The Politics of Trauma: Somatics, Healing, and Social Justice (Paperback)
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An essential tool for healers, therapists, activists, and trauma survivors who are interested in a justice-centered approach to somatic transformation
The Politics of Trauma offers somatics with a social analysis. This book is for therapists and social activists who understand that trauma healing is not just for individuals—and that social change is not just for movement builders. Just as health practitioners need to consider the societal factors underlying trauma, so too must activists understand the physical and mental impacts of trauma on their own lives and the lives of the communities with whom they organize. Trauma healing and social change are, at their best, interdependent.
Somatics has proven to be particularly effective in addressing trauma, but in practice it typically focuses solely on the individual, failing to integrate the social conditions that create trauma in the first place. Staci K. Haines, somatic innovator and cofounder of generative somatics, invites readers to look beyond individual experiences of body and mind to examine the social, political, and economic roots of trauma—including racism, environmental degradation, sexism, and poverty. Haines helps readers identify, understand, and address these sources of trauma to help us bridge individual healing with social transformation.
About the Author
STACI K. HAINES is the founder of generative somatics, a multiracial social justice organization bringing somatics to social and environmental justice leaders, organizations, and alliances. Staci is a senior teacher in the field of Somatics; she design and leads programs in Somatics and trauma, embodied leadership, and Somatics in organizations, as well as leading teacher training programs. She has a somatic coaching practice that primarily serves social movement leaders and trauma and violence survivors and has been working and teaching in the field of Somatics since 1997.
Haines is also the founder of generationFIVE, a social justice organization whose mission is to end the sexual abuse of children within 5 generations through survivor leadership, community organizing, transformative justice approaches and movement building. Additionally she is the author of Healing Sex: A Mind Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma (Cleis 1999, 2007), a how-to book offering a Somatic approach to recovery from sexual trauma and developing healthy sexual and intimate relationships. Healing Sex has been nationally recognized and translated into German, Japanese and Spanish.
“Somatics is a freedom-inducing framework. The central idea is that the natural living body—with its sensations, memories and emotions, triggers and pleasures—is a complex system that carries our whole lives, including trauma and healing, boundaries and risks, patterns and transformation. Staci Haines is a central teacher weaving the somatics lineage with social justice and with being in the body in community, increasing the possibility that we can be in collective bodies of justice. This book maps the cycles of healing that shift us from being victims of systemic injustice to being shapers of constant change and liberatory systems.”
—adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism
“If I’ve discovered anything in several decades of social-justice work, it’s that the body never lies. If we can embrace her, change can happen. Grounding in my body, not just in my words, has turned out to be a critical source of humility and courage, preconditions for any significant change. The ideas and tools in The Politics of Trauma allow us to listen to our bodies, and then make choices about what we do rather than constantly reacting to what we think are external pressures. A must-read for anyone trying to lead anything.”
—Rinku Sen, activist and author of Stir It Up
“The Politics of Trauma is an essential read for every ‘woke’ person responding to this moment in history’s calling. Movement leaders know firsthand the level of trauma we have experienced in our personal lives, our families, communities, and across generations; and we often carry out our work at great personal expense. Haines brings a political clarity desperately needed and reminds us that we must courageously embark on our own healing journey, grounded in racial, economic, and gender justice. Only then will we be able to live whole, vibrant, resilient lives and bring about the transformational change we seek in society.”
—Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center
“The Politics of Trauma is a bold and important response to a long-existing split between those who work on individual change and those working to change the institutions of society. The profound gift of Staci’s book is that rather than diagnosing what doesn’t work, it offers us a remedy: Somatics—a body-centered approach to transformation that fully integrates the healing of individuals with the creating of a more just and equitable society.”
—Robert Gass, EdD, co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Social Transformation Project