Transforming trauma

Podcasts and videos

What is trauma exactly? Or the ever-elusive concept known as the “flow state”? And why do some people just trigger us so much? It can all be explained by the autonomic nervous system — our body’s autopilot that keeps our heart beating, our lungs breathing, and our gut digesting; without us even thinking about it. The Polyvagal Theory is a new understanding of how our nervous system works, and explains everything from trauma, to the very essence of social behavior; while shedding light on possible treatments for autism and trauma. You’ll never think of your body and brain the same way again. A great intro to trauma.

6 minute interview on healing racial trauma racial with Resmaa Menakem

Hour long discussion about healing racial justice through somatic abolitionism between Resma Menakaam and Tara Brach (White Awake/ Dharma practitioner)

In this hour long episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Resmaa Menakem discuss racism from the perspectives of trauma and body-centered psychology. Resmaa unpacks some of the language he's introduced into our vocabulary around racism—including "white-body supremacy" and "somatic abolitionism"—helping listeners to deepen their understanding of the structural and philosophical underpinnings of racism in the Western world.

Blogs

A four part blog series that takes us on a rich and deep dive into the roots of white supremacy and colonialism and how we can liberate ourselves from the stranglehold of racial and collective trauma.

A rich and expansive blog exploring the relationship between fear, collective trauma and the current pickle we humans find ourselves in.

Programmes and workshops

Body-informed leadership for a more just, joyful and interconnected world. Powerful online and in-person trainings and mentorships to support facilitators and community space holders to become trauma-informed. A great blog series keeping abreast of innovative thinking within the realms of collective trauma, justice and cultural transformation.

Supporting social and climate justice movements in achieving their visions of a radically transformed society. We do this by bringing somatic transformation to movement leaders, organizations, and alliances. Our programs engage the body (emotions, sensations, physiology), in order to align our actions with values and vision, and heal from the impacts of trauma and oppression. We aim to advance loving and rigorous movements that possess the creativity, resilience, and liberatory power needed to transform society.

A virtual village, healing the human family and co-imagining new ways of being. We are raising awareness of trauma imprints and healing through the body, creating an ecology of care.

Providing people with emotionally sustainable tools to understand oppression and transform it in their communities.

Tara Approach, organisation

Tools for Awakening and Awareness . Ending Traumatic Repetition in Families and Communities Worldwide. Offers webinars, books and courses.

Magamam, courses, podcasts, blog

A radical, collective and empowering approach to supporting women around birth and sexual trauma. Interesting podcast.

NARM is a method of psychotherapy specifically aimed at treating attachment, relational and developmental trauma, otherwise referred to as “Complex Trauma” (Complex-PTSD or C-PTSD).  This developmentally-oriented, neuroscientifically-informed model emerged out of earlier psychotherapeutic orientations including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Attachment Theory, Gestalt Therapy, and diverse Somatic Psychotherapy approaches. Integrating top-down psychotherapy with bottom-up somatic approaches within a relational context.

A nonprofit organization devoted to cultivating trauma-informed and resiliency-focused individuals and communities throughout the world.

International initiatives

Pocket Project, organisation

Pocket Project is a global initiative "aiming to restore the fragmentation in individuals, communities and societies by addressing and supporting the integration of collective and intergenerational trauma. We envision that by integrating collective trauma, we can heal the wounds from the past and shift humanity towards a path of emergence and evolutionary development. We work within and in partnership with populations throughout the world  who are experiencing — or have experienced — collectively traumatizing events."

An online event to explore methods for working with unresolved and hidden trauma in individuals, communities, and society. A treasure trove of leading trauma practitioners and inspiring poets sharing juicy discussions about how trauma relates to everything from race and climate change through to law and education.

Research and information

Raising awareness of climate trauma and how to create transformational resilience in the face of it.

Activist Trauma Support Group (archived site). Information.

Archived  information and documents from the Activist Trauma Support group, which operated from 2004-2014 in recognition of the potential for people involved in political activism to have distressing or traumatic experiences.

Books

The politics of trauma by Staci Haines

Politicized somatics for therapists and social activists who share a common goal of alleviating suffering and improving life. Individual and societal well-being go hand-in-hand; just as health practitioners need to consider the societal factors underlying trauma, so too must activists understand trauma's physical and mental impact on the lives of those for whom they advocate. Politicized somatics builds power, deepens capacity, and creates embodied skills required for lasting health and meaningful social transformation. An important tool for healers, therapists, political activists, community organizers, and for the survivors of trauma.

Healing Collective Trauma: A Process for Integrating Our Intergenerational and Cultural Wounds by Thomas Hübl

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Healing Shared Trauma. This new perspective on trauma combines deep knowledge of mystical traditions with the latest scientific research. “In this way,” writes Thomas, “we are weaving a double helix between ancient wisdom and contemporary understanding.
Thomas details the Collective Trauma Integration Process, a group-based modality for evoking and eventually dissolving stuck traumatic energies. Providing structured practices for both students and group facilitators, Healing Collective Trauma is intended to build a practical tool kit for integration.

Nurturing Resilience by Kathy L. Kain and Stephen J. Terrell, Peter Levine

Synthesizing across disciplines—Attachment, Polyvagal, Neuroscience, Child Development Theory, Trauma, and Somatics—this book provides a new lens through which to understand safety and regulation. It includes the survey used in the groundbreaking ACE Study, which discovered a clear connection between early childhood trauma and chronic health problems.

My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts, Resmaa Menakem

My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.

Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship by Laurence Heller & Aline LaPierre

Although it may seem that humans suffer from an endless number of emotional problems and challenges, Healing Developmental Trauma presents a model for psychotherapy and growth showing that most emotional difficulties can be traced back to the compromised development of one or more five core capacities. These five core capacities are associated with biologically based core needs that are essential to our physical and emotional well-being: the needs for connection, attunement, trust, autonomy, and love-sexuality. The authors introduce the NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM), a resource-oriented, psychodynamically informed approach that, while not ignoring a person’s past, emphasizes working in the present moment. NARM uses somatic mindfulness to re-regulate the nervous system and to resolve identity distortions—such as low self-esteem, shame, and chronic self-judgment—caused by developmental and relational trauma.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. It shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. 

Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma (2018) Elizabeth Rosner

As firsthand survivors of many of 20th century's most monumental events--the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War--begin to pass away, Survivor Cafe addresses urgent questions: How do we carry those stories forward? How do we collectively ensure that the horrors of the past are not forgotten?
Survivor cafe discusses the intergenerational inheritance of trauma, as well as the intricacies of memory and remembrance in the aftermath of genocide and atrocity.

It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, Mark Wolynn

A groundbreaking approach to transforming traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations, by a renowned expert in the field. Inherited family trauma is currently an area of growing interest, as science increasingly explores what we know intuitively: that the effects of trauma can pass from one generation to the next, and that the answers to some of our greatest life problems often lie not within our own story, but in the experiences of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and extended family.

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Judith Herman

Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context.

Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centered Practices, Deborah Dana

A grab- bag of polyvagal- informed exercises for offering readily understandable explanations of the ways the autonomic nervous system directs daily living. They use the principles of polyvagal theory to guide us to safely connect to our autonomic responses and navigate daily experiences in new ways. This book is designed for therapists to support their clients.

Trauma and the Soul, Donald Kalsched

A book that restores the mystery to psychoanalytic work. It tells stories of ordinary patients and ordinary psychotherapists who, through working together, glimpse the reality of the human soul and the depth of the spirit, and are changed by the experience. Trauma and the Soul will be of particular interest to practicing psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, analytical psychologists, and expressive arts therapists, including those with a "spiritual" orientation.

Image credits

Header: With thanks to Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

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