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TSM (Therapeutic Spiral Model) Trauma Therapy Core Workshops

What is TSM?

The Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) is a form of clinically-modified psychodrama used for the safe and effective treatment of trauma. Since the inception of TSM in 1992, thousands of people around the world have benefited from its application. TSM addresses trauma resulting from physical/emotional abuse, childhood sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault, ethnic conflict, torture and other forms of political violence. TSM is based on the premise that survivors of trauma need to be adequately resourced with a set of roles that can be internalized for greater awareness, resilience, and post-traumatic growth. Only when this is accomplished can survivors fully explore, understand, and release themselves from the debilitating impact of traumatic events. read more ->

This is an acknowledged and research-supported method of using clinically modified psychodrama and experiential psychotherapy to treat trauma with individuals, groups, and communities who present with symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, or depression.  It has also been applied to addictions and eating disorders, as well as to uses in education, theater, community building, business, and law. 

TSI offers a comprehensive training program in TSM psychodrama to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its aftermath that when completed fulfill the TSI requirements for International Certification in Trauma Therapy.  This training is for mental health care professionals, educators, community organizers, business persons, lawyers, or volunteers who wish to learn or improve their skills in working with people who are highly stressed or suffer from PTSD.

Spontaneity and creativity are the curative agents of change when using psychodramatic methods and TSM to treat trauma (Hudgins & Toscani, 2013). Spontaneity, from a psychodrama view, is the ability to change a repetitive behavioral reaction to an old situation or adapt an appropriate behavior to a new situation. Using this definition of spontaneity, then, means that different interventions are therapeutically indicated with different clients and symptoms. This emphasis on spontaneity and creativity as the change agent is an ideal antidote for trauma survivors who are often depleted physically and emotionally and constricted in their behavioral repertoire. Thus, TSM guarantees resilience and prevents retraumatization with experiential methods.

Because of the use of demonstrations, supervised technique practice, and full TSM Psychodramas, skills are developed quickly and effectively. In addition, all participants have the opportunity to focus on their personal issues and to assist with others’ healing.  Often people start with attendance at a personal growth workshop for professionals to experience TSM for themselves and to meet the requirement for a personal experience in addition to the training requirements.

All courses will have handouts and supplemental readings. Since this is an experiential method, the majority of the learning is in action with demonstrations, live supervision, protagonist-centered psychodramas, sociodrama, and Playback Theatre.


Each workshop can also be used as stand-alone workshop that produce immediately useful TSM clinical action interventions.

Participants can earn a Completion of Theory Requirements for TSI Certification simply by attending all 7 courses.  

There is no specific time limit in which to complete these courses. 

All workshops will be in English, no translation. 

For more information or questions, please write to


We now know that people who have experienced traumatic events have significant changes in the neurobiology of their brain. The right brain, which holds emotions, relationship information, unprocessed trauma in the form of flashbacks, body memories, intrusive thoughts, and dissociated feelings, is always turned on by an overactive amygdala. Meanwhile, the left brain’s coherent function, which provides meaning and helps people stay in the here and now, is interrupted by stress hormones as the result of the danger signals from the hypothalamus. Most recently, research has shown that much more of the brain develops through interpersonal interaction showing changes in the brain in the poly-vagal nerve, and in other deeper brain structures than were previously thought to exist.

This course specifically teaches the Neurobiology of PTSD in Action. We examine many simulated as well as real situations, with participants bringing their own and clients’ stories to the group. Using the Brain in Action, a unique TSM way of demonstrating the neurobiological changes in the brain, allows people a visual learning tool that helps translate the often-difficult language of interpersonal neurobiology into a simple action structure.

This workshop also teaches specific TSM interventions to address the very primal defenses against trauma, including the Body Double (BD) created by TSI Trainer, Linda Ciotola, M.Ed, TEP (Burden & Ciotola, 2002).  The BD is a role that attunes the client to their own bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings in order to provide self-regulation, self-soothing, and narrative labeling.  The BD was developed to decrease dissociation and help people experience their body in a healthy way, even during a flashback or body memory, and helps calm and soothe them.

Participants Learn:

  • The most recent research on the brain and attachment as affected by trauma.
  • Why experiential treatment is the treatment of choice for trauma and other stress related disorders, including addictions and eating disorders.
  • The structures and processes of both the healthy and traumatized brain shown through the Brain in Action.
  • The TSM Body Double clinical action intervention module.
  • Applied applications in the setting of choice.
Price: – 250€


To register please fill out this link –

During this Level 1 TSI course, we present the overall template or protocol for conducting TSM psychodrama and all experiential therapy methods safely, regardless of the problem a trauma survivor presents.  The Trauma Survivor’s Internal Role Atom (TSIRA) in presented in its fullness. It teaches how TSM’s internal roles, especially the prescriptive roles of the TSIRA, can be adapted to help with residual trauma through containment and accurate labeling. Participants learn to balance thinking and feeling so that old, unprocessed memories can be held safely in the present, and reexamined from the here-and-now perspective to find new solutions for old repetitive trauma patterns.

This workshop also teaches a core TSM action intervention called the Containing Double (CD) (Toscani & Hudgins, 1993), which helps clients with trauma balance the thinking and feeling parts of their brain. This enables them to stay in the present and make new, spontaneous and creative actions. Demonstration and supervised practice of the CD shows how to make the container bigger, as well as smaller, for obsessive thoughts, defenses, and deep feelings. The CD becomes a bridge from defenses to being present in the here-and-now and is the most used TSM intervention worldwide (Hudgins & Toscani, 2013).

Participants learn:

  • What containment is and why it is needed with experiential methods of change.
  • The 3 stages of TSM protocol from the clinically-based TSIRA: Prescriptive, Trauma-based, and Transformative Roles.
  • The specific TSM clinical action intervention of the Containing Double (CD) to provide balance of thinking and feeling at all times.
  • Safe expression of deep feelings of grief, rage, despair, and terror for developmental repair.
  • Accurate labeling of thoughts and feelings to guide integrated action that changes old trauma patterns.
Price: – 250€

To register please fill out this link –

In this workshop, we focus on the defenses people use at the time of trauma to protect themselves to ensure survival, which then become part of the trauma-survivor’s role repertoire into adulthood. Categories of defenses include: Survival, obsessions, compulsions, addictions and eating disorders, as well as those that are simply maladaptive, but deeply rooted. While they worked initially, we see how they can become pathological when they are no longer needed and do not support growth—i.e., true spontaneity and creativity.

The TSM clinical action intervention of the Manger of Defenses (MD) is taught as a two-part structure in which any defense can be concretized through enactment or with the use of objects to represent it.  When the MD is established it determines when and if a defense is needed, thus ensuring that old defenses can evolve into healthy psychological protection in the here and now.

Participants learn:

  • An overview of defense mechanisms that develop following trauma: Survival, obsessions, compulsions, addictions and eating disorders, as well as maladaptive coping skills.
  • The TSM clinical action intervention of the MD and how to use it in clinical situations and adapt its use to other settings.
  • To identify their personal defenses that are used most frequently and how to transform them into higher order coping skills.
Price: – 250€

To register please fill out this link –

In this workshop, we begin to focus on the trauma-based roles of the TSIRA by learning TSM’s Trauma Triangle—a configuration that clarifies the destructive cycle of Victim, Perpetrator, and Abandoning Authority. In addictions treatment, Karpman’s Triangle is well-known with the interpersonal roles of Victim, Perpetrator and Rescuer. Through years of clinical experience, we’ve redefined this triangle to represent the internalized experience of the trauma survivor. Using role theory, TSM’s Trauma Triangle incorporates the trauma-based roles of Victim, Perpetrator and Abandoning Authority, this last which is internalized when there is no rescuer available in the interpersonal world. The unique TSM role of the Abandoning Authority helps describes how trauma survivors learn to abandon themselves to dissociation, self-harm, addictions, eating disorders, and lack of self-care. 

The Trauma Triangle represents a closed circuit of energy embedded in the personality structure of those who have survived cruelty or trauma, repeating itself as life-long patterns of abuse and neglect. Through personal dramas, this training provides tools to transform the trauma-based roles, empowering transformation from self-neglect to self-care, and instilling healthy problem-solving into daily life. The transformative role of Appropriate Authority is taught as the antidote to the TSM Trauma Triangle using action demonstrations and full psychodramas.

Assessment and enactment of the TSM Trauma Triangle is taught as a pen and paper tool, in action by walking the triangle, using sociodrama, or individual psychodramas.

Participants learn:

  • The TSM Trauma Triangle and its many uses in education, therapy, and organizations.
  • Assessment methods of the TSM trauma-based roles of victim, perpetrator, and abandoning authority.
  • To integrate TSM’s prescriptive roles to enact and transform the trauma-based roles safely without re-traumatization.
  • To identify a personal pattern on the Trauma Triangle.
  • To transform the identified pattern and build the role of appropriate authority that can stop the repetitious internalized pattern of trauma.

Friday – Sunday, September 18-20, 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia

Facilitated by Mario Cossa, RDT/MT, TEP and an Action Trauma Team

For many, the term “Cultural Identity” is equated with ethnicity and ancestry alone, when in fact our Cultural Identity is influenced by all the various and sundry elements of our personal history. Whether you were an only child or one of many; whether you are part of a parenting pair, a single parent or step parent; your educational background; your experience as a target of racism and/or marginalization; your age; your gender; your sexual orientation; whether you identify in binary terms; etc. all contribute to the identity that makes you uniquely you, with commonalities and differences from other with whom you interact.

This personal growth workshop uses the Therapeutic Spiral Model™ to explore the ways in which our cultural identities can provide both blessings and baggage that support or hinder our life journeys. By using the methodology of TSM Psychodrama, we can embrace the strengths and abilities that are part of our heritage and release old messages that hold us back. Join in the co-creation of a confidential and safe container for this vital exploration. Learn how to have a more positive relationship with yourself and others.

For more info and registration, please contact Vedran Korusic:

Mario Cossa, RDT/MT, TEP is a Registered Drama Therapist/Master Teacher; Trainer, Educator, and
Practitioner in Psychodrama; Certified Trainer in the Therapeutic Spiral Model; and Director of Training
for Therapeutic Spiral International. Mario was the 2019 recipient of the American Society for Group
Psychotherapy and Psychodrama’s Innovator’s Award and has offered classes and workshops around
the globe.

Overall Participants Learn

  • Why experiential therapy is the best treatment for PTSD, according to the most recent neurobiological studies.
  • Basic psychodrama skills of doubling, mirroring, soliloquy, role taking, role playing, and role reversal
  • The clinical modification of these basic psychodrama skills to work with trauma in a contained action structure
  • The structure of any psychodrama, including warm-up, action and sharing.
  • The TSM Six Safety Action Structures.
  • The Trauma Survivor’s Internal Role Atom (TSIRA) that provides a clinical guide for all experiential therapies for safety and direction.
  • How to instill the TSM Prescriptive Roles to promote resilience through spontaneity and creativity.
  • The Use of the TSM Trauma Triangle to show the internalization of trauma into victim, perpetrator, and the abandoning authority role and how to change that with the addition of the appropriate authority role.
  • Promotion of post-traumatic growth through the TSM Transformative Roles.
  • Immediately useful hands-on, experiential interventions for containment, exploration, and transformation of stress and trauma.
  • The use of sociometry to create safety and authentic connection in groups.
  • The integration of art and ritual to assist deep healing.
  • How to develop applications specific to your needs in working with trauma.


dr. Kate Hudgins

Kate Hudgins, Ph.D., TEP, is an inspirational leader and a stellar trainer known worldwide for her innovative model of safe and effective trauma treatment.

Recognized as an international expert and author on trauma, Kate brings rigorous clinical training in psychology, psychodrama, and experiential psychotherapy as well as cross-cultural and indigenous learning and her own life experience.

Along with Francesca Toscani, M.Ed., TEP, Dr. Kate has developed, refined, and taught the Therapeutic Spiral Model, the healing method for survivors of trauma, in 35 countries and counting. She has been an experiential psychotherapist and trainer for more than 40 years, bringing spontaneity, creativity and healing to people who have experienced trauma in many settings. 

Dr. Kate is well known for her work in Asia for the past 17 years where she has successful trained the staff of the first mental health center at Hua Qiao University in Xiamen, China and built several Action Healing Teams in Taiwan.  She has brought TSM to 35 countries and is scheduled to teach in Europe next year in Norway, Sweden, and Spain. She maintains a West Coast Training group in San Francisco and an East Coast Training group in Philadelphia in the USA, while still maintaining a busy international schedule.  Due to the expansion of TSM, 100’s of people have become certified through the TSI International Certification Training Program in Trauma Therapy around the world.  read more ->