Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Therapy
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is an intervention for adults affected by traumatic stress, which incorporates yoga principles and practices. It aims to support emotion regulation, stabilization, and skill building for adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex PTSD, dissociative disorders, and other related emotional and behavioral problems. The treatment is based on the central components of hatha style of yoga focusing on integrating breathing and meditation with a set of physical postures and movements.
Yoga refers to the union of the mind, body, and spirit. Healing on a psychological and emotional level is often about union in the mind between past, present, and future. Individuals who survive a trauma often struggle to live in the present and not in the past. The brain continues to interpret traumatic events as if they are still happening or might happen again at any moment and the systems in the body respond by holding on to tension.
Trauma sensitive yoga draws on theory from neuroscience, trauma theory, and attachment theory. The goals of yoga are to assist trauma survivors to develop more comfort in their body, improve self-regulation skills, and to find a sense of choice in their experience.
These goals are achieved by
- Practicing making choices
- Emphasizing the present moment experience
- Offering opportunities to take effective action
- Creating rhythms (time, interpersonal and intrapersonal)
- Focusing on spatial orientation and sensing dynamics
Trauma Sensitive Yoga helps to improve interoceptive awareness (knowing what one feels), increase empowerment and decrease many physical responses to trauma. Interoceptive awareness can also be viewed as mindfulness in the body. It pertains to the ability to inhabit the body and be present with bodily sensations as they fluctuate from one moment to the next.
Yoga can also be beneficial for other mental health concerns.
By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga can help to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal by reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.
Individuals with depression and anxiety experience being stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk, obsessive rumination on the past or anxiety about the future. Physical exercises that increase awareness of sensations arising from within the physical body can help people heal.
As exercise, yoga is a natural way to increase serotonin production. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, serotonin production plays a role in the treatment of depression. Serotonin is believed to play a major role in happiness.
Yoga is also especially helpful because of its gentle, calming, and fluid nature. Each pose is flexible, so people of all levels can practice.
My Personal Theory of Therapy
Mind Balance Psychology Center LLC
5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta GA 30022
Individual therapy consists of one-on-one meetings between the therapist and client.
Couples & Family Therapy
Therapy to treat relational distress whether it be between couples or within a family unit.