1. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a way of stimulating the brain through eye movements which appear to make distressing memories feel less intense.
Interestingly, it’s thought to be related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep - the period of sleep in which we’re dreaming. EMDR and REM sleep both involve our eyes moving rapidly from side to side.
Research shows that REM sleep is strongly associated with emotion regulation - the more REM sleep we get, the fewer symptoms of depression we experience.
EMDR is thought to promote effective memory processing. It appears to ‘free up’ trauma, allowing it to ‘move over’ to regular memory. It helps people put traumatic experiences into a broader context or perspective, appearing more distant, and happening in the past.
In The Body Keeps the Score, Van der Kolk describes a patient who had severe PTSD for thirteen years after a terrible car accident. After just two sessions of EMDR, she transformed from a “helpless panicked victim into a confident, assertive woman.”
Find an EMDR therapist here (UK)
and here (US)
2. Somatic Experiencing (SE)
SE was developed by Peter Levine, author of our top recommended read Waking the Tiger
. Here he is telling the story of Nancy, a graduate student who experienced unexplainable panic attacks until his vision of a tiger helped him guide her on the road to recovery!
SE is a body-oriented approach to overcoming trauma which teaches simple, effective skills that mobilise the body's self-healing systems. A therapist trained in this model will guide you through processes which aim to release the ‘frozen’ physiological states of overwhelm, whilst tracking sensations, feelings, images and movement in your body.
Find a SE therapist here (UK)
and here (US)
3. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Sensorimotor psychotherapy was developed by Dr Pat Ogden in the 1970s. Here she is speaking about how the sensorimotor approach helps heal trauma:
Sensorimotor psychotherapy is a form of somatic psychotherapy that is influenced by neuroscience, cognitive and somatic approaches, attachment theory, and the Hakomi Method. Hakomi is a type of therapy that focuses on mindfulness, empathy and loving presence.
You can search the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute for a trained therapist here
4. Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor (PBSP)
Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor (PBSP) is a body-mind approach created by Albert Pesso and Diane Boyden, professional dancers who found that when they urged their students to express their emotions through movement, they commonly reported a sense of psychological relief.
It involves learning a number of exercises which help you to become more familiar with the sensorimotor and emotional signals that provide information about the body, often in a group setting.
You can find a trained therapist here (US)
and here (UK)
5. Therapists trained in The Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)
CRM is a holistic therapeutic approach for trauma survivors developed by Lisa Schwarz, a psychologist who has specialised in severe dissociative disorders for over 25 years. Here’s Lisa talking about CRM:
You can find a therapist trained in CRM here
6. Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)
IFS therapy was developed by Richard Schwartz, a family therapist who noticed that many of his clients spoke about "parts of themselves".
IFS therapy is based on the premise that we all have various sub-personalities—labelled “parts”—that can help us understand ourselves better. In addition, each of us has a core Self, the part of us that is confident, compassionate, and undamaged.
Developing a deeper understanding of our parts and tuning into our sense of Self is how IFS helps us resolve our emotional issues.
IFS teaches us that all our parts have positive intentions for us, even if this seems counterintuitive. Therefore, there is no need to try to eliminate your parts – you focus on harmonising them.
Our Mental Wellbeing Toolkit
includes IFS techniques in a self-help context.
You can find an IFS therapist in the here (US)
and here (UK)
7. Tension, Stress and Trauma Release (TRE)
TRE was created by Dr David Berceli. Whilst at a bomb shelter, he noticed that like animals, it’s common for children to shake when they’re scared. When he asked the parents if they ever got an urge to shake, they said they did but they didn’t want their children to see that they were scared. This gave him the idea to incorporate our natural tremor reflex into a treatment for stress reduction. This reflex of shaking or vibrating helps to release muscle tension and calms down our nervous system.
Here’s an overview of TRE from Jessica Schaffer:
Trauma survivors have reported feeling retraumatised by TRE by doing too much too soon. It's important to start slowly and gradually build up. TRE practitioners recommend starting with 1-2 minutes 2-3 times a week. The best option is to find a certified TRE practitioner.
Use this website
to find a certified TRE provider.
You can also find video tutorials
on YouTube as well as in Dr David Berceli’s book Trauma Releasing Exercises
Read the Full eBook
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