Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Belle Khuu


Social Work


As part of their occupational responsibilities, first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, military medics and disaster relief workers are exposed to critical incidents and traumatic events on a routine basis. The dearth of literature on somatic-based interventions shows promise as a tool for addressing trauma, yet few, if any, studies address trauma among first responders specifically. This qualitative study explores somatic psychotherapy as a treatment of trauma within the first responder community. Participants for the study (n=6) were recruited through snowball sampling and online recruitment. Semi-structured, in-person interviews were completed with six mental health providers who practice somatic, or body-based methods to explore their perspectives on its effects with first responder clients. Thematic analysis was used to code the qualitative data. Results showed that all providers who have engaged first responders in somatic-based interventions saw positive results in treating trauma. This supports previous studies researching somatic therapy as an intervention tool for trauma and implies that further research is needed with greater sample sizes and reliability models to bring broader recognition to this specialization of mental health.

Included in

Social Work Commons