A Brief History of Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga
In 2002, when David Emerson first reached out to Dr. Bessel van der Kolk about the idea of using yoga for trauma there were no models that existed within a clinical context to turn to for guidance. The program needed to be created from scratch. Combining the clinical insights of van der Kolk and Emerson’s dedication to yoga teaching for traumatized people, the first pilot studies were undertaken by the Trauma Center. Partners in the community such as Healthworks for Women and Back Bay Yoga graciously donated their space for the pilot studies. After teaching the first pilot study classes Emerson began to bring in yoga colleagues to help with the second study. The first to come on board were Susanna Barry and Nicole Rosenberg. Later, in 2005, to help create a training program and start offering weekly TC-TSY sessions for men and women at the Trauma Center, Emerson enlisted the help of the well-regarded yoga teachers Jodina Carey and Dana Moore. Over the years, other teachers have contributed their time and expertise. In 2008, Jennifer Turner was invited onto the team and she has since become the supervisor of TC-TSY programming at the Trauma Center itself. Ms. Turner also taught the classes for our third study, a Randomized Controlled Trial, the first of its kind to be funded by the National Institutes of Health. Emerson continues to direct and to write about the program at large and to work individually with military veterans and teens in residential treatment programs. Emerson and Turner offer training programs for yoga teachers and clinicians who are interested in bringing TSY into the their treatment paradigm.