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Complex Trauma & the Relational Body

  • Goodmayes Hospital Barley Lane Ilford, IG3 8XJ United Kingdom (map)

As part of the Medical Education Teaching Program, Goodmayes Hospital, North East London Foundation Trust, Alex will delivering a one hour workshop on Complex Trauma and the Relational Body.

This workshop is open to NELFT NHS Foundation Trust Psychiatry Trainees and Consultants.


The Boston Trauma Centre’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga programme is an adjunctive treatment for Complex Trauma.

In this workshop participants will be offered an introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of the approach as well as opportunity to engage in a short TSY practice.

No prior experience, particular clothing or equipment will be required.

There will be opportunities for Q&A

5 Key Words:

  1. Interoception
  2. Relational
  3. Body
  4. Trauma
  5. Safety

Objectives: An opportunity to explore theoretically and experientially, Trauma Sensitive Yoga

Teaching Approaches: experiential, interactive, trauma-informed


People’s chronic abuse or neglect of each other is a relational weapon that causes a relational wound. In this, the experience of Complex Trauma is quite unlike that of survivors of traffic incidents, near fatal accidents or even single incident violent assaults.

One fundamental intra-relational wound is to the interoceptive pathways that support bodily self-awareness. This capacity is integral to a primary, somatic sense of self; without which one’s ability to execute survival orientated, emotion-driven choices is hugely compromised.

The relational character of this wound suggests that healing might best be done within the context of a relationship and that the quality of the relationship must be the antithesis of trauma. 

One must be allowed to both be and be in the company of someone else.

Methods for establishing relational safety have been co-developed by the Boston Trauma Centre’s service users and yoga teachers but are also informed by Stephen Porges' Poly-Vagal Theory & the neurology of Attachment Theory.

The safety-net of this relationship presents opportunities for interoceptive awareness as well opportunities for exercising interoceptively driven free will:

"I just really suddenly got the idea that I have a body and that I have control over it and that I'm the one that decides what my body does or doesn't do."  study participant, 'Moving to Heal'

In this, TSY is unique in that it offers opportunities for somatic/nervous system healing that remain untouched by 'top down' therapies.

The growing evidence base associated with TSY suggests interesting implications for:

  • a phase oriented approach to trauma treatment
  • negative symptoms of psychosis
  • how to present any trauma sensitive relational therapy. 
Later Event: September 7
ISPS UK Conference '16