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Trauma Relevant Experiential Learnings and Practices

with Dr. Swetha Turlapati

- Psychotherapist by Experiential Learning

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The Fundamentals


Masters of Counseling Psychology and a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) with a postgraduate degree. I am a trained and certified practitioner in mindfulness, narrative, and IMAGO (couple therapy) approaches. I’m informed by trauma in my sessions with clients. Other trainings I have engaged in throughout my practice have been queer affirmative counseling practice (QACP) and solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), Community Mental Health.


Therapeutic Relationship


I believe that collaboration and presence are at the core of a therapeutic relationship. I consider it to be an essential part of the healing journey. When stories about culture and systemic oppression become present in my sessions, I lean toward sensitivity and curiosity. Vulnerability, making space for moment-to-moment emotions, and confronting the sneaky system are some key aspects that I hold in the therapy space. My Vitamins Co-learning spaces are what I look forward to in my journey as a therapist. I integrate ideas informed by the above approaches and client stories. To further ground them, I sit with them in my moments of reflection and supervision spaces. On the other hand, I use my learnings and experiences as a patient counselor to see the interactions between physical and mental health. I bring this knowledge to awareness when needed in my sessions with clients. I remind myself of being human enough to face adversities in life, make space for self-help, and ask for and receive help.


Calling Towards Communities


Community mental health has always been an integral part of my work. Community space strengthens and reassures people who come together in a group with similar thoughts and concerns. It's always been meaningful to address problems that are part of the system and share stories and experiences through workshops. In my experience working with groups, some populations have been NGOs, hospitals, schools, colleges, and corporates. Some of the possible topics in group settings were stress management, mental health awareness, women's mental health, mindful living, and addressing some clinical aspects like anxiety, depression, medically unexplained symptoms, etc.


I Wake Up To


Developing a connection to the client's inner world that extends to the mind and body has always brought a sense of calmness to my practice. My constant willingness to learn and grow, along with the ability to perceive emotions in depth, have helped me become more empathetic and genuine. I believe that conversation with oneself and connection to oneself lead to one’s authentic, higher self.


"The world "within" us is our compass; we might want to bring awareness to it as we continue navigating."

Dr. Swetha Turlapati

Dr. Swetha Turlapati

Fern Plant

How are bodies responding to trauma?

Do we only feel unsafe in our bodies after a traumatic incident?


Trauma or incidents we witness leave unpleasant sensations and feelings in our bodies. However, our bodies are responding in ways that also lean towards safety.


This information is specific to conversations with people in therapy and through embodied practices. 

When we touch our trauma-informed bodies, we come across pain, discomfort, unease many other feelings that make us feel isolated and unfamiliar. It brings a lot of helplessness and hopelessness when we notice that “what we resort to as familiar and our go-to” can be heavy to hold on to or difficult to touch. Yet we have seen bodies/stories of people thriving from these spaces. Again these stories that talk to us about safety tell us that our bodies are responding. 


Let’s try it out to see how that is possible.


Take a comfortable position, familiarizing yourself with where you are, in this moment, and things around you that can be anchors to return to.  

Allow your mind to think of a moment that felt unsafe in your body. 

See if you take your hand to this part of your body that felt unsafe. Holding it. 

There can be thoughts, just emotions showing up, let's stay with it. 


Now can you also take a moment in taking your other hand to a place in your body that feels safe to touch?

Feeling the sensation of what also feels safe in my body at this moment. 

Just honoring that presence and making space for both dis-ease and safety. 


Noticing that feeling of being safe in your body and what that might be telling you right now. 


Letting go of your hands and coming back to anchors in the space around you. 


Take a moment to write, drink some water or give the body whatever it might need to feel comforted and relaxed. 


This practice is a way of noticing our bodies respond in both unsafe and safe ways. In a better understanding holding on to pleasant and unpleasant sensations at the same time.


Safety can sometimes be a way to see hope, and hold agency and sense back the courage and power in our bodies. Traumatic incidents can bring in the narrative of weakness, and helplessness but sometimes that is also our body responding to protection. In whichever space we are in towards our healing journey it can be important to see that we are always responding. 

Distancing the narratives that are spoken out loud and moving closer to listening to what our bodies are saying in that very moment helps us closer to ease. 

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