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Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Training
Course Content

Please note that there is always some variation in material covered, based on the existing experience and interests of participants in attendance. The length of the training varies between 20 and 25 hours, depending on the amount of time available at each venue, and the time the group votes to wrap up on the final day.

  • What is Trauma-Informed Mindfulness?
    • Core philosophy, goals and practice principles grounded in the literature on trauma-informed care, somatics and mindfulness
    • Mindfulness and the tri-phasic model of trauma treatment
    • Considerations and caveats with different styles of meditation
    • Scope of practice considerations
    • Recognizing that trauma is in every meditation class
    • What TIM is and is not
  • The Transcendence Trap
    • Adverse effects of meditation and common pitfalls of contemplative practices
    • Contraindications of mindfulness and meditation
  • Foundations of Trauma and Attachment
    • The neurobiology and psychophysiology of trauma and attachment
    • Frameworks for understanding stress and dysregulation
    • Understanding dysregulation (hyper- and hypo-arousal)
    • Role of addictions and management strategies
    • Dissociation, spiritual bypassing and forced forgiveness
    • “Biological completion”, complex syndromes and other themes
    • The activation cycle of social engagement strategies, orienting, fight/flight, freeze/collapse and discharge/deactivation
    • Recognizing signs of activation in our students and ourselves
    • Reframing avoidance and resistance from a trauma lens
    • Interoception, exteroception, neuroception and proprioception
    • Aligning mindfulness practices with the science of breath physiology
  • Adapting Mindfulness: Trauma-Informed Theory and Principles
    • Understanding why meditation can be triggering through the lens of procedural (body) memory, incomplete motor sequences, “biological completion”, the vagus nerve, and expansion-contraction patterns
    • Curious vs. neutral observation
    • Titration
    • Expansion and constriction (pendulation / oscillation)
    • “Red” trauma vortex (dukha / “sharp points”) and “blue” healing vortex (sukha)
    • Brahmana (gas pedal) and langhana (brakes)
    • Periphery to core
    • Distancing
    • Approach and retreat
    • Holding opposites
    • Movement
    • Other considerations
  • Emotional First Aid Skills for Self-Soothing
    • Grounding practices
    • Sensory orienting
    • Containment and self-nurturing
    • Resourcing
    • Self-compassion
  • Self-Care and Resiliency for Meditation Instructors
    • Attunement: Fostering therapeutic presence and holding space to foster regulation, secure base and safe haven for clients
    • Self-regulation for instructors
    • Healthy boundaries: Joining versus merging/disconnecting
    • Understanding vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
    • Self-compassion practices