Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Certification Program
for Yoga Teachers

PLEASE NOTE: The program and the waitlist are currently full, and we will begin accepting applications in January 2017 for the next certificate program.

Led By: David Emerson, E-RYT and Jennifer Turner, LMHC, RYT


To be eligible for the Certification Program, you must have completed some prior training with The Trauma Center Yoga Program.


Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is an empirically validated, adjunctive clinical treatment for complex, developmental trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, developed at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. TCTSY has foundations in both Trauma Theory and Hatha Yoga practice with an emphasis on body-based yoga forms and breathing practices.

Complex or Developmental Trauma in particular, have such a deep impact on the entire organism that there is a growing understanding among professionals in the field that treatment approaches need to reach beyond psychodynamic psychotherapy. Research done at the Trauma Center and elsewhere has shown the impact of Complex and Developmental Trauma to include most aspects of one’s sense of self and one’s sense of place and purpose in the world as well as measureable impacts on the brain, the endocrine system and even cell biology. Since 2003, the Trauma Center has been developing, implementing, and closely studying a yoga program specifically for survivors of Complex or Developmental Trauma. As a result of our empirical research, yoga is proving to be an effective, adjunctive treatment for the most severe trauma. The key to the whole endeavor is a deep understanding of the impacts of Complex and Developmental Trauma that lead to the way we teach yoga, which we call Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY).

Best suited participants will have both a vibrant intellectual curiosity regarding trauma theory and a solid level of experience practicing and teaching yoga, which will provide critical subjective and intuitive insight into the place of yoga in a healing milieu. Best suited participants will want to make teaching TCTSY a significant part of their professional life. Through the close support of instructors, participants will be able to spend the time and energy necessary to gain the insight and understanding requisite to build and cultivate a TCTSY program of their own in any setting of their choice. Graduates of the program will be the gold standard for Trauma Sensitive Yoga in their community.

Educational Objectives:

  • Participants will gain a deep understanding from a variety of clinical perspectives about the impact of Complex and Developmental Trauma and PTSD throughout the life cycle.
  • Participants will learn, through both close supervision and in-depth individual investigation, why and how to use TCTSY as an adjunctive treatment for Complex and Developmental Trauma and PTSD in any setting with persons of any age.
  • Participants will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate TCTSY sessions (with either individuals or small groups) as an adjunctive treatment for complex trauma and PTSD in their community of choice.

Program Information:

Please note, we have created this program to be primarily web-based so that it is accessible to participants from any geographical location. The only in-person requirement is September 9, 10 and 11, 2016, at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA.

  • September 9, 10 and 11, 2016, on-site at the Trauma Center
  • Reading on trauma-related topics and short bi-weekly writing assignments will predominate from September through December and then we will switch to practicum/supervision for January-March.
  • There will also be one larger research paper due by March 15, 2017 (topic TBD by student and instructor)
  • Weekly small group meetings will be held on Google Hangout throughout the entire program and will be scheduled according to each participant’s convenience.
  • There will also be weekly full group meetings facilitated by a course instructor on Gotomeeting on Saturday’s at noon EST.
  • Beginning in January, each student will record a weekly, 15-minute practice teaching video that will be shared with their supervisor/mentor.
  • Each participant will receive three individual hours of supervision via Google Hangout and these hours will be scheduled individually.

The program will conclude with the return of the research paper and awarding of certificates on April 5, 2017.

About the Presenters:

Dave Emerson is the Founder and Director of Yoga Services for the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he coined the term “trauma-sensitive yoga”. He was responsible for curriculum development, supervision and oversight of the yoga intervention component of the first of its kind, NIH funded study, conducted by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk to assess the utility and feasibility of TCTSY for adults with treatment-resistant PTSD. Mr. Emerson has developed, conducted, and supervised TCTSY groups for rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, residential programs for youth, military bases, survivors of terrorism, and Veterans Administration centers and clinics. In addition to co-authoring several articles on the subject of yoga and trauma, Mr. Emerson is the co-author of Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga, released in 2011 by North Atlantic Books and author of Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy (Norton, 2015). He leads trainings for yoga teachers and mental health clinicians globally.

Jennifer Turner, along with working in private practice as a trauma-informed therapist, has been leading TSY classes for women at the Trauma Center since 2008, where she also oversees the onsite teaching team. She taught the yoga classes for the NIH funded research study looking into the effects of TCTSY on treatment-resistant PTSD (results can be accessed by clicking here) during which she contributed to the development of the protocol. Ms. Turner is a lead trainer for the Trauma Center Yoga Program.


Regular Rate: $3,990 USD

Early Bird Rate: $3,590 USD, if registered by June 1, 2016.

Please note: Space will be limited to 32 participants and applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Applicants that are accepted will be able to reserve their spot upon receipt of payment.

PLEASE NOTE: The program and the waitlist are currently full, and we will begin accepting applications in January 2017 for the next certificate program.

Please CLICK HERE for the TC-TSY Program 2016/17 Application.