Therapy Techniques Beyond the Chair

By Adrianne Simeone, Founder The Mama Bear Effect 
When people think about therapy they often picture a quiet room with a chair and the expectation to open up and talk. Some survivors may even avoid or delay therapy because the idea of talking and sharing their past is enough to induce an anxiety-driven panic attack. But there are so many other methods of therapy that can complement or replace traditional therapy methods. Healing from abuse is not just about mental healing – but also physical – the need to feel in control of one’s body and comfortable connecting with others (not necessarily other humans, either).

Here are some therapy techniques that you may or may not have heard of that may be of benefit to you, or someone you love.


The human body has the power to heal itself – but it’s not going to happen on it’s own. The after effects of trauma are often felt in the body – and yoga can help the body work through it.

Check out
Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga by David Emerson
Why Talk Therapy Doesn’t Heal Rape Trauma by Cissy White
The Breathe Network


From this article on Psychology Today:

In the book Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions,psychologist James Pennebaker wrote about the multiple research studies he has done on the transformative power of writing.
He discovered that people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences felt happier and less anxious. Through the studies, Pennebaker found that those who made meaning out of their difficulty or gained insight from writing were healthier than those who simply wrote about the details of their day.

Check out:
Heal Write Now
Writing to Heal by James Pennebaker

Animal Therapy 

Animals don’t judge, don’t need you to talk (and if you do – you won’t hear anything negative), and have proven to reduce stress, boost mood, and help build confidence.

Dogs and horses are used for many therapy purposes and trauma is no exception.

Check out:
This Rutgers University Presentation on Animal Assisted Therapy for Trauma Survivors
Peaceful Hearts Ranch 
Shea Phinny MFT


The Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping, is similar to acupuncture, but without needles. It involves the use of one’s own finger tips tapping various points on the body.

Check out:
This Wiki-How step by step instructional page
These videos by Anne Wiesman of Follow Your Song 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

We had never heard of this form of therapy, until the parent of a child survivor of abuse told us how it has helped her daughter work through her PTSD.


” the therapist leads a patient in a series of lateral eye movements while the patient simultaneously focuses on various aspects of a disturbing memory.  The left – right eye movements in EMDR are a form of “bilateral stimulation.” Other forms of bilateral stimulation used by EMDR therapists include alternating bilateral sound using headphones and alternating tactile simulation using a handheld device that vibrates or taps to the back of the patient’s hands.”

Check out:

Let us know – is there a form of therapy that has benefited your healing process? If not yoga – maybe running, weight training, or dance? If not writing – perhaps painting, woodworking, or cooking? If it promotes expression, builds confidence, and fosters self-appreciation and love – it’s probably good for your healing process. If you haven’t found a therapy that hasn’t worked for you – it doesn’t mean you’re ‘unfixable’ – you just have to find what is right for you.

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