistance or physical touch - your body is your own
Assessing the participants - The facilitator often leads with his eyes closed.
The facilitator does not move around the room, but stays on his mat.
As practice seeks to avoid traumatizing dynamics, the following applies in TCTSY:
Each form will be offered as a genuine invitation, (if you wish .. when you are ready ..)
Our language avoids metaphors or images - e.g. stand like a stone, be tall like a tree. We have no idea of our participants' associations with these images. For the same reason, TCTSY does not use music, Sanskrit, incense, candles, yoga blocks or bands.
To offer TCTSY we do not need to know what has happened to you as a participant and we will not ask about it.
The facilitator does yoga together with the participants, and notes their own physical sensations and tries to make their own authentic choices. In this way we offer the opportunity to be with someone who is honest and authentic.
We are aware of how difficult it can be to 'have a body'. For this reason, it is important that the TCTSY participants are in conversation therapy and that they are in a phase of their lives that feels relatively stable and secure.
TCTSY is not recommended if you have been admitted to a psychiatric ward for the past six months and you should be in contact with a conversation therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist you can talk to about your experiences.
The facilitator will process all your personal information and everything that happens in yoga practice with a duty of confidentiality. The facilitator will not discuss participants with their treating psychologist or physician unless the participant himself wishes and has approved this.
Is TCTSY something for you?
Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is a body-based complementary treatment. It is an invitation to know your body at your own pace and to the extent you want, in a safe environment. TCTSY is relevant to those who have experienced relational trauma, neglect, psychological or physical abuse.
For your safety and security, it is a condition that you are already in treatment or have the opportunity to talk to your psychologist or psychotherapist if you need to talk about your experiences in a therapeutic context.
TCTSY can be practiced in groups or individually. If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact Josephine or discuss with your treating therapist if TCTSY may be for you. Below you can see a video that gives an example of what TCTSY can look like.
Josephine is a certified Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (300h) and offers courses and individual sessions in TCTSY. Email for inquiries and bookings.