Touch Skills For Therapists

Touch Skills Module 2:
Complex Trauma – Touch-Based Methods for
Early Trauma & Trauma Structures

This module is part of the Touch Skills for Therapists series

When traumatic stress experiences occur early in our lives, they tend to reverberate through our ongoing development in a way that later traumas most commonly do not. These early traumas may cause us to develop coping strategies, somatic habits, and physiological responses which have trauma as their foundation and their primary organising impulse. The symptoms associated with the development of such trauma structures can mimic other complex disorders, such as syndromes (e.g. auto-immune disorders).

Including some orientation to the foundational material, this class is designed to provide practitioners with greater understanding and insight into the dynamics and interplay of the survival impulses and related coping strategies that underlie symptoms of complex and developmental trauma.

Although focusing primarily on the effects of trauma within the overall physiology, the class also provides an introduction to the physiological impact of early and complex trauma on the viscera and the basics of working with syndromes. Both of these topics are covered in much greater depth within other modules.

We will practice touch methods for helping our clients unravel their somatic habits arising from trauma and return to more functional equilibrium and capacity for self-regulation. The module will cover:

  • Alignment and the client/practitioner’s matrix of attention.
  • Trauma structures.
  • Keystone systems – the critical, key systems that are at the core of any given response pattern.
  • Somatic metaphors – working with body systems as metaphorical representations of somatic narrative or other meaning that is expressing via a somatic system.
  • Working with somatic shame.
  • Titration and pendulation in physical forms.
  • Coherence between different body systems.
  • Touching the chemistry of traumatic stress.
  • Treatment plans.
  • Legal, ethical and scope of practice issues.

Trauma Categories Addressed:

  • Global High Intensity Activation (GHIA) and the Threat Response Cycle
  • Complex medical and physical injury, intro to early trauma
  • Early trauma/early shock states
  • Complex trauma structures
  • Syndromes (basic overview)


The Resilience & Self-Regulation foundation module or SE Intermediate I-II or similar.