Embodied Healing: The Body as the Key to Healing and Building Resilience

By Chelsea Haverly | January 11, 2022

“Our Bodies Contain our Histories- Every Chapter, Line, and Verse of Every Event and Relationship…” ~Caroline Myss~

Like any other year, 2022 promises a sea of uncertainty and unlimited unknowns. Perhaps this promise of uncertainty is different now, almost two years into a worldwide pandemic. With this unknown also comes possibility and hope. There is something special and notable to consider in how we continue to navigate everything that we experience. The collective trauma, layered in systemic and historical experiences, yielding tired and weary bodies. Our bodies, like our minds, are overloaded and experiencing trauma repeatedly. We feel a collective “what’s next?” This experience does not impact each person or group in the same way. This feeling can be described as “mobilization” or “preparation” where we begin playing out worst case scenarios to feel prepared to handle each next thing, even though it hasn’t happened yet. It is also described as “normal” for some that have not ever experienced a settling, but rather continue forward with survival in mind. It’s the feeling of being on guard, looking around you for danger, constantly having to pivot and juggle changes each day and wondering if you will possibly have enough energy to get through the week at times. We layer these feelings with PRESSURE to set new goals in the new year and become “better” versions of ourselves. 

Let me just pause you here…Breathe…What does your body feel like right now, in this moment?

Pausing, checking in, taking a breath, can actually feel uncomfortable to people who are used to “go mode” to keep all the balls in the air. Taking time to care for yourself may actually feel impossible and just another thing to add to your list. Going to therapy may not feel accessible or right for everyone. (I do find it can be quite beneficial for most, but I’m a therapist and may be considered biased.) Some people feel healing is not “talking”, but rather “doing” something. Healing DOES look different for everyone. Healing is not a one size fits all experience.

Whatever healing looks like for you, you are worthy of a pause. You are worthy of care.  

Our bodies filter our experiences. Our bodies are often ignored as an integral part of the healing process. Talking and processing is incredibly helpful with an empathetic and qualified provider. Although, talking may only get you so far, you may feel stuck in traditional talk therapy. This may be because your body needs attending to as well. You may need support helping not just your mind work it out, but your body too. 

What is Embodied Healing? 

It is the practice of welcoming the unique sensations of our body as a healing tool. It is allowing space for increased awareness, staying present, self-regulation, feeling connected, finding balance, and cultivating knowledge of self, love for self, and feeling empowered to honor your body as part of the healing journey. {@the.embodiedtherapist}

This type of healing can be done with a therapist in collaboration with acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, trauma-informed personal training, energy work, chiropractic care, yoga-based movement, massage therapy, equine-assisted therapy, nature-based therapy and other integrative body practices. The goal of embodied healing is to support the body and mind in connecting to heal and support enhanced coping, thus ultimately creating a stronger, overall being, that can weather the inevitable storms of life. 

Anchored Hope Therapy with Hope Ignited Training continues to identify trauma-informed referral sources and directly train providers to continue supporting community healing of the whole person. We only work with providers that will collaborate with us to support collective/community based healing. One of our 2022 initiatives, is to continue training and developing our network of Trauma-Informed Personal Trainers who can support embodied movement programming for our clients interested in cultivating safe and effective body connection. Trauma directly impacts your ability to stay connected, safe, and grounded in your body. Remaining safely connected to your body, in the face of trauma, is resilience.

What Is Trauma-Informed Personal Training?

Trauma-Informed Personal Training (TIPT) honors someone’s life experience, including how their body has survived and moved through those experiences. TIPT works to support and cultivate safe and tailored fitness programming for overall health through nervous system co-regulation between trainer and client. Through embodied movement practices and interventions, healing can happen for clients impacted by trauma. TIPTs, trained by Hope Ignited Training, each acknowledge that system harm has been and continues to be perpetuated by traditional fitness institutions. TIPTs support body-inclusive programming and embrace a Health at Every Size approach to healing through movement. 

Why Is TI-PT a Helpful Tool for Healing- From Our Trainers…

“I’ve always lived in two relatively separate worlds: the world of mental health/therapy, and the world of fitness. In my role as a Personal Trainer I began to see that it wasn’t always realistic, possible, or helpful to reinforce this compartmentalized and fragmented approach by way of keeping my two fields separate. My clients were showing up to their appointments needing more than a traditional Personal Training session.

In reality for most humans, it’s impossible to “leave it all at the door” when you arrive to a workout. We hold everything, all of our experiences, traumas, losses, and stressors in our bodies. So wouldn’t it make sense that somatic movement practices, like strength training, yoga, boxing, and running could do so much more for our bodies than what we’ve previously been taught? 

Societally, we’ve been so programmed to view exercise and movement as punishment or a means to change physical appearance. Movement can be a deeply personal and an embodied practice centered around creating safety within the body, advocating for the body’s needs, and releasing tension. Part of my work as a Trauma-Informed Personal Trainer is helping my clients reclaim movement as a pathway to healing trauma, regulating the nervous system, and reconnecting with the body. 

In a world that puts such strict constraints around what we “should” and “should not” do when it comes to exercise and movement, using movement for healing and self-connection is a radical act of self-love.” 

Emily Young LCSW-C, NSCA-CPT Therapist/Trauma-Informed Personal Trainer

IG: @theembodiedtrainer

“My role as a Trauma Informed Personal Trainer  is to take a stance of openness, curiosity, and compassion as we collaborate on your relationship with movement and your body. The existing gym and fitness culture celebrates “leaving it all on the mat”, “no pain no gain”, and “hustle hard” every time you enter into movement. This can be a frustrating and harmful space when the appearance of hard work or the worth of cosmetic differences is prioritized over being connected to your body and feeling safe during movement and exercise. 

Movement can be a fantastic tool in healing trauma when you approach it in a way that honors and works with your nervous system to foster a sense of safety, connection, and strength within your body. Building these sensations within your body carries over outside of a movement session as you bring your body with you into the world, which is why a trauma informed approach to training can be effective in supporting healing from trauma. 

 You are the expert of the experience of your body. You have a choice in what your experience of movement and fitness feels like. I am here to support and celebrate you as an entire human as we work together to develop a movement practice that prioritizes your individual experience during movement, even moment to moment, and creates a path to healing and strength within yourself.” 

Alyssa Elbridge, Trauma-Informed Personal Trainer

IG: @alyssa.elbridge


If you are a Personal Trainer and are interested in adding yourself to our directory of trained Trauma-Informed Personal Trainers, We have our 2022 calendar of training posted on the Hope Ignited Training Website. We are seeing an increase in requests for skilled and trauma-informed providers. Take your Personal Training Career to the Next Level!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you offer payment plans/sliding scale

Yes! In an effort to support access to this training we are offering this training using scaled pricing and two-payment options. 

Rebalancing Access Pricing

For those with more than enough financial resources and a desire to support access for others to help rebalance systemic inequity.

$1200 One Time Payment

$600 Two Payments

Fair Access Pricing

For those with sufficient financial resources and who can pay fair value for their experience. 

$1050 One Time Payment

$525 Two Payments

Supported Access Pricing 

For those with currently limited financial resources who will benefit from access supplemented by the community.

$900 One Time Payment

$450 Two Payments

(Adapted from the Somatic Experiencing Institute via expertise from Reverend angel Kyodo Williams)

Q: Do you offer CEUs?

Yes, this course is an approved provider through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and qualifies for 1.6 CEUs for all three levels. Participants will receive a certificate of completion after all three levels are complete.

Q: Do you offer group/organizational rates?

Special rates are available for organizations with 10 or more participants. Please email for more information on pricing.

Q: Will there be breaks/opportunities to move around during the virtual training?

In recognizing that Personal Trainers are very seldom seated for long periods of time, this course has been designed to include several breaks and opportunities to move throughout each day. Given that participants will be learning how to implement a Trauma-Informed Program, there will also be designated time for hands-on learning. Additionally, we teach and practice listening to the body’s needs and openly welcome movement breaks even when not instructed.

Q: Do you offer recordings of this training?

We do not offer recordings of this training. Trauma-Informed Personal Training is an emerging and constantly evolving field. We are consistently updating our content based on current research and lived experiences.

Q: What is your refund policy?

Requests for cancellation three weeks prior to the certification will be granted a full refund. Refunds will not be issued after the three week cutoff leading up to a training. We recognize that life is often unpredictable and welcome the opportunity to defer participation to a later date at no cost.

Q: Can I attend even if I’m not a Personal Trainer?

This training has been designed specifically for personal trainers and we require all participants to be pre-certified as a Personal Trainer or currently working toward becoming certified before taking this course.

About The Author

Chelsea Haverly

Chelsea is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) and the Co-founder of Anchored Hope Therapy, LLC. She is a Maryland Board Certified Supervisor for Social Workers and Professional Counselors. Chelsea believes that a strong therapeutic alliance can be supportive and helpful in the healing process and that everyone is able to make changes in life.