Trauma Touch Training - Our Experience
Last fall, Tameca and myself had the pleasure of attending Trauma Touch Training - a five day intensive for healing professionals for a modality of bodywork designed to work with survivors - those with histories of trauma and/or abuse.
The training was, in many ways, a lot. We waded through our own traumas (maybe dived in?), we held space, we connected, we learned.
Trying to capture the heart of Trauma Touch Therapy (TTT) into this blog has been challenging. A few sentences don’t seem like enough, and several paragraphs feel like too much. And - that feels very true to the work itself. Trauma Touch is the both, and. It is specific and utilizes distinct tools, and it is expansive and almost limitless in it’s application. Because we, as individuals, and our traumas, cannot be boiled down to rigid protocols.
One definition I’ll paraphrase here is one we co-created as a cohort in September. We defined the work as: [a type of client directed bodywork that creates a safer space in which a client can explore bodily sensations + experience healthy therapeutic contact.].
It feels really important to emphasize “client directed.” In massage, for instance, therapeutic contact is an assumption. If you’re coming in for a massage, we can pretty safely assume you are ok with contact. However, with TTT, the client gets to dictate if the option of contact is even on the table.
While we help to provide the structure, connection to the tools, and guidance for how a session could be navigated - the individual clients are the ones who set expectations for if, how, and what the work looks like. We are really there to act as a witness and to help hold the container for the individual client’s healing.
This modality usually consists of 10 individual sessions that guide a client through a set of tools to help transform their experience of trauma in their bodies. Transformation is facilitated through breath, movement, sensation, play, and contact - which can lead to a greater sense of wholeness and connection. The series typically begins with sensation work. Being present with your body and what your sensing - and not just feeling.
In fact, the main goal of Trauma Touch is to help clients identify and sustain sensations in their own body. This acts as a means of disrupting and transforming the trauma cycle into a cycle of healing.
This work is for us to remember what it means to be in the “here and now.” To be able to be with our bodies and feel in this moment.
Among many things, this work supports:
enhanced self awareness (which helps with setting boundaries, identifying needs, identifying triggers, and more)
learning tools for self-regulation
“transform[ing] the somatic experience of…trauma”
Back in August, we shared why we felt this training was so important. It was really beautiful looking back at that - because while we didn’t get exactly what we hoped in this training - we got exactly what we needed:
As members of our healing comunidad, you know that we are especially committed to providing care to those that have felt, or feel, mistreated or patronized in health care settings. This often includes, but is not limited to, LGBTQ identified folks, people of color, women + femmes, lower income folks, those experiencing fat-phobia/body shaming/negativity, and folks who are differently abled/disabled.
What we have seen in practice and/or endured ourselves, is that far too often, many of us have also experienced (or experience in an ongoing and/or present time manner) trauma. We know our communities have survived much, and we will continue to be survivors. And we also want to do work that will help us not only to survive, but to THRIVE.
This training means we will be able to serve this community more competently, more fully. It will help provide us with the tools to be able to create a safer space for healing, and it also means being able to better educate and inform, as well as facilitating a greater sense of safety in ourselves, and in our bodies.
We believe this training will lead to greater self-sufficiency, autonomy, self awareness, healthful boundaries, and empowerment in our communities.
We know that this training will mean healing. And resilience. For us, for our communities, for our ancestors, for the generations to come.
Because of this training we are more trauma sensitive practitioners. We are more focused on the ways we can be resiliency centered. To move from viewing trauma as something we survive - but how we can, do, and will thrive. This training has helped us expand the ways we do - and are able to - hold space. It has solidified and increased our commitment to affirming, supportive, and client-directed work.
To practice the the 10 session series of Trauma Touch; however - we actually have some more training to do. The next layer is a year long, supervised externship to practice and build upon the skills we learned in level 1. Upon completion of that externship, we would be certified to practice this modality of bodywork. (Psst - we will need folks interested in being clients for that process - if you’d like to learn more or be involved, let us know).
What we want to do now, though, is continue showing up to each session with each of you with greater awareness, humility, and care for your healing - and not just what brought you here. To be mindful of how trauma may show up. To help you identify and connect with the sensations in your body - as long as it feels safe to lean into that space.
We also want to hold workshops (like this one coming up!) to share more of this work and some of it’s tools with our community.
Thank you all again for supporting this work - and really - supporting yourselves. Here’s to resiliency. Here’s to thriving.