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Promising Practices: An Overview of Trauma-Informed Therapeutic Support for Survivors of Human Trafficking

This report from Polaris and the Sanar Wellness Institute provides an overview of promising therapeutic support that can be used to enhance individual and group intervention for survivors of all forms of human trafficking. Based on the experiences of serving clients in Polaris’s New Jersey office over the past five years, Polaris has found that certain trauma-informed therapeutic supports helped survivors gain resiliency. These interventions include therapeutic/restorative yoga, expressive arts therapy, and mindfulness and sensory-based practices. 

Clients have expressed lower levels of stress, increased self-regulation, and strengthened life skills after receiving these therapeutic support interventions. Our findings aim to assist social workers, clinicians, mental health counselors, and victims’ service providers in enriching their existing services and increasing trauma-informed supports for survivors of human trafficking.

The Sanar Wellness Institute opened its doors to serve New Jersey in November of 2015 and is co-founded by Kate Keisel and Gabriela Celeiro, formerly with Polaris New Jersey, along with Jenna Pannepacker. The Polaris New Jersey office has transitioned into an independent entity and is now operating as the Sanar Wellness Institute. Sanar will provide transformational healing services for survivors of gender-based violence including human trafficking, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence. Polaris closed its New Jersey office at the end of September of 2015.

Photo credit: Sanar Wellness Institute


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Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.