Marty Wolins

Cultivating Capacity

Transforming Touch (for developmental trauma)

Transforming Touch® is an attachment-focused, neuro-physiological method of hands-on healing. Touch is the missing language of Developmental Trauma, and touch can register deep within one's system where words cannot reach. This non-verbal approach complements the psychological approach to healing early trauma.

Transforming Touch is designed to build resilience in the nervous system that has experienced early instability. The basic protocol is designed to down-regulate the physiology of hypervigilance, to offer a repetitive progression of touch by a caring adult presence, and to nurture trust in that caring adult and in oneself. This supports the emergence of a healthy sense of self. The integration portion allows the progress to be installed in the limbic system of the brain, which is an area that can be bypassed during early trauma.

There is an option to add an extra focus that meets mutual goals. Examples are for heartache, a deep longing for connection that has not yet registered as being met, rebuilding boundaries, and evaluation and integration of primitive reflexes. Early trauma may interrupt the integration or primitive reflexes, or they may re-emergence with later stress.

The work can also raise awareness of one’s pattern with transitions, and one’s pattern of coping with overwhelm, and can support new, more regulated and resilient patterning.

Kathy L. Kain and Stephen J. Terrell coauthored a book, Nurturing Resilience: Helping Clients Move Forward from Developmental Trauma--An Integrative Somatic Approach

From their description: Nurturing Resilience draws on fifty years of their combined clinical and teaching experience to provide this clear road map for understanding the complexities of early trauma and its related symptoms. Nurturing Resilience is a practical, integrated approach for therapists working with people (both adults and children) who have been impacted by developmental trauma and attachment difficulties.

Transforming Touch® is Stephen Terrell’s (PsyD) work that he teaches under the name "Transforming the Experienced-Based Brain." Stephen Terrell and Kathy Kain co-teach another modality, and Kain teaches a third modality, all supporting healing from early trauma. To find a world-wide practitioner listing and more about training for these three modalities, please visit

Learn about the link between adverse childhood events and trauma in adulthood, the research behind trauma-informed schools and communities, by visiting the ACEs Connection Network at

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