Since 2003 The Trauma Centre (now the Centre for Trauma & Embodiment) in Brookline Massachusetts has been offering a very particular form of yoga to a variety of complex trauma survivors, including war veterans, sexual assault survivors, at-risk youth and survivors of chronic childhood abuse and neglect.
The practice is called Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga or TCTSY.
TCTSY is now a recognised as an evidence-based intervention by for Complex PTSD by SAMHSA - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. For more information on the evidence base of TCTSY, please visit The Yoga Clinic (UK) research page.
TCTSY is offered both individually and in small groups.
8 Week TCTSY Groups run throughout the year - Please see here for details.
having a body
In TCTSY we explore physical shapes and movements as an opportunity to practice noticing sensations. What one feels is an entirely subjective experience and for this reason there is no right or wrong way to 'do' a yoga shape.
owning one's body
During the practice you'll also be invited to explore:
making choices about how to be in a shape, eg. turning to the right or the left
making these choices based on what you notice you feel & what you want to feel
i have a body...you have a body
Subjective experiences are at the heart TCTSY so when we practice with other people it becomes a practice of 'being and allowing the other to be'.
This relational dynamic is central to TCTSY and is the opposite of trauma relationships. It is an opportunity to practice not trauma.
additional tctsy practices
Because there is no right or wrong way to make a shape in TCTSY a Facilitator has no need to:
change a participant's shape - this is a no touch practice; your body is your own
judge the participant - Facilitators often practice with their own eyes shut
move around the room
Because the practice tries to avoid traumatising dynamics:
every single shape will be offered as a genuine invitation
our language avoids metaphors or imagery - eg. stand like a rock, be tall like a tree. We have no idea of our clients associations with these images
for a similar reason TCTSY doesn't make use of music, Sanskrit, incense, candles, yoga blocks or straps
we do not offer interpretations of a clients experience - clients are often vulnerable to accepting someone else's story about them
to offer this practice we do not need to know what has happened to you & we will not ask you
Facilitators practice alongside of a client, genuinely noticing sensations & trying to make their own authentic choices. In this way we offer the option of being with someone who is not lying
We are mindful of how hard 'having a body' can be. For this reason it's important that TCTSY clients are in therapy & that they are at a point in their lives that feels relatively stable & safe.
You can read a little more about our intake processes here.
TCTSY is not considered useful if:
you have needed a hospitalisation within the last 6 months, for trauma related experiences
you are not currently in an established therapeutic relationship (4-6 months) in which you are able to verbally process your experiences
Please see here for current 8 Week TCTSY Groups.