Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) is a psychosocial group intervention for adults affected by traumatic stress, which incorporates yoga principles and practices. TC-TSY aims to support emotion regulation, stabilization, and skill building for adults with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); complex PTSD; dissociative disorders; and other related emotional and behavioral problems.
The program is based on the central components of the hatha style of yoga, which focuses on integrating breathing and meditation with a set of physical postures and movements. In TC-TSY, elements of traditional hatha yoga are modified to maximize tolerance, build trauma survivors’ experiences of empowerment, and cultivate a more positive relationship to one’s body. Trauma-informed alterations to accommodate unique needs and sensitivities include prioritizing gentleness in movement, removing strongly suggestive language, de-emphasizing posture intensity, eliminating hands-on assistance from the instructor, and highlighting opportunities for participants to adjust the practice and make selections that feel appropriate for themselves. The four overarching themes of the intervention are to 1) experience the present moment, 2) make choices, 3) take effective action, and 4) create rhythms.
TC-TSY is designed to be delivered in 10, 1-hour group sessions, which are carried out weekly and follow an established protocol. However, in community practice, the program is more commonly implemented as a component-based intervention that emphasizes repetition and mastery of primary intervention elements in short-term (8 to16 sessions) and long-term (over 20 sessions) groups. Short-term groups are typically “closed” with fixed participants identified at the outset; ongoing groups typically allow for “open” or revolving enrollment. The program may also be provided within the context of individual therapy. Adaptations of the practice are available for implementation with youths.