Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing

Presented by David Treleaven, PhD
Writer, Educator, Trauma Professional & Visiting Scholar at Brown University
Originally broadcast Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
3 pm – 4 pm ET / 12 noon – 1 pm PT
Free and open to all, with a $10 optional, suggested donation

Watch the recording:

Resources mentioned in the webinar:

Anywhere mindfulness is being practiced―including college classrooms―someone in the room is likely to be struggling with trauma: a majority of us will experience a traumatic event in our lifetime, and up to 20% of us will develop posttraumatic stress.

At first glance, this may appear to be an opportunity for healing, since trauma creates stress, and mindfulness is a proven stress-reduction tool. But the reality is not so simple. When practiced without an awareness of trauma, mindfulness practice can exacerbate symptoms of traumatic stress. When 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?

In the July ACMHE Contemplative Education webinar, educator and trauma professional David Treleaven will draw on a decade of research and clinical experience to discuss safe, transformative ways of teaching and practicing mindfulness with an awareness of trauma. David will review of the histories of mindfulness and trauma, including the way modern neuroscience is shaping our understanding of both, and explore case studies and examples illustrating the ways mindfulness can help―or hinder―trauma recovery.

Webinar participants will learn about modifications designed to support survivors’ safety and stability that can be applied to higher education settings. The result is a groundbreaking and practical approach for practicing mindfulness in a safe, transformative way.

About the Presenter

David TreleavemDavid Treleaven, PhD, is a writer, educator, and trauma professional whose work focuses on the intersection of mindfulness, trauma, and social justice. A visiting scholar at Brown University, he received his master’s in counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia and a doctorate in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. This year he’ll be offering workshops on trauma-sensitive mindfulness at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at UMass Medical School, Omega Institute’s Mindfulness and Education Conference, and Mindfulness Montreal in Canada.

About ACMHE Webinars

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind). The ACMHE’s free webinars allow you to view a live presentation online; you can listen to the presenter over your computer speakers, headphones, or VOIP headset, or by dialing in to the audio with your phone. Questions and comments may be submitted to the presenters during the webinar.

If you have any questions, please email

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