Practitioner Course

Somatic Therapies for Clinicians

Somatic approaches to resolving psychological trauma in your patients

Online Course
9 lessons


12 Months OR Subscriber Pass


90 min/lesson
12 Hours total


Dr Paris Williams and Dr Debra Fraser

About this course

There has been a steady movement within the field of trauma therapy over the past few decades towards the increasing recognition that:

  • Psychological trauma (eg. PTSD, acute trauma and developmental trauma) is primarily held within the body and nervous system 
  • Working directly with the body (via sensations, impulses, breath, posture, etc.) is therefore key to resolving entrenched trauma conditions 
  • That a particular attitude of open curiosity to one’s present experience using mindfulness is an extremely helpful component to recovering from these conditions

As therapists and other helping professionals supporting people who grapple with unresolved trauma, we are fortunate that a number of methods have been developed in recent years that incorporate these principles and which have been providing tremendous healing for millions of people around the world.

Among the most well-established of these methods are Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. In this training you will learn and practice an integrative approach to mindful-somatic trauma therapy that draws from the collective wisdom and practice of these and other closely-related methods. In particular, you will:

  • Learn a simple yet powerful universal framework for making sense of extreme emotional and traumatic states, helping you to identify where your clients’ experiences are on the spectrum of autonomic nervous system arousal and therefore, which interventions are likely to be most helpful at any given point in the therapy process
  • Learn a broad map outlining the essential stages of the overarching process of trauma-focused therapy
  • Develop your own capacity as a helping professional to remain present and grounded, safely holding the space for clients to do the difficult work of trauma recovery, while not risking your own dysregulation, vicarious trauma and “burnout”
What you receive:
  • Clear protocol explanations from some of the world's top practitioners
  • Clinical pearls for improved practice results
  • Access to your audio and video recordings via the App Store
  • A downloadable PDF of the presenter’s slides
  • Links to all referenced research papers and useful clinical handouts
  • Access to the community hub where you can get answers to your questions
  • A 30-day money back guarantee

The Program

Lesson 1: A Mind/Body Framework for Understanding and Optimising Wellness


  • A brief history of the mindful-somatic psychotherapies
  • Organicity – the foundation of all living organisms
  • The organismic process – the cycle of need >feelings/emotions >action >need
  • Core beliefs – a mind/body perspective
  • Nourishment barriers – how limiting core beliefs interfere with meeting one’s needs
  • Summary: Wellness in a nutshell


Feelings/Needs “Daisies”
This is a simple practice that will support your clients in (a) having a better understanding of their own feelings/emotions, and (b) connecting their feelings with their needs.

Connecting Behaviours with Needs
This practice supports your clients in (a) understanding that every action we take is an attempt to meet a need, whether or not we are conscious of this; and (b) developing clarity about what particular needs are associated with particular actions/behaviours.

Using the Self Connection Worksheet
This is a very useful and easy-to-use worksheet that connects all the dots – thoughts, feelings/emotions, sensations, needs, actions. We can easily teach our clients to use this worksheet, and then they can use it regularly on their own as an empowering means to:
  • understand the difference between observations and interpretations
  • develop a healthy relationship with their own feelings and internal sensations
  • understand the connection between their feelings and needs
  • understand the connection between their needs and actions/behaviours
  • consider the harms and benefits of their actions (which needs are being met vs. undermined), and consider whether alternative actions may be more effective in meeting their needs

Lesson 2: The Psychophysiology of Trauma (Parts 1 and 2)

THEORY - Part 1: A Useful Mind/Body Map

  • The definition of trauma
  • The Triune Brain model
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Different types of trauma - Acute vs. developmental/relational vs. complex trauma
  • The Polyvagal Theory
  • The influence of the neocortex (i.e., self consciousness) in both cause and resolution of a chronic trauma condition (PTSD)
  • The role of mindfulness in resolving trauma


The Triune Brain – an Experiential Immersion
This is a guided, experiential immersion into the mind/body experience of each of the 3 different information processing systems within the central nervous system – the neocortex or “thinking brain,” the limbic system or “relational/emotional brain,” and the brain stem or “body brain.” The triune brain model, albeit oversimplified, offers us a means to connect subjective experience to objective neurological function, and to recognise these 3 different types of information processing that are always present – thinking, feeling, and sensing/moving.

The Polyvagal Ladder
This is a practice (and worksheet) that will help your clients to (a) develop an understanding of how each of the three states of the autonomic nervous system manifest in their own minds and bodies, and (b) identify which state is predominant in any given moment. This is very useful in both normalising (counter-shaming) their experiences associated with trauma, and in guiding them as to how best to resource themselves.

THEORY - Part 2: The Effects of Chronically Unresolved Trauma on our Wellbeing

The general risks of adverse childhood experiences to one’s wellbeing.
Specific mental health conditions associated with unresolved trauma.
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Chronic depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Somatisation / somatic disorders / functional disorders

Specific physical health conditions associated with unresolved trauma.
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Gastrointestinal disorders disorders
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Neurological disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders

Lesson 3: The Psychophysiology of Trauma (Part 3)


Dr Debra Fraser, Phd in Health Psychology and expert in chronic pain will be exploring the relationship between chronic trauma conditions and chronic pain conditions.


Circular Breathing
This is a simple practice drawing from Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing, that brings together breath and body sensations to support your client in experiencing relief from pain conditions.

Pain Pendulation
This is another method drawing from Peter Levine’s work that uses the principles of mindfulness and sensations of different parts of the body that can provide some relief from chronic pain conditions.

Lesson 4: An Introduction to Mindful-Somatic Trauma Therapy (Parts 1 and 2)

THEORY - Part 1: Key Principles and the Essential Framework of Therapy

The 5 principles of trauma therapy:
  • Nonviolence
  • Mindfulness
  • Organicity
  • Mind/body holism
  • Unity/harmony

The 4 stages of trauma therapy:
  • Establishing therapeutic alliance
  • Resourcing (regulating the autonomic nervous system)
  • Processing (resolving traumatic residue)
  • Integration (translating positive shifts into one’s day-to-day life)

Theory - Part 2: Establishing the Therapeutic Container

Cultivating the “Therapeutic Bubble,” “finding your seat,” establishing mindfulness, and establishing unconditional positive regard for the client.

Whole-being empathy
  • Tracking and contacting the “storyteller” as much as the “story” 
  • Tracking autonomic nervous system arousal levels

Therapist/practitioner self-care, including managing the risk of vicarious trauma and burnout for helping professionals.


Mindfulness Inductions
We will practice inducing clients into several of the most established methods of traditional mindfulness. A video and several handouts accompany this.

Lesson 5: Resourcing


  • Growth-oriented resources vs. survival resources
  • 3 domains for incorporating resources (day-to-day self care, when triggered outside of session, when triggered within the session)
  • Autonomic nervous system regulation
  • Working with the breath
  • Working with the body and sensations
  • Guided imagery
  • Compassion, forgiveness and gratitude
  • Heart Rate Variability and other methods
  • The benefits and risks of using mindfulness as a resource
  • Using the therapist’s caring presence as a resource
  • Using somatic immersion to strengthen the benefits of a resource

Wave Breathing
This is a particularly effective method in supporting clients to move towards a ventral vagus mediated state using the breath. 
Establishing a “Safe Place”
We do a demo of a practice that weaves together guided imagery and mindful somatics to establish a resource that many trauma clients find very helpful.

Resource Installation
This is a method that increases a client’s confidence in using a particular resource when they become distressed.

Lesson 6: Trauma processing Part 1 - Organic Unfolding


  • Establishing dual awareness. Remaining mindfully present while evoking traumatic residue.
  • The importance of body awareness when resolving trauma
  • The dance between resourcing and processing
  • Identifying spontaneous resources that emerge when a person is experiencing distress
  • The window of tolerance
  • Working with strong emotions
  • The Hakomi 4-step method


These are some relatively safe practices that will allow you to “dip your toes” into formal trauma processing work:
3-Step Mindfulness
This is a simple method of using focused mindfulness to work directly with some unpleasant physical sensations in the body, which can be associated with distressing emotions or pain conditions.

Resource Pendulation
This method allows you to support a client in gently dissolving/settling a distressing experience by mindfully shifting their attention back and forth between the distress and a resource.

The Hakomi 4-Step Method (demo)
This is a demonstration of using the most basic trauma processing method shared by several of the most established mindful-somatic therapies. You’ll want to consider how/if you can incorporate this into your own work.

Lesson 7: Trauma Processing Part 2 – Working with Subpersonalities


  • Understanding the role of “parts” (i.e., subpersonalities)
  • Different methods of working with parts


The Meeting Place
This is a guided imagery practice that creates a safe place for a person’s different parts (i.e., subpersonalities) to gather. It’s helpful for supporting clients in getting to know their different parts, and relationships between them, better; and it also offers a means for some mediation work between polarised parts.

Lesson 8: Integration


  • Integrating a positive shift that has occurred during a session
  • Integration between sessions – weaving positive transformations into one’s life
  • Integration towards the completion of the therapy process
  • Exploring one’s personal values
  • Exploring and balancing life domains


The TICES Trigger and Resourcing Worksheet
TICES is a term developed by the founder of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, and stands for Trigger, Image, Cognition, Emotion, Sensations. This is a worksheet that encourages a mindful awareness of one’s triggers, and supports clients in identifying their day-to-day triggers, creating wholesome habit patterns around resourcing themselves when triggered, and identifying which resources are most helpful for particular triggers.

Identifying Valued Needs 
We draw from the Nonviolent Communication lists of needs to identify our most valued needs. This supports us in recognising where we may or may not be living in full integrity with our values.

The Life Domains Worksheet
This worksheet comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and supports clients in exploring 10 different life domains, with the intention to identify those most in need of attention and to generally move towards a more balanced life.

Course Review/Summary and Q&A

A final session to take place providing a review/summary of the entire course and allowing students the opportunity to ask questions from the instructor.

From this course you will

Learn a number of effective yet relatively simple mindful-somatic tools based on these methods that you can begin using right away to:
  • Help your clients develop confidence working with strong feelings and nervous system dysregulation
  • Help your clients develop a sense of groundedness, presence and orientation
  • Help your clients to develop a rich and healthy connection with their own feelings and needs
  • Make the distinction between a beneficial “emotional release” and being “stuck in a trauma response”
  • Work with flashbacks, intrusive memories and nightmares
  • Work with somatisation (unresolved feelings/memories held within the body)

What's in this course

Your Presenters


Dr Paris Williams has worked in California as a Clinical Psychologist working at a residential facility for those challenged by psychosis and other extreme states of consciousness. Also at a major medical hospital providing support for people challenged by serious physical and mental ailments, many of whom were preparing for the great unknown of death. And in a community mental health clinic supporting individuals, couples, and families with a wide variety of issues, including at a treatment center for those challenged with substance dependence and in private practice where he has a particular focus on the recovery from various forms of trauma and its consequences.

He has assisted and led numerous workshops and trainings over the past 10+ years, with particular emphasis on therapy modalities that incorporate mindfulness and somatic (mind/body) approaches to various forms of acute and developmental trauma. He is a Certified Teacher of Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and has extensive experience practicing and teaching a number of other related modalities.


Dr Debra Fraser, is a health psychologist who has significant expertise in both trauma and chronic pain conditions. She has developed pain programs based on the polyvagal theory and general mindful-somatic principles.

Over the last 30 years she has worked in various health and psychology settings, as well as in clinical research positions on projects related to mindfulness, psychiatric diagnosis, sexual abuse, and drug and alcohol issues. 

Dr Fraser trained as a counsellor in community settings and at the same time completed a Masters in Psychology and then a PhD. She has trained many practitioners in the US and Australia in mindbody therapies, conflict management processes, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming).