Trauma Sensitive Yoga

At The Nelson Clinic we offer Trauma Sensitive Group Therapy on a termly basis.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) aims to introduce yoga in a way that supports participants to notice what they feel in their body and enables a sense of agency in moving their body in a way that feels safe and empowered. Participants are invited to engage in movement and to choose how to respond. This practice of Trauma Sensitive Yoga is from the Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga programme at the Justice Research Institute and is based on research which has been carefully designed to assist in healing the effects of trauma. A safe and supportive group environment will be offered, with two facilitators to provide guidance. This environment is suitable for all abilities and no experience is needed.

What we offer

Trauma Sensitive Yoga is a 60-minute class. After the class, clients are offered the opportunity to drink tea, connect with others and/or make use of a range of art making materials. This is optional and clients can leave at any time. This time is designed to support safe opportunities for social connection and integration of yoga.

Potential benefits and outcomes of TSY

  • Improved emotional regulation and reduction of hyperarousal
  • Reconnecting with and befriending the body in a compassionate way
  • Awareness of breath
  • Developing awareness of choices in relation to the body
  • Tuning into the body and somatic sensations safely

Who can participate in this group?
Anyone with an approved ACC ISSC claim and is currently engaged in ISSC therapy is eligible. Clients can request participation by contacting their therapist and expressing interest. If appropriate, the therapist can then request approval from ACC.

What do you need for an in-person class?
Everything is provided but participants are also more than welcome to bring their own mat / props if they choose. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes that can be moved in.

Participant Commitment
We run 8-week courses and there is an expectation that participants will make a commitment to attend all 8 weeks to ensure optimal benefit and be able to integrate these practices over time.

Outcome Measure and Evaluation
Participants will fill out the Insomnia Severity Index prior to starting and upon completion of the yoga course. An anonymous evaluation form will be provided to participants to assess their experience of the group and inform development.

We will liaise with participants and the lead provider (therapist) prior to the group commencing to ensure we are aware of any particular needs or safety concerns that may require supportive attention. Participants will be invited to check in with the facilitators after each session if they require additional support and we will liaise with the lead provider to ensure participants are supported as needed.

Cultural Sensitivity
Cultural diversity and bicultural awareness are seen as a strength in group process and participants will be encouraged to express any unique cultural perspectives and needs. We will check with participants prior to the group whether there is anything needed to feel safe and comfortable.

2023 TSY Groups - Term 2

We are offering 3 groups in Term 2

Nelson (Koru Centre)

  • Mondays 13:00 - 14:30 (24 April - 12 June)
  • Wednesdays 09:15 - 10:45 (26 April - 14 June)
  • Wednesdays 10:45 - 12:15 (26 April - 14 June)

Group Facilitators

Jen Holmes-Beamer
Jen is ACC-registered as an occupational therapist and is currently training with the Australia and New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy in psychodynamic psychotherapy for complex trauma. Jen is a Certified Yoga Therapist and Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) facilitator through the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. She has facilitated yoga in mental health settings since 2016 in both Canada and New Zealand and is passionate about trauma-informed mind-body practices that empower others in their own journey of awareness, resiliency, and healing.

Hester Phillips
Hester Phillips is a registered Arts Therapist, group facilitator and movement teacher who supports others to live their unique potential. She holds a first class clinical Master's degree in Arts Therapy, is a certified Open Floor movement meditation teacher and the co-founder and director of Conscious Dance Aotearoa, New Zealand's annual festival of Conscious Dance. Hester's Master's thesis research explored the efficacy of trauma informed movement for clients with physical symptoms of trauma. Hester specialises in somatic approaches in trauma recovery in her busy private practice in Nelson.

Anna Clarkson
Anna is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in working with trauma for many years and has a particular interest in an integrative approach to healing. Anna has completed initial training in Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.

Rachel Heartwood
Rachel is a registered Creative Arts Therapist, practicing out of Nelson and Motueka specialising in eco-arts therapy (arts therapy with and in nature). She received a first class Master’s degree in Arts Therapy from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in 2018, and since then has worked in private practice running both groups and individual sessions for clients with trauma and/or neurodiversity. She lived in a mindfulness retreat centre for two years, supporting and holding retreats centered around mindful living, mindful movement, and creative exploration. She incorporates this work into her sessions, finding 'bridges' to presence through movement, forest-bathing, art-making and breathwork.