Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: A Complex Trauma Treatment Approach for Survivors of Human Trafficking

Extant literature suggests that more attention is needed to the development of therapeutic options designed specifically for survivors of human trafficking (APA, 2014). In particular, therapeutic models that use a somatic, experiential approach to intervention targeting complex trauma impacts may be more helpful than solely symptom reduction (APA, 2014; Choi, Klein, Shin & Lee, 2009; Hopper, 2017b; van der Kolk, 2014). Particularly, research suggests that trauma-focused group yoga increases self-compassion, and creates connection and community building on a mind-body-spirit level (Price et al., 2017; Clark et al., 2014; Crews, Stolz-Newton, & Grant, 2016) and reduces trauma and stress-related symptoms (van der Kolk, Stone, West, Rhodes, Emerson, Suvak, Spinazzola; 2014). This presentation introduces a structured body-based group intervention (STARS; Hopper et al., 2018) that has been designed to address complex trauma in survivors of human trafficking and integrates Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY). TCTSY incorporates yoga principles and practices and aims to support emotion regulation, stabilization, and skill building for adults with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Consistent with complex trauma theory, results from STARS pilot programs found that experiential groups address the areas of a) Relationship, b) Regulation, and c) Self/identity. As a group intervention, the STARS model that integrated TCTSY provided a new way for survivors to be able to relate to one another and therefore to themselves and provided an approach to facilitate integration for survivors with complex trauma. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

The session will begin by introducing components of complex trauma and essential elements needed to address complex trauma in survivors of human trafficking. The STARS model and the TCTSY model will be discussed and experiences from a pilot program that integrated both approaches will be shared. Experiential exercises will be integrated throughout the session and will end with a discussion incorporating a variety of experiential approaches that service providers can use with survivors of complex trauma.

Learning Outcome

  1. Participants will be able to identify useful intervention components for complex trauma.
  2. Participants will have gained exposure to experiential yoga approaches for complex trauma in survivors of human trafficking.
  3. Participants will have engaged in experiential activities that can be used in their work with survivors of complex trauma.

Target Audience

mental health providers; social service providers

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • SAFE Coalition for Human Rights (SAFECHR)
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    I like these aspects of the submission, and they should be retained:

    • ...Dominique has a strong background in this field and has used ancient methods of balancing to develop a therapeutic approach

    I think the submission could be improved by:

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