Clinical Synergism in Treatment of Trauma

Yoga Therapy & Psychotherapy

Authors: Anita Claney, MS; Gina Siler, MA, MSC, LPC; Kausthub Desikachar, PhD


The purpose of this paper is to examine the clinical implications of a close collaboration between a psychotherapist and yoga therapist and the application of their respective therapeutic techniques in the treatment of trauma.

Complex trauma and post traumatic stress disorder have received a great deal of attention over the past couple of decades and many types of treatments have been developed to address the myriad symptoms arising from trauma. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Somatic Experiencing are some of the well known modalities for treating trauma.

While trauma presents with certain identifiable characteristics such as avoidance of stimuli related to the trauma, hypervigilance, alterations in consciousness such as dissociation, recurrent and intrusive thoughts related to traumatic events, nightmares, restricted affect, difficulty concentrating and irritability and anger, the subjective experience is deeply phenomenological and unique. Robert Stolorow in Trauma and Human Existence (2007) writes eloquently of trauma’s subjective experience. Altering an individual’s schema, the absolutes of life are obliterated and the sense of separation between self and other becomes deeply rooted. Noting this, the authors’ orientation is to create a novel therapeutic model for each patient while drawing upon theory and research to support the treatment plan goals. 

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