Preventing and Healing Trauma

This "Healing Trauma" RESOURCE PAGE focuses on re-thinking the origins, prevention and treatment of suffering. 

Equally important is re-examining and transforming the foundations of medical science, training, and patient care.  

LINK:  Healing Medicine itself

Transforming the Medical Model, Supporting Anti-Racism, Supporting LGBTQIA+ Care 

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New Science meets Ancient Healing Traditions

All 3 of the scientific fields of Trauma, Health Equity, and Neurobiology are relatively new.
And it is easy to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic by the painful statistics about the harm from trauma and from structural violence.

However, A LOT of Healing Programs are being developed.  This page includes a SAMPLE of Programs designed to prevent and heal trauma.

It is important to note that Indigenous Cultures have developed and practiced many regulatory healing practices and rituals for thousands of years.  It is only recently that Western science has begun to comprehend the basic principles of Regulation and Healing - so that we can understand how complex and effective these Indigenous practices are.

Disclaimer:    The content on the THEN Website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. THEN does not endorse any specific type of Healing Therapy - and does not endorse any specific clinician. 
Always seek the advice of your own physician or other healthcare provider.

THEN is excited to expand this list of Healing Programs.  If you have a suggestion, please contact THEN.

Trauma Healing for Individuals
Processing of Traumatic Experience

Most experts recommend a combination of psychotherapy and body-centered healing (somatosensory healing)

EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR therapy is designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain to allow normal brain function to resume.

DBT - Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Four skills taught in DBT:
   o   Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
   o   Distress Tolerance:  how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
   o   Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
   o   Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change?

DBR - Deep Brain Reorienting
DBR aims to access the core of the traumatic experience in a way which tracks the original physiological sequence in the brainstem, the part of the brain which is rapidly online in situations of danger or attachment disruption. 

Neurofeedback is a computer-assisted approach to restore normal brain signaling which may have become unbalanced from traumatic experience.

Yoga  Tai Chi  -  QiGong
Ancient practices involving movement, physical poses, mindfulness and deep breathing. 

Mindfulness promotes awareness that emerges from paying attention nonjudgmentally. 
Mindfulness interventions may target emotional under- and overmodulation of emotional regulation and be effective in restoring connectivity between large-scale brain networks among individuals with trauma.

Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy seeks to help people discover just what forms of expression will be self-regulating, communicate their experiences in reparative ways, imagine restorative narratives, and ultimately support recovery.

Somatosensory Therapy
Working with the "wisdom of the body," Somatosensory Therapy includes the body in therapy as both a source of information and target for intervention.  RESOURCE:  Ogden (2021) Impact of Relational Stress on Physiology, Posture and Movement

Positive Childhood Experiences - Building Resilience
Positive Childhood Experiences Protect Us

Positive childhood experiences (PCEs) - such as the presence of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments - support development of a flexible stress response system and brain-body regulation - increasing the likelihood of health and well-being across the lifespan.

Early life PCEs are especially important to protect us by preventing and mitigating the impact of trauma.
PCEs may even be more important influencers of health than ACEs.
Some examples of PCEs are:
   o  Caregiver attunement and secure attachment
   o  Positive relationships with friends, teachers and community members
   o  Neighborhood safety
   o  Equitable access to resources for basic needs.

2 validated assessments for Positive Childhood Experiences

   o  Positive Childhood Experiences Scale  (Bethel et al > see Resources below)
   o  Benevolent Childhood Experiences Scale (Narayan et al > see Resources below)

HOPE - Tufts Children's Hospital program - Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences
FREE family-friendly Questionnaire to ask about strenths and family experiences.

Attachment-Attunement Therapy - Parent-Child & Adult

Overview:  Attachment-Based Therapy.  

The goals of the attachment based therapy treatment are to:

  • Increase trust, security, and closeness between the child, parents, and other family members
  • Increase affection and enjoyment in relationships
  • Increase parental empathy and acceptance
  • Improve parent's ability to attune and respond to children
  • Boost parents' self-confidence in parenting
  • Increase children's ability to express their needs and feelings

Triple P:  Positive Parenting Programs

Triple P gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage their children’s behavior and prevent problems developing. Triple P is used in more 30 countries and has been shown to work across cultures, socio-economic groups and in many different kinds of family structures.

Parent-Infant Psychotherapy
Intervention that works with parent and infant together, with the aim of improving the parent-infant relationship and promoting infant attachment and optimal infant development.

Celebrating and Supporting Mothers

Optimizing the health and well-being of women and children are national and international priorities. 

Women  who remain healthy during pregnancy and after birth are more likely to stay healthy later in life and have better birth outcomes, influencing infant, child and adult health of the next generation. Therefore, the health and well-being of women matter to every person, society and country and are essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The CDC estimates that almost 2/3 of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. CDC Pregnancy-Related Death Data. Action is necessary across sectors and settings to eliminate avoidable maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity.  WHO Fact Sheet Maternal Health

Centering Pregnancy

Murphy (2020). Perinatal Support Through Community.  The Power of Connection, Trust and Voice.  North Carolina Medical Journal   Describes innovation which has been shown to reduce preterm births and low birth weight babies while increasing breastfeeding.  

Centering Pregnancy - a successful model for group prenatal care. (2015).  Describes how to support group discussion of pregnant moms while protecting patient privacy.

National Association to Advance Black Birth

Founded to address birthing issues in the Black community in U.S. This includes a mission driven by advocacy, programming, and building capacity of doulas and midwifes in the Black community.

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

A national network of black women-led organizations and multi-disciplinary professionals who work to ensure that all Black Mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.  Black Mamas Matter provides a FREE Toolkit to advance the human right to safe and respectful maternal health care.


SisterSong is the largest national multi-ethnic Reproductive Justice collective. Our membership includes and represents Indigenous, African American, Arab and Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latina women and LGBTQ people.   Our purpose is to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.

Community Programs to Prevent and Heal Trauma

Purpose Built Communities

The Purpose Built Communities model—is a coordinated holistic approach to tackle such complex, deeply-rooted issues as intergenerational poverty, unsafe environments, high crime, and failing schools presents many challenges. 

"Our holistic approach grew from the knowledge that it’s not enough to improve or replace a single aspect of a struggling neighborhood."  Key concepts:
   o  Defined Neighborhood
   o   Community Quarterback
   o   Mixed Income Housing
   o   Community Wellness
   o   Cradle-to-College Education Pipeline

Purpose Built Communities are now in 15 US States.


Vital Village  (Massachusetts)
With a love of community and a recognition that the current model of health and child protection is broken, Vital Village is a visionary organization committed to maximizing child, family, and community well-being.

Strong African-American Families (Georgia)
A culturally tailored, family-centered intervention for African American youth and their caregivers. The goal of SAAF is to prevent behavioral problems - and physical disease - among youth by strengthening positive family interactions, preparing youth for their teen years and enhancing caregivers’ efforts to help youth reach positive goals.


Healing with an Indigenous Vision

As described in the book, For Indigenous Minds Only, many indigenous scholars, clinicians and activisits believe that healing the painful trauma of colonization (the root of Indigenous Health Disparity) requires affirming specific principles.  This approach to healing trauma is ancient - and yet new to us - and potentially transformational.  Some principles:
   o  Healing can occur if the individual has learned to relate to their center and the natural world.
   o  Innate respect for each individual and their experience
   o  Life itself is the greatest teacher.  Each person has their own hard realities as well as experiences that are joyous and pleasing.
   o  Reflection and sharing of experience in community allows us to understand our experience in the context of the greater whole.

Sample Programs

Family Spirit
A joint program of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and the Navajo, White Mountain Apache, and San Carlos Apache Tribes, Family Spirit is an evidence-based culturally tailed home-visiting program to promote optimal health and wellbeing for parents and their children.


Restorative Justice

Basic Principles of Restorative Justice
From the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice is a way of healing and transforming the entire legal system, our family lives, our conduct in the workplace, our practice of politics. It is a vision of holistic change in the way we do justice in the world.

5 Principles of Restorative Justice
from the Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute
Offers a FREE manual on application of Trauma Informed Care including
   o   How to develop Respectful Awareness
   o   Choosing Trust and Connection
   o   Recognizing Innate Strengths and Resilience

Honoring the Indigenous Roots of Restorative Justice
Restorative justice in the Westernized sense often indicates the implementation of tools used to resolve conflict, but indigenous peacemaking is inseparable from the restorative healing practices that are lived every day in connection with oneself, one’s community, and nature according to tribal traditions and lifeways.   In recent decades in the US, Restorative Justice has been used to restore peace between crime victims and those who caused them harm, for persons harmed by structural violence (mass incarceration), and for the Child Welfare System.

Healing Traditions based on a Systems Perspective

All of these Healing Traditions use a Systems Perspective - seeing
- the Mind-Body are one interconnected system
- all living systems are constantly changing
- illness comes from imbalance (within the person, in the community or with nature)
- healing comes from restoring balance

Visit  Integrative Medicine for All of the Underserved  (IM4US)
A collaborative, multidisciplinary group committed to affordable, accessible integrative health care for all; dedicated to promoting health in underserved populations; shifting the current paradigm towards equity, wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and self-care.


Chinese Medicine 
Chinese Medicine developed 3000 years ago in China - and is widely practiced throughout the world today.  Treatments to regain balance may include Acupuncture, Massage, Herbal Medicine, and Movement-Concentration exercises (such as QiGong). 
NIH perspective on Chinese Medicine.


Ayurveda developed in India thousands of years ago as a "science of longevity" and continues to be practiced throughout the world, mainly in India and Nepal.  Each person is felt to have a unique mixture of elements (doshas) - of vata, pitta, and kapha.  Therapies include herbal medicines, medicinal oils, special diets, meditation, yoga, and massage.
NIH perspective on Ayurveda

Shamanic Healing Traditions
Shamanism is not a formalized system of beliefs or healing techniques.  Shamanism is a group of activities and experiences shared by shamans in cultures around the world.  Common principles: 
   o  Unity with nature
   o  Unity of mind, body and spirit
   o  Importance of community   
   o  Physical illness may have an emotional, spiritual or relational source   
   o  Emotional suffering is not seen as "mental illness" but loss of the soul due to trauma
   o  Healing requires restoring right relationships between the person, their family, community and nature  

Trauma Informed Sports

"Nothing Heals Like Sport" 
 The Center for Healing and Justice through Sport

Sport is uniquely suited to support the healing of trauma because of the way sport inherently combines physical activity, relationships, routine, and competence building.

In contrast to some aspects of sports culture which may result in children (and adults) feeling that they don't fit in or aren't good enough, Trauma-Informed Sports can lead to increased confidence, connection and leadership.  

Find out how!