This was the second hybrid trial evening talk, with 14 attendees in the room and 50 attending via Zoom.

Miriam presented her approach, established over many years of practice, for working with traumatised clients. She began the talk with a grounding exercise and went onto explain her rhetoric, including the use of the word ‘people’ rather than client or patient, to minimise the power dynamics and avoidance of pathologising language, such as ‘personality disorder’.

Miriam explained the SOS Model (Self, Other, Situation) a relational, integrative approach which focuses on the balance between self, other and situation, creating ethical presence. She offered several definitions of trauma and that the task of therapy is to establish an internal sense of safety. Miriam offered her critique of Trauma Focus Therapy, which she argued often stays at the policy level and of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) which, she suggested is not being applied as intended by the authors.

Miriam explored how therapists can be informed by neurology and understanding the role of the body is crucial to supporting recovery. She presented Daniel Siegel’s Window of Tolerance Model and how to work at the edge of hyperarousal and at the edge of hypoarousal, to learn what happens somatically before tipping out of the window of tolerance. She suggested that trauma recovery is a series of three stages, namely; Stabilisation, Processing once these conditions are in place and Reintegration, moving on into the future. Miriam highlighted that EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitisation, Reprocessing therapy) and the Sensory Motor models similarly each use a three stage approach.

She ended the talk making reference to self-harming behaviour and how it is important not to pathologise, but support the person to understand the overwhelm does not last and to build resilience.

 Julie May