Moving on From Childhood Trauma: The Remedial Potential of Body-centered Psychotherapy for Children

Engelbrecht, Anna Maria
Torkington, Mariana
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

Within Western approaches to trauma, the physical body has been relatively neglected in comparison to clinical interventions targeting the mind and the brain. Childhood trauma is an event which significantly imprints on the mind, brain, and body, placing the child at increased risk of mental and physical health problems in later life. This dissertation employs thematic analysis to study the use of movement-based therapeutic approaches for treating trauma in children. The primary research question is, “how can movement ameliorate the effects of childhood trauma?” The research revealed four main themes and eight sub-themes which highlighted the ways in which movement as a therapeutic modality can help children communicate, and express their trauma in symbolic and non-verbal ways, and to fundamentally change their relationship to their bodies and their sense of self. The research highlights how childhood trauma imprints on the mind, brain and body of the developing child, and optimal treatment approaches for children and young people are needed that incorporate the non-verbal and somatic legacy of trauma.

Body-centered , Children , Trauma , Movement , Dance , Psychotherapy
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