Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness

with Alexis Shotwell

June 6th—June 27th

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  • $110 Program Price
  • $130 Patron Price
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In this course, we will discuss the book Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing, by David A. Treleaven, (2018) Norton, New York.

From the author's website:

"Trauma isn’t something that happens to a few unlucky people. The majority of us will experience a traumatic event in our lifetime, and some will be left struggling with symptoms of traumatic stress.

This means that anywhere mindfulness is being practiced, someone in the room is likely to be struggling with trauma.

At first glance, this appears to be a good thing: trauma creates stress, and mindfulness is a proven tool for reducing it. But the reality is not so simple.

Drawing on a decade of research and clinical experience, educator and trauma professional David Treleaven shows that mindfulness meditation―practiced without an awareness of trauma―can exacerbate symptoms of traumatic stress. Instructed to pay close, sustained attention to their inner world, people struggling with trauma can experience flashbacks, dissociation, and even retraumatization.

This raises a crucial question for mindfulness teachers, trauma professionals, and survivors everywhere: How can we minimize the potential dangers of mindfulness for survivors while leveraging its powerful benefits?

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness offers answers to this question."

The course will consist of guiding discussions, sharing key insights from the book, and grounded in our experience as meditators as well as people who work with other people's practice. This class will be particularly useful for anyone who offers meditation instruction to others, but is aimed as well at helping any of us who have experienced trauma to better work with our own meditation practice. We will discuss:

1. The prevalence of people working with meditation who have experienced trauma, how and when mindfulness practice can be helpful or harmful, and the basics of the biological body-mind basis for stress response in mindfulness contexts

2. Understanding the idea of a "window of tolerance," working with supporting stability and self-regulation in meditation practice, and understanding how dissociation might arise in meditation practice

3. Understanding the social context of trauma and repair, how social relations of oppression are involved in complex or ongoing trauma, and how to begin to work across social difference in meditation practice.

 This course is primarily a guided book study and discussion, and participants are welcome to read the book ahead of time, but it is not assumed that you will have read the book. We will have optional meditation and mindfulness practices, short talks, and discussion.

No pre-requisites apply.  This class is open to everyone