What is Yoga for Trauma?
A Brief History of TCTSY
The Trauma Center Yoga program was founded by David Emerson and Bessel van der Kolk in 2002. Between 2003-2006, combining clinical insights and a dedication to yoga teaching for people who were suffering from psychological trauma, the first pilot studies were undertaken by the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. Partners in the community such as Healthworks for Women and Back Bay Yoga graciously donated their space for the pilot studies. Some information from these initial pilots was published in 2006 in a paper called “Clinical Implications of Neuroscience Research” (See Research for this paper). We began offering sessions for groups and individuals in 2003 along side the pilot studies and immediately began learning from our students. Over the years, many yoga teachers, mental health care professionals, and students have graciously contributed their time, expertise, and insight to the development of our yoga model, that we call Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY). In 2009 we received the first grant given by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study yoga for trauma. With sessions facilitated by Jennifer Turner, a senior TCTSY trainer, and guided by van der Kolk, Laura Stone, Jennifer West, Alison Rhodes and many dedicated post-doctoral students and Trauma Center interns, our work on this study proceeded until 2012. In 2014 our paper, based on this Randomized Controlled Trial, was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Since then several groups began replicating our study either verbatim or with modifications (again, see Research for these papers). In 2017, TCTSY became the first dedicated yoga program listed as and evidence-based program/practice for the treatment of psychological trauma.