For the past nine years I co-lead Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY) sessions for a study at the Atlanta VA Medical Center to compare the effects of TSY versus the gold-standard intervention for treating PTSD in women veterans with military sexual trauma. Our study ended in the early months of the pandemic, and the results are in. TSY is just as effective, with better retention and cost effectiveness, making it a viable alternative to current treatment options. The preliminary findings were published today in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga won, y'all.
I'm so grateful to co-facilitators Holle Black, Veronica Lewinger, and Stephanie Miedema. We did it. Together. Thank you to Dave Emerson, author of the first book on Trauma Sensitive Yoga, for the stellar supervision, to the research team for holding it all together, and to Primary Investigator Ursula Kelly for making this whole thing happen. Most of all, gratitude for the women veterans who participated in this study, for their courage, commitment, generosity, and willingness to do the hard things. It's been an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity.
"This study is the first RCT to use yoga as a comparator to a gold standard treatment for PTSD, rather than using an attention or wait list control. The use of a first-line treatment as the control condition in this RCT provides stronger and potentially more clinically relevant implications. Other studies have examined the efficacy of yoga for PTSD compared with wait list control,45 health education,30 wellness programs,44 or other alternative modalities but not with evidence-based therapies. The authors wanted to compare TCTSY with the best evidence gold standard, with the goal of establishing a viable PTSD treatment alternative, given the significant limitations of the current best practices, namely engagement, retention, and initial symptom exacerbation before improvement. The finding that one treatment was not more effective than the other supports TCTSY as a viable alternative to current evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment options, which suffer from 80% to 90% attrition and incomplete symptom resolution for many in clinical practice.17 In this study, retention in TCTSY exceeded that of CPT by more than 25%. In addition, yoga delivered in a group setting is less costly than CPT provided in group or individual formats, the latter being more common in VA clinical settings." - https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2020.0417
My participation in this study has been the seed of my Trauma Sensitive Yoga private practice. I am currently only seeing clients virtually via Zoom or FaceTime, and will continue to offer virtual appointments as well as in-person appointments once the pandemic restrictions are lifted. If you would like more information about TSY for yourself or someone else who might benefit, please click here to get in touch.