Hands on Trauma


In recent years the trauma resolution model developed by Peter Levine has been integrated into clinical practice by many cranial therapists. Other trauma experts have written about the benefits of Mindfulness, EMDR and yoga. This seminar is about the unique and highly effective cranial skills that we contribute.

‘Trauma is treated in the body, not the mind.’ 

Peter Levine

Craniosacral therapists work with the body. Our currency is Primary Respiration and our foremost therapeutic tool is touch. In the field of trauma resolution there are four key ways that our highly trained, super-sensitive hands can be effective:

1.    Safety - our clearly-negotiated touch can rapidly signal safety. Since the misperception of threat and danger is endemic to people living with the effects of trauma, re-establishing the feeling of safety is the bedrock of healing trauma.

2.    Palpating Felt Sense - traumatic imprints, stored as tissue memory in the body, can be perceived through our diagnostic touch.  Often these historical patterns are apparent to the practitioner before the client can bring the sensations into present time awareness or can consciously remember traumatic events from her or his past, which underpin these patterns. Hyper and hypo-arousal feel different; each has a different impact on the expression of Primary Respiration.

3.    Body Memory - individual cells and tissues, which are collections of cells, breathe with Primary Respiration. We can help restore this inner breath or motility to chronically contracted tissues (always prepared for action) or flaccid, ennervated tissues (immobilized by overwhelming events), thus directly transforming the body memory of trauma.

4.    Maladaptive states – working with the nervous system, particularly autonomic plexuses and ganglia, the brainstem and limbic structures can go a long way towards restoring normal function. This in turn reduces anxiety, panic attacks, vigilance, labile emotions and aggressive behaviour. The ability to work directly with the nervous system, directly with disordered neurophysiology, gives us a clinical edge in the treatment of trauma.


© Katherine Ukleja 2014