Dawn Salter

Dawn Salter developed the Gentle Changes somatic and psychosensory approaches to trauma and mental health therapy after years spent in successful practice as a hypnotherapist. She had effective ways of treating trauma, but an interest embodied therapy led the way to developing a gentler and more flexible way of helping clients heal after complex trauma and to support improved mental health and wellbeing.

Beyond Mindfulness is an embodied, inner relational approach to becoming present and better resourced to cope with life.

Why Beyond Mindfulness?

What I have noticed is that whilst embodied approaches can offer the opportunity to be in a gentler, less conflicted, more integrated relationship with ourselves, the way these approaches are delivered, the particular emphasis given, often does not explicitly emphasize the inner-relational dimension. I came to understand that clients who have trauma, particularly complex and developmental trauma, and clients who are neurodivergent, are often least able to engage with a psychotherapeutic or self-help modality without also dissociating parts of themselves, and are often less likely to feel the benefit, even when engaging with the ‘bottom-up’, somatic and embodied approaches which have the potential to offer so much benefit.

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Image shows: a collection of rounded, smooth stones with words written in white. The words visible include breathe, compassion, strength

A Simple Way of Building Safety in Therapy Sessions

During moments of feeling stuck or blocked, an invitation to select a stone can help identify and connect with the inner resource which will bring a welcome shift into the felt sense of the problem. The simple act of choosing and holding a particular word stone, brings a new quality of energy into the inner sense of frustration, confusion, hurt, anger or powerlessness. At other times, at the point of shift in the felt sense, choosing a stone can feel affirming and strengthening of the emerging resourceful state.

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A woman of colour sits with her elbows resting on her knees and her hands clasped obscuring most of her face. Her posture suggests she is contemplative, despondent or even praying

When Healing From Trauma Feels Like Getting Worse

Healing from complex and developmental trauma and in many cases, a lifetime of varying states of structural dissociation, involves a process of embodiment. This sounds great – who wouldn’t want to be more embodied, present and aware? For trauma survivors, one of the effects of becoming embodied means they begin to FEEL more, and that, unfortunately, can mean at times there is increased emotional discomfort, particularly anxiety, which can be distressing, disheartening and hard to bear, but there is hope…

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