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Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness


Mindfulness can help some people to integrate trauma.

And it can be re-traumatizing for others If possible, screen beforehand for trauma....

  • REALIZE- Understanding why meditation can create dysregulation for people who’ve experienced trauma and specific ways you can prevent this

People do not feel safe inside because mindfulness can cause flooding (fear, flashbacks, other emotions and shame)

If students have not been conscious of their trauma, mindfulness can be helpful in raising this to the surface. However there are absolutely those for whom the usual protocols are too intense.

PTSD (intrusive thoughts, emotional detachment/ numbness, flashbacks, heightened anxiety, nausea, disorientation, desire to flee)

---When survivors bring mindfulness to internal stimuli, the memories and stimuli of trauma will often trigger. It is natural to over-attend to this experience—and the pain is amplified. survivors pull attention away from the body out of self protection.

  • What is the student’s history? Pre-screen for class or before first meeting so as to know beforehand how the protocols need to be adapted.

ANY experience stressful enough to leave us feeling helpless, frightened, overwhelmed or unsafe is a trauma.

  • Prepare to RECOGNIZE symptoms of traumatic stress in meditation

Hyperventilation, heightened startle response, pale skin tone, disassociation, volatility, disorganized speech, spaciness.

  • RESPOND Equipped with introductory tools and modifications to help you work skillfully with dysregulated arousal, traumatic flashbacks, and trauma-related dissociation

As divers with seaweed. Relax, partner, self regulate.


· Take a few deep breaths

· Focus on an external object in environment

· Soothing self- touch

· IS there a place within the body that feels stable? Focus on that.

· Take a break from mindfulness practice.

--WINDOW OF TOLERANCE. Numb= hypoarousal, Heart racing= hyperarousal.

  • So as to RESIST re-traumatization

Social-political implications: the ubiquity of serious trauma.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event

  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)

  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event

  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event

  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world

  • Hopelessness about the future

  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event

  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

  • Feeling detached from family and friends

  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions

  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened

  • Always being on guard for danger

  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior

Overwhelming guilt or shame

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