Since 2003 The Trauma Centre 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 NREPP recognised evidence-based intervention for Complex PTSD. For more information on the evidence base of TCTSY, please visit The Yoga Clinic (UK) research page.

TCTSY Facilitators (TCTSY-F) are trained, supervised and held to account for the ethics and quality of their practice, through the Trauma Centre, Boston. For more details on these processes and how to submit a complaint, please see here.

To help balance a client's needs for safety, social connection and financial access we offer both individual and small group options (no more than 6-8 people).

The 8 Week Spring TCTSY Group will run from April 4th - May 23rd '18 - Please see here for details.

having a body

In TCTSY participants and a Facilitator explore physical shapes and movements. The emphasis is not on the external expression or appearance of the yoga shape (i.e. doing it “right”) or receiving the approval of an external authority. Rather, the shapes simply offer an opportunity to:

  • notice sensations
  • practice making choices about what to do with ones own body
  • practice making choices based on what one feels
  • practice TCTSY together
Just inhabiting my own skin is a major step forward....My not being able to get into my own skin was something that I did early on just to survive.

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.
— TCTSY Student

being and allowing the other to be

Because TCTSY is defined by it's internal focus, when practiced with other people, it becomes one of 'being and allowing the other to be'. This relational dynamic is central to TCTSY and is the opposite of trauma dynamics.

“Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.
In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience.
These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy.
— Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery

additional tctsy practices

  • the Facilitator has no need to use physical hands-on adjustments to change a participant's shape
  • the Facilitator has no need to watch the participant - often times the Facilitator is practicing with their own eyes shut
  • the Facilitator has no need to know a client's trauma history
  • the Facilitator has no need to offer an interpretation or make meaning out of a client's sensations
  • every single shape will be offered as an invitation eg. when you're ready, feel free to turn your head to the left or the right
  • Facilitators do not move around the room but stay in one place
  • TCTSY does not use metaphors or imagery e.g. stand like a rock, be tall like a tree. We have no knowledge of our clients associations with these images and have no wish to trigger traumatising memories, flashbacks or dissociative states
  • for a similar reason TCTSY doesn't make use of music, Sanskrit, incense, candles, yoga blocks or straps
  • we understand that our clients have experiences of people saying one thing & doing the opposite. When a facilitator practices TCTSY, they will be trying to have their own authentic, TCTSY experience. Trauma survivors are highly skilled at judging authenticity & if someone is 'real'. We pledge to do our best to be authentic.

An introduction to the TCTSY practice - Jenn Turner, Assistant Director of Yoga Services, The Trauma Centre at JRI.


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

If you have questions about our services or would like to try TCTSY, please feel free to look at our Booking page.

The 8 Week Spring TCTSY Group will run from Feb 7th - March 28th '18 - Please see here for details.

A description of trauma-sensitive yoga as an adjunct treatment for trauma and PTSD as used at the Trauma Center of Brookline, Massachusetts and described by the authors of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga.