About Us | Practitioner Profiles | Ethical Standards | FAQs


Commonly asked questions about Trauma Therapy


What is the basis of body-oriented trauma work?

As with animals, a key feature of our brains’ evolution has been the need to develop a mechanism for keeping us safe from danger. The human brain is still very sensitive to threats of any kind, even if we are no longer needing to fight cave lions and woolly mammoths.

In a traumatic situation our bodies tense up, our breathing and posture become stronger and more efficient, blood flows more strongly to the muscles and we prepare to take defensive action. Our bodies can also feel numb and shut down as a defensive response.

Sometimes trauma memories can stay in the brain causing anxiety, fear and unwelcome flashbacks even though the person is no longer in danger.  These are the effects that body-oriented trauma therapists work with, as well as other kinds of memories linked to what happened.

Read more: Body inclusive trauma therapy


Is body oriented trauma therapy hard to learn?

Not at all. It’s not hard to learn how to tune into your body’s sensations and how to change them, whether the sensations are pleasant or unpleasant. Learning how to do this isn’t likely to take long and can be very helpful in resolving the effects of past traumas.


It’s years since I thought I’d put a bad car accident behind me.  But my stomach still tightens into a painful knot when something reminds me of it. Will this ever stop happening?

These symptoms are called ‘internal wake up calls’ (Peter Levine 2008). During your accident a lot of energy was generated by your body to help you survive. While some of the healing has happened, this energy has stayed around, almost as if it were frozen inside your body.  Levine says that if we can learn how to listen and respond to these calls, we heal these physical memories. This is a significant part of body-oriented trauma work.

Read more: What is Trauma?


I freeze up when I hear certain sounds or get touched unexpectedly. But I have no idea why. Is it possible to work on something you can’t remember?

Your mind may not remember what happened, but your body certainly does. Body-oriented trauma therapists are trained to understand these body memories and work with them. Sometimes the physical (body) memories lead to cognitive (mind) memories surfacing, sometimes they don’t. Either way it is possible to work successfully on resolving trauma using these techniques.

Read more: Body inclusive trauma therapy


I have started experiencing anxiety and panic that seem to come out of nowhere. I was in a really bad work situation but I’m very happy in my new job.Why am I having these feelings?

Traumatic body memories can emerge immediately after a traumatic event or they can take many years to surface. They often occur as sensations of anxiety and panic. They can come and go or stay around even when a person is in a positive situation. This is normal.
It is well worth getting assistance to dissipate these memories and the impact of events linked to them. A body-oriented trauma therapist can work with the effects on your body and your mind.

Read more: Body Inclusive Trauma Therapy


How long does it take to work?

Clients frequently report feeling lighter and more in control after just one session, a welcome change. The length of the work depends on how many traumatic experiences someone has had and how severe they were. The therapist will discuss this with you at the first session.


How safe is it and is it painful?

A key feature of the work is the attention paid to a client’s safety. How this happens is discussed at the beginning of therapy and then regularly reviewed during treatment.
You may experience lots of emotion at times but it is not physically painful.


How can doing Yoga help me recover from trauma?

Yoga, like other body-oriented trauma techniques ATC therapists use, helps restore the body’s emotional balance.  Research has shown that doing yoga postures and working with the breath in yoga (pranayama) calms the body and also boosts the immune system.  This is helpful in dealing with the anxiety and depression symptoms that often develop after traumatic experiences as well as aiding your physical health.

Yoga can help you understand your body better, stay in the present and feel safe in your body again.  Done on a regular basis it can also help with improving sleep.

Read more: Yoga Therapy


I’ve had a number of injuries — can I still do Yoga?

If your yoga therapist suggests that you might like to try out some postures and/or a breathing exercise in a therapy session or attend a class, you need to let them know about any injuries you have.  They will have suggestions of alternative gentler postures to try if a particular one is not good for you. You will never be expected to do anything that might harm your body.

Read more: Yoga Therapy

Is your question not answered here? Then please Contact Us.