Year End Greetings from Licia and Bessel

Dear TRF Community,                                                                    November 30, 2021                                                   
We blinked and find ourselves at the end of 2021. We are full of gratitude for this year of collaboration, programming, and productivity, and for all we have been able to accomplish, and we are asking for your continued support.

During this past year, with your help, we have been involved in the following projects:

•     First annual TRF Social Justice Summit. Over 650 people from 38 countries participated. Through the Summit, we raised the funds that provided over $60,000 in need-based scholarships for our Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies program, our Annual International Trauma Conference, and the workshops and seminars we held this year.

•     TRF Tuesdays. Every week we continue to offer complimentary 20-30 minute sessions of experiential somatic grounding and awareness presented by members of the TRF Therapeutic Alliance for our virtual community.

•      Neurofeedback Training. In March of this year, we offered a seminar featuring Sebern Fisher, Ruth Lanius, and Bessel van der Kolk, which marked the start of a dialogue around neurofeedback implementation in practice. In collaboration with Sadar Psychological we provided a 30-hour neurofeedback training on the TRF platform to the first 60 students and provided them with ongoing mentoring and case consultation in a variety of settings, including the Berkshire Health System and various residential settings around the country. We continue to dream the impossible dream that someday, every school in the US will have a Neurofeedback system where kids can be helped to calm down, focus, learn, and develop satisfying friendships. The same would be true for prisons and mental health facilities.

•     32nd Annual Boston International Trauma Conference. The conference was held virtually to over 4,000 participants from 58 different countries, and featured terrific speakers including Karlen Lyons Ruth, Tania Singer, Marty Teicher, and Cathy Malchiodi. Next year’s conference will be held May 17-21, 2022 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, as well as virtually – stay tuned.

•     Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies Program. Our 70 hour, seven-month program has certified over 3,000 professionals over the past 20 years, and has been expanded with a new Case Study Group Supervision Program featuring Bessel van der Kolk and Janina Fisher.


•     Research. The ongoing MAPS MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy Study is helping to open new vistas in psychedelic therapies. Psychedelic therapies are about to revolutionize mental health services, and we are happy to be in the vanguard of this work. We are about to submit the surprising scientific data on the effects of MDMA on self-compassion, self-awareness and self-regulation.

•      The TOUCH Study. TRF started the first project to support studies relevant to dealing with traumatic stress, that are unlikely to be funded by NIMH. The initial project is a multifaceted study to explore the nature and the effect of touch on traumatized individuals in the laboratory of Dr. Ruth Lanius, at Western University in London, Ontario—this study involves state of the art fMRI neuroimaging and brain tracking technology.

•     Play-Based Healing. In October, we offered our first day-long workshop for professionals and others who work with traumatized children. Our presenters included Margaret Blaustein, Lou Bergholz and Dafna Lender. We look to expand this into a multi-day certificate program in 2022.

•     TRF Film Festival. This event highlighted the dedication, humanity, creativity, courage, love, and impact of the work of people providing innovative therapeutic and healing programs in a variety of settings— such as teaching Hawaiian martial arts in a prison; running an alternative high school for kids affected by poverty, addiction, and untenable life circumstances; and yet another on a health center in a small industrial city integrating local customs and rituals in the treatment of Nigerian, Congolese, and Cambodian refugees.

•     Peer Support Networks. We are still actively working to connect and collaborate with peer support networks, among them the Hailan Family Wellbeing Network from China and Indra’s Net in the US.


•      We are currently preparing for our the 33rd Annual Boston Trauma Conference, which will be held from May 17-21, 2022 hopefully as a hybrid event with friends reuniting in person, and as a live-streaming virtual presence. As always, this conference will present cutting edge advancements in the areas of neuroscience, psychedelics, attachment research, innovative treatments including theater, movements, and sensory integration.

•     2nd Annual Social Justice Summit, January 14-16th, 2022 will highlight issues of services for formerly incarcerated men and women, trauma services in school systems working in the extremely adverse conditions that are so common, and addressing issues of accessibility, embodied awareness, inequality and racial justice.

We are very grateful to you, members of the TRF community, for your support and inspiration. We hope you will continue to support our work in the future.

Bessel A. van der Kolk MD, President, Trauma Research Foundation

Licia Sky, CEO, Trauma Research Foundation

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