The Trauma Resiliency Model: A "Bottom-Up" Intervention for Trauma Psychotherapy

J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. Jan/Feb 2018;24(1):76-84. doi: 10.1177/1078390317745133. Epub 2017 Dec 3.


Background: The Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) is an innovative therapeutic approach for trauma. This "bottom-up" somatic approach comprises nine skills that use sensory awareness for emotion regulation and integration. Body-based therapies may be more effective for trauma than currently used cognitive ('top-down") and exposure therapies.

Objective: The purpose of this article is to present TRM and current literature on the neuroscience of trauma and resiliency, and the rationale for body-based therapy. Two case examples illustrate the practical use of TRM therapy.

Design: The literature on the neuroscience of trauma, resiliency, and somatic approaches in therapy is reviewed.

Results: TRM teaches the biology of trauma responses and the practice of emotion regulation through biologically based skills. Neuroscience theory supports somatic awareness models; however, research on somatic therapies is limited.

Conclusions: Chronic distress from trauma derails the ability to live life resiliently. TRM addresses trauma processing in a gentle and invitational manner and is a novel departure from existing therapies. Despite a paucity of research on body-based therapy, these therapies have strong neurophysiologic underpinnings.

Keywords: PTSD; mindfulness; posttraumatic stress disorder; psychotherapy; resilience; trauma-informed care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / therapy*