Trauma-sensitive yoga as an adjunctive mental health treatment for survivors of intimate partner violence: A qualitative examination

Viann N. Nguyen-Feng, Jamie Morrissette, Angela Lewis-Dmello, Hannah Michel, Deena Anders, Chelsea Wagner, Cari Jo Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Yoga is a practice of uniting mind, body, and spirit that has been shown to improve mental health symptoms and is increasingly being used as adjunctive mental health treatment. Less well studied, however, is the impact of incorporating trauma-sensitive yoga into group psychotherapy for at-risk groups, such as survivors of intimate partner violence. Through the examination of care providers' (i.e., yoga instructors, group psychotherapists) viewpoints, the purpose of the present study was to assess, via qualitative interviews, the strengths, benefits, consequences, and challenges of integrating trauma-sensitive yoga into a psychotherapy program in a community setting for female survivors of intimate partner violence. This 12-week program consisted of 90 min of group psychotherapy followed by 30 min to 40 min of yoga taught by a registered yoga instructor. Nine interviews were conducted with 7 care providers following a structured questionnaire format. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and then analyzed thematically. The results indicated that yoga as an adjunct treatment to group psychotherapy for survivors of intimate partner violence may have positive effects for both care providers and clients, exemplified by the identified common themes (e.g., spiritual healing, increased self-confidence, increased mind-body connection). Implementation of such a practice seems to be feasible within community settings with hindrances (e.g., initial client resistance) ultimately being worthwhile for the healing observed in the population served. The care providers reported experiencing more growth than distress in their work. An understanding of this dynamic might allow care providers to focus on these strength areas to increase well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-43
Number of pages17
JournalSpirituality in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Care provider
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Qualitative interviews
  • Trauma-sensitive yoga
  • Yoga

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