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Publisher's Summary

From elementary schools to psychotherapy offices, mindfulness meditation is an increasingly mainstream practice. At the same time, trauma remains a fact of life: The majority of us will experience a traumatic event in our lifetime, and up to 20 percent of us will develop post-traumatic stress. This means that anywhere mindfulness is being practiced, someone in the room is likely to be struggling with trauma. At first glance, this appears to be a good thing: Trauma creates stress, and mindfulness is a proven tool for reducing it. But the reality is not so simple.

Drawing on a decade of research and clinical experience, psychotherapist and educator David Treleaven shows that mindfulness meditation - practiced without an awareness of trauma - can exacerbate symptoms of traumatic stress. Instructed to pay close, sustained attention to their inner world, survivors can experience flashbacks, dissociation, and even retraumatization. This raises a crucial question for mindfulness teachers, trauma professionals, and survivors everywhere: How can we minimize the potential dangers of mindfulness for survivors while leveraging its powerful benefits?

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness offers answers to this question. Part I provides an insightful and concise review of the histories of mindfulness and trauma, including the way modern neuroscience is shaping our understanding of both. Through grounded scholarship and wide-ranging case examples, Treleaven illustrates the ways mindfulness can help - or hinder - trauma recovery.

Part II distills these insights into five key principles for trauma-sensitive mindfulness. Covering the role of attention, arousal, relationship, dissociation, and social context within trauma-informed practice, Treleaven offers 36 specific modifications designed to support survivors' safety and stability. The result is a groundbreaking and practical approach that empowers those looking to practice mindfulness in a safe, transformative way.

©2018 David A. Treleaven (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness

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Trauma, Mindfulness, and Culture

I have listened to many books on trauma and many more on mindfulness and read many to increase my cultural lens - this is the best summary of all those and a very helpful specific exploration to ensure mindfulness practices are tuned in to humans that have experienced trauma. Avoid inadvertently shaming survivors, and help them embrace mindfulness to rewire their brains with this wonderful, well read guide.

7 people found this helpful

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For Mindful Practitioners Only

This isn’t a book for trauma survivors; but to show how to make a mindfulness business more trauma-sensitive.

25 people found this helpful

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Clear, timely, accessible, practical.

This book is a necessary read for all teachers and practioners of mondfulness prsctices. its a real gift.

2 people found this helpful

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Relevant! Relevant! Relevant!

For those who recognize that the perpetuation of humanities systemic trauma and abuse is probably not going to go away by itself. For those who want to become actively involved in seeing humanity live together in a peaceful, expansive joyous way. Not just cartoon fantasy but actually doing the honest work of allowing that potential to bloom in our lifetime. For those who are not afraid to wake up to what’s really happening inside themselves and around themselves. For those who are more interested in truth then disassociated fantasy. for those who just want the tools to create a safe space for their clients to engage in a mindfulness meditation practice. This book is for you! (This book was most definitely for me. Five stars all around!)

6 people found this helpful

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✊🏼

This is what we need in colonized mental health. Advocates. Thank you to the authors for this body of work.

1 person found this helpful

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interesting subject and knowledgeable author

topic was interesting and the author was knowledgeable in how trauma effects those impacted by conditions such as Post-traumatic stress disorder.

1 person found this helpful

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Unnecessarily Political and Off-putting

I am a trauma survivor diagnosed with complex PTSD. I have been in trauma resolution therapy for nearly 5 years and am well versed in this topic. But I couldn't get past the framing of trauma through the author's political lens. I wanted factual, practical help in how to incorporate mindfulness in my overall treatment regimen. What I got was identity politics and the contextualization of heinous violations of the human person's dignity as symptoms of systemic racism, sexism, and classism. If I want preaching, I'll go to church.

11 people found this helpful

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Excellent piece of the puzzle hyperarousal ptsd

I did not know what I was experiencing was hyper arousal PTSD. Because I have such sleep issues I turned on the book and kind of was said and I'll sleep a little bit listen so it was amazing to hear. I don't have irritability or anger but I had such severe PTSD in a hyperacute type State I couldn't eat Watch Netflix I felt like I couldn't move my body. October 1, 2012 I was a victim of a violent attack at the doctors no rest because NYPD discriminated against me retaliated unlawful retaliation because I'm a whistleblower and a critic so they broke even more laws and I was violently threatened with false arrest which I agreed to two times the detective moved it to Saturday 4 PM he made it clear I was to be arrested if I did not drop charges so he was committing a crimebut Friday I had emergency surgery On my roof right now because the empties reception service manager attacked me to the running punch to my head as I held my bags it's a horror story of an unethical doctor and his violent employee and his friends and the police department equally unethical and a city that is protected all crimes in New York State it's OK to violate my patient right so something really set me off and I thank goodness for this book because when I heard what I was suffering I felt somehow liberating it's an excellent book

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A must-read

This is a comprehensive book and addresses trauma from different perspectives. I highly recommend it as a must-read for all mindfulness-based therapists and teachers, as well as those who are interested in understanding social justice, privilege, and so much more.

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A great introduction to trauma-sensitive mindfulness

After many months of pushing a close friend of mine (who has a history of trauma) towards mindfulness meditation, I was feeling frustrated that I still hadn’t sold the practice to them. Recently, we had one of these conversations about mindfulness and their hesitancy to engage in a meditation practice. That conversation helped me realize that I badly needed a book that would give me some context for their experience and help me support them better and refrain from pushing them. When I searched for “mindfulness” and “trauma,” I had no idea that I would find such an excellent match for my search. I am so grateful for this introduction to trauma-informed practice; it has helped me relate much better to those around me, operating with a greater awareness of trauma and the needs of those who have experienced it. Please, read this book!

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  • John
  • 04-23-20

So important I’m going to re-read parts

Not only does this book touch a nerve the ideas around social norms and experiencing discrimination are hard to deal with because they are true- like a stone in our shoe. When we experience this stone can we welcome it, allowing the unexpected guest to teach us something? How do we experience this thought in our own body - where do we feel it? Can we turn towards the place of discomfort with mindful compassion breathing in and out that part of our body and noticing what happens? Maybe we’re experiencing less than 1/1000th the pain someone dealing every day with this discrimination is experiencing. What does this show us about our own therapeutic window? Can we use this insight to help us relate better to someone who is going through trauma reliving it day in day out?We begin to see just being mindfully with the pain - the first arrow - can be too much because the pain is so great. It’s the skilful teaching about how to bring compassionate wisdom to that: so important. Long meditations for trauma victims can be too much. This book raised an important question and begins to show a way through. There are other mindfulness audiobooks notably Tara Brach’s work with RAIN meditation in Radical Self Acceptance that are also helpful.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth M
  • 09-04-21

A must-read for all Practitioners!

The book went far beyond expectations and made the case for being aware that trauma may be present among many of our pupils and this consideration should be at the forefront of any Mindfulness teacher.

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  • chimene
  • 10-09-18

Trauma revisited for the 21st century

Certainly one of the most intelligent books on trauma I have read to date. The particular emphasis on how the blythe use of mindfulness can be inappropriate and damaging in the hands of inexperienced therapists.

2 people found this helpful