Tag Archives: TCTSY

Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) training with David Emerson

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David Emerson and Bernadette Carelse at the TCTSY training in Berlin 17 to 20 April 2018.

This month I was in Berlin for the first time, attending the 40-hour training in Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) training with David Emerson.

TCTSY is an evidence based treatment exactly for complex trauma and complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.  It was developed by David Emerson himself, at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, since 2003 and has become part of the therapies available at the Justice Resource Institute since 2006.

TCTSY is used with children, young people and adults throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Israel, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  I am keen to develop how it is used in the UK, particularly for children and young people.  As a result, following my training in London in TCTSY , I decided to go all the way to Berlin, simply because David Emerson would be there delivering the training himself.

The 40-hour training in TCTSY was held in Berlin from 17 to 20 April 2018.  Berlin is an amazing city with a complex history and it some ways this is exactly what made it such a fitting context for the he training.  It was wonderful to be there with other yoga teachers and therapists learning about TCTSY.

I discovered more about how to integrate TCTSY into my yoga and mindfulness teaching I also gained insight into how this could fit into my work as an educational psychologist (EP).  My casework includes children and young people who have had adverse life experiences (ACEs) and are suffering from trauma as a result.

The training explained how TSTCY can be part of therapeutic work to enable to development of interoception, the ability to notice and be aware of internal body sensations which are often neurologically underdeveloped as a result of the process of surviving ACEs.  Furthermore the traumatic experiences can leave children and young people with limited self-efficacy and the TCTSY approach is empowering in itself and helps to address this.

It is my intention to develop my skills in this area as far as possible due to the research evidence for its efficacy.

Trauma Center Trauma-sensitive Yoga (TCTSY): an empowering, healing and mindful approach to teaching yoga

paperback-book-coverSome of you may have heard of the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk author of “The Body Keeps the Score”.  He explains how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences and how findings from neuroscience and attachment research can be inform a range of potentially effective treatments for traumatic stress.  Bessel also founded the Trauma Center in Massachusetts, USA where treatments to address complex trauma are developed and tested.

One of the approaches is Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).  This is an empirically validated, clinical intervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The TCTSY program is included in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) database.  TCTSY has foundations in Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience as well as on central components of the hatha style of yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movements.

Last month I participated in a 20-hour training in TCTSY run by Alexandra Cat  who is based at the Yoga Clinic, UK.  In this course, I learned how to teach yoga in a way to cultivate a sense of empowerment and a more positive relationship to one’s body, using the TCTSY approach:

  • TCTSY does not use physical hands-on adjustments to influence a participant’s physical form.  Instead, the approach invites participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body; the participant is empowered.
  • TCTSY enables a focus on the internal experience of a posture, not the external expression or appearance.  There is no ‘right’ way to do a posture, based on external approval or judgment; the participant is empowered to make his or her own choices.

By focusing on the felt sense of the body to inform choice-making, TCTSY allows participants to restore their connection of mind and body and cultivate a sense of agency that is often compromised as a result of trauma.

This training has informed the teaching of yoga that I do and I have started using in it the classes that I teach.  For more information, feel free to contact me.

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