David Treleaven, author of “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing” defines trauma as “any experience stressful enough to leave us feeling helpless, frightened, and profoundly unsure. After such experiences, we are left with a diminished sense of security with others and in the world, and a sense of feeling unsafe inside our own skin.” Treleaven suggests that integrating Trauma-informed techniques into mindfulness practices helps make the benefits of mindfulness more accessible to everyone.
How Traumatic Stress Interferes with Mindfulness
David Treleaven discusses the subtler ways that our body can be traumatized by certain experiences and how these experiences can get in the way of being fully present during traditional mindfulness practices that are intended to reduce symptoms of traumatic stress rather than trigger them. In traditional settings, it can be difficult for mindfulness teachers to pick up on signs that their students may have a history of trauma; however, they can pick up on body cues that signal discomfort, tension, or insecurity.
4 R’s of Trauma-informed Therapy:
- Recognizes symptoms. Our therapists conduct thorough assessments of students and discuss their trauma history directly, but they also observe their triggers and the way their body responds when discussing trauma and in their everyday lives.
- Realizes the impact. Our therapists have years of experience working with teen girls and assigned female at birth who have a history of trauma and have seen how it can impact multiple areas of their life, including relationships, academic performance, and self-esteem.
- Responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies. They are sensitive to their student’s history and use strategies that emphasize self-regulation and nonjudgmental.
- Resisting re-traumatization is the end goal of trauma-informed therapy. students have learned to identify triggers, challenge negative thoughts, and choose a different path.
Goals of Trauma-informed Mindfulness:
- To minimize distress for people practicing mindfulness
- To forward a systemic understanding of trauma
- To advocate for a continued partnership between mindfulness practitioners and Trauma professionals
Integrating Mindfulness into Trauma Therapy
We integrate a variety of evidence-based techniques into our treatment model for trauma, including mindfulness, somatic experiencing, EMDR, and Brainspotting. By focusing on the relationship between how the body stores traumatic stress and how the mind processes it, we are able to help students begin the healing process. These techniques encourage students to slow down and increase awareness of their inner experience.
While many mindfulness practices may involve controlling the breath and focusing on specific things, the goal of Trauma-sensitive mindfulness is to notice whatever is happening in your body and to let go of judgments about what your practice is supposed to look like. This may include changing settings, moving more often, playing certain songs, or scratching sitting all together and looking for other ways to find your flow free from judgment and fear. Mindfulness practices and mindful living principles are an integral part of our program as coping mechanisms and healthy habits.
Solstice RTC Can Help
Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. We offer a multidisciplinary holistic approach to trauma recovery, including mindfulness, EMDR, and Brainspotting. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching teens how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 866-278-3345.