Reclaiming Your Body Through Trauma Sensitive Yoga


Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is an empirically validated, clinical intervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The TCTSY methodology is based on central components of the hatha style of yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms and movements. Elements of standard hatha yoga are modified to maximize experiences of empowerment and to cultivate a more positive relationship to one's body. Unlike many public yoga classes, TCTSY does not use physical hands-on adjustments to influence a participant's physical form. Rather, TCTSY presents opportunities for participants to be in charge of themselves based on a felt sense of their own body. Although TCTSY employs physical forms and movements, the emphasis is not on the external expression or appearance (i.e. doing it "right"), or receiving the approval of an external authority. Rather, the focus is on the internal experience of the participant.

TCTSY offers the possibility of empowerment and reclaiming one’s body. Not only does the experience of trauma often lead to a disconnection from the body, many high-control religions explicitly teach their followers to intentionally disconnect themselves from their body’s sensations and emotions. Many high-control religions teach followers not just to disconnect from their bodies, but that their bodies are inherently bad, that they need to cover up their bodies in order to prevent others from sinning, that their own pleasure is sinful, that their bodies do not belong to themselves.

While religious trauma, spiritual abuse, and purity culture impact folks across the gender spectrum, individuals socialized as women face a uniquely traumatizing impact within the tenets of purity culture, which teaches that women are responsible for the sexual thoughts, feelings, and actions of men. Women are taught that their bodies are inherently sexual and “stumbling blocks” for men, preventing men from having a “pure” relationship with god. This explicitly teaches those socialized as women that their bodies are bad, which often leads to the experience of dissociation from the body and its feelings.

Group Therapist

Kari Fillian (she/her) is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) who is passionate about working with those who have experienced trauma and are interested in building more wholeness and self-compassion in their lives. She holds a certificate of advanced training in family systems therapy and is currently training in Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga. She uses an eclectic mix of somatic and embodiment techniques, mindfulness/meditation, Internal Family Systems, and narrative therapy approaches.

Kari believes that we are all whole people - body, mind, and spirit - and all of these elements need to be incorporated into the therapy space and the healing journey. Kari specializes in working with individuals who have experienced trauma, and has specific expertise in treating folks with adverse religious experiences (religious trauma/spiritual abuse). She also works with individuals, couples, and families who are looking for a therapy approach that incorporates a variety of aspects of wellness - whether that is yoga, meditation, traditional talk therapy, or time with animals. She believes that all people deserve to take care of themselves, and therapy can be accessed at any stage in the journey of life - whether you are navigating a crisis, want to deepen self-awareness, are experiencing a relational conflict, or want to set goals for the future.

Kari has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including therapeutic and alternative elementary, middle, and high schools; an intensive in-home family therapy program; outpatient trauma clinics; and elder care services. She has also worked as a Registered Yoga Teacher, teaching classes in her local community. She currently has an office in Plymouth, Massachusetts with a beautiful view of the ocean, and she offers both in-person (with the support of Janie, her Emotional Support Dog) and Telehealth sessions.

Kari Fillian

Kari Fillian is a therapist in Plymouth, Massachusetts specializing in chronic illness, spirituality & religion, trauma, Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), mind-body connection, and self-care.

Mondays, May 1 - June 12, 11:30am-12:30pm EST

Massachusetts (Online)