Impact | 2016

By Nkem Ndefo
Nkem Ndefo
President and Founder
TRE Los Angeles LLC

When I founded TRE Los Angeles in 2012, I had an expansive vision of a holistic organization that extended beyond a single modality approach to trauma recovery. I wanted to build an inclusive organization guided by sustainability principles and inspired to innovate. I wanted to uphold reflective practices and embodied connection in all that we touch. Over the last four years, our success in implementing this vision has transformed TRE Los Angeles into a sought-after expert resource on resiliency and wellness.

So it is with great excitement that I present our 2016 impact report, which illustrates the depth and breadth of our recent work. This upcoming year holds so much promise as we evolve and grow to answer the urgent needs of our clients, communities, and country. We look forward to meeting you on the journey.

Community Programs

In 2016, TRE Los Angeles introduced Tension Release Exercises to over 300 people via our Introductory Series of classes.

Over the course of 3 weeks, students in each series learned how to develop their own TRE practice at home, giving them access to a healing modality they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Introductory Series students reported reduced agitation, better digestion, increased energy, better sleep, and less pain.

For students who have completed an Introductory Series, we offered a variety of ways to continue and deepen their home TRE practice. We provided 11 intermediate trainings in 2016. Sunday Shake, our popular weekly, donation-based, drop-in class saw steady attendance in its fourth consecutive year of operation.

Our community offerings are expanding in 2017, introducing more topic-specific workshops and Spanish language classes. Check out our upcoming calendar at http://trelosangeles.com/calendar.

What People are Saying

  • I felt comfort in knowing I now have a tool to release the invisible tensions in my body.
    • – Rosann Volmert, MD
  • So much of my pain is fueled by an over-active nervous system. This helps it down-regulate and reset.
    • – Kelly Ballester
  • It’s the first physical release I’ve found for the stress I carry.
    • – Jennifer Kent

Organizational Work

TRE Los Angeles partnered with 28 different organizations in 2016, allowing us to introduce transformative resilience and fundamental healing to over 1200 people through these collaborations. We’ve served healthcare providers, first responders, sales teams, student organizations, educators, and more. When a company or organization hires TRE Los Angeles, they get a personalized plan specifically addressing the needs of their employees and/or participants. In 2016, our programs ranged from lunch-time presentations to various multi-week series hosted onsite and facilitated by certified TRE providers.

In humanitarian response, teams are often confined to small areas due to safety and security concerns and working in high stress and difficult environments. TRE provides a way for team members to decompress and deal with their stress and requires nothing more than a bit of floor space and a small amount of time. We encourage our Global Disaster Response team members to focus on self-care and introduce them to TRE as a part of this initiative.


Miriam Aschkenasy, MD, MPH
  • Deputy Director, Global Disaster Response
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Global Health

We see powerful results on a regular basis, and nothing speaks louder than hard data.

In 2016, we conducted a 10-week program for 44 clinical and administrative staff at a community mental health organization. Due to the demanding nature and context of this work, staff often experience higher than average rates of psychological stress, burnout, and vicarious trauma. So we decided to measure just how staff was doing on these variables before and after the TRE program using two widely used and well-validated research instruments (the Perceived Stress Scale 10 and Professional Quality of Life 5). We added compassion satisfaction to the assessment, because it is widely known to mitigate some of the costs of caregiving.*

What we discovered was a statistically significant increase in compassion satisfaction and decreases in perceived stress, burnout, and vicarious traumatic stress. In addition to these results, we conducted a content analysis of the qualitative program evaluation. We observed the feedback as overwhelmingly positive, with over 80% of participants stating that the skills they acquired through our program were useful both at work and in their personal lives, as well as expressing an intent to continue practicing TRE after the program concluded.

Not only do we train organizations in transformative resilience, which has a direct, positive effect on staff stress levels, but we also evaluate our clients using research grade-analysis. Clients get results and a more thorough understanding of their own employees, their working environment, and their company culture.

Want more numbers? See the results of our research at http://trelosangeles.com/repeat-performances.

*https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/trm-1534765612471144.pdf

  • 23% Stress
  • 9% Burnout
  • 9% Vicarious Trauma

Participant Feedback

  • I am able to concentrate and finish paperwork more quickly than before.
  • I feel less stressed.
  • I have been able to breathe deeply without fear.
  • Less headaches.
  • More in control during difficult situations.
  • I have relatively no back pain.
  • TRE is truly helping me to sustain.

Internship Program

Part of our mission is bringing transformative resilience to those who need it most.

In 2016 we pioneered our internship program, the first of it’s kind globally, and began sending certified TRE providers to organizations that serve Los Angeles’ most under-resourced communities at no cost to these clients.

People coping with violence, homelessness, drug addiction, and illness are often stuck in trauma cycles, and the chaos that swirls around them can be all consuming, preventing sustained progress.  In 2016 TRE Los Angeles partnered with important organizations such as Homeless Healthcare LA, the Program for Torture Victims, Exodus Recovery Center, and the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena.

Through these partnerships our providers have the opportunity to deepen their capacity and expand their skills post-certification while bringing this simple, effective, and self-empowering technique to marginalized populations.

Program for Torture Victims Intern

Chavonne Long

Program for Torture Victims Intern

As a TRE intern at Program for Torture Victims and Exodus Recovery Center, I serve diverse and transient populations, preparing me to bring TRE to people wherever I’m called. Knowledgeable and compassionate, with a heart firmly in public health, the mentoring and support I’ve received is invaluable as I grow as a TRE provider.

Program for Torture Victims Intern

Robin Schoenfeld

Program for Torture Victims Intern

Through learning, or re-learning, self-regulation within TRE, clients at PTV have an opportunity to practice choice over what they experience physically and emotionally. Practicing self-regulation within a structured format like TRE provides practical experience in setting boundaries, a vital part of the healing process.

Professional Training

 In 2016 14 trainees graduated TRE Los Angeles’ Global Certification Training Program.

Marta Gordon-Martinez, MFT intern

2016 TRE Certification Graduate

The TRE Team supported my learning throughout the experiential training and inspired me to bring the gift of TRE to the world in which I work and live. I experienced growth in self awareness, creativity and the ability to accomplish all the wonderful projects in my life with a new sense of purpose. My stress level has decreased and my comfort level has increased.

TRE Los Angeles is an authorized provider of the TRE® Global Certification Training Program. While this program is available in 37 countries, we are unique in our efforts to implement trauma-informed perspectives, including cultural humility, collaboration, transparency, and peer support. We attend to the specific needs and backgrounds of trainees, empowering them to embody the TRE model in a collaborative, supportive, and diverse environment.

We welcome and accommodate people with disabilities. A third of our trainees are people of color. Most trainees are local to the Los Angeles Metro area, though we have participants from all over the US and even abroad. They vary in educational backgrounds, from high school diplomas to doctoral degrees. And trainees come to TRE Los Angeles from careers in mental health, education, health care, government, entertainment, movement-based modalities such as yoga, and more.

Our training program is a rich experiential process that gives graduates the tools to take TRE into the world. The program consists of lectures, guided and independent practice sessions, suggested reading and reflective writing, supervised teaching, and case consultation. Interactive and cooperative learning fosters responsibility, self-awareness, and mastery.

Our Trainees Speak

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Korean
  • Ilocano
  • Hindi
  • Hebrew
  • Portugese
  • Armenian