Somatic therapist and trauma therapist | Free-lance educator, public speaker and story-teller | Group facilitator | Collaborator | Infiltrator | Cross-pollinator | Community-builder | Agent of change | Former child refugee | Happy human being
Linda Thai, LMSW ERYT-200 is a trauma therapist and educator who specializes in brain and body-based modalities for addressing complex developmental trauma. Linda has worked with thousands of people from all over the world to promote mindfulness, recover from trauma, and tend to grief as a means of self care. Linda’s work centers on healing with a special focus on the experiences of adult children of refugees and immigrants. Her teaching is infused with empathy, storytelling, humor, research, practical tools, applied knowledge, and experiential wisdom.
She assists internationally renowned psychiatrist and trauma expert, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, with his private small group psychotherapy workshops aimed at healing attachment trauma. She has a Master of Social Work with an emphasis on the neurobiology of attachment and trauma.
Linda has studied Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting, Internal Family Systems, Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment, Havening Touch, Flash Technique, and structural dissociation of the personality, and offers the Safe and Sound Protocol, yoga, and meditation within her practice. Linda works on the traditional lands of the Tanana Athabascan people (Fairbanks, Alaska) with those recovering from addiction, trauma, and mental illness. She is passionate about breaking the cycle of historical and intergenerational trauma at the individual and community levels.
AREA OF EXPERTISE:
From the fields of meditation, yoga, and self-enquiry. Addictions and behavioral health. Childhood adversity and resiliency. Colonization, intergenerational refugee trauma and social justice. Grief, loss and reclamation.
For the purpose of empowered self-awareness. To liberate the joy and peace at the essence of our beings. To ignite a passion and excitement for life, to connect us back to ourselves and to each other.
Linda would like to acknowledge that she lives and works on the traditional lands of the Tanana Athabascan people. She has been nourished by the healing forces of the Alaskan wilderness and exposed to the ancestral wisdom of the custodians of these lands. Shifting out of an extractive economic and philosophical relationship with the natural world has opened her up to living and operating in mutuality with all forms of life, including herself. Quyana, Tsenaa-‘ii, Gunalchéesh, Dog in dihn’, Háw’aa, DOIKshin, Ana masee’, Masi-cho, Anna-Basse.
I greet you and your ancestors with respect.
These days, I live and work on the traditional lands of the Tanana Athabascan peoples of interior Alaska, as a somatic therapist, trauma therapist, storyteller, and educator. I use the pronouns she, hers.
My journey informs my approach to healing, and the two cannot be separated.
My people are from southern Vietnam, where the river meets the ocean, and yet upstream enough that the water is sweet. I am the child of merchants and traders, and people who tended to the land and received her abundance. I am the daughter of fragrant rice.
The currents of life forced us to flee our homeland, and my family were part of the post-war Vietnamese Boat People diaspora. The historical trauma of colonization, war, and refugee exodus left a legacy on myself and my ancestors that has taken me my entire lifetime to make sense of, and to heal from.
As a result of the early childhood trauma of forced displacement, I have lived my life not remembering anything, so that there would be nothing to forget. Walking backwards through the snow. Erasing my own footsteps as soon as they appear. I was living in hiding, while hungering for life. Drowning in a painful thirst that could not be satiated through alcohol, drugs, relationships, or worldly achievements.
My own personal liberation is my gift.
I discovered Alaska...where the land beckoned my soul into a deeper relationship with myself through a relationship with nature. I live on 10 acres, in a little 550 square foot cabin that my husband and I built together, down a trail into the wooded tundra of interior Alaska. Without running water, with an indoor composting toilet, heated mostly by firewood that we cut ourselves. We grow vegetables, pick wild berries, raise animals, fish and hunt....and preserve the harvest. Shifting out of an extractive economic and philosophical relationship with the natural world opened me up to living and operating in mutuality with all forms of life, including myself.
The journey of seeking to heal my unnameable pain guided me to ashrams, meditation centers (Vipassana, in the tradition of S.N. Goenka), Twelve Step meetings, as well as studying various trauma treatment modalities for my own healing: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting, Internal Family Systems, structural dissociation of the personality, Flash technique, Havening Touch, Polyvagal Theory and the Safe and Sound Protocol. Life led me to assist Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Licia Sky, with their private small group psychotherapy workshops aimed at healing attachment trauma.
My journey taught me that intergenerational trauma is more than the intergenerational cycles of addiction, domestic violence, and insecure attachment. It is the loss of ability to grieve – as a survival strategy. The familial and communal bandwidth (window of capacity or window of tolerance) diminishes with chronic trauma and persistent lack of resourcing.
Reclaiming the unresolved ancestral grief and trauma in my lineage – through song, story, movement and silence - embedded within grief-tending rituals and communities, has softened me to the sorrows that we all carry, including me. This then opened me up to acknowledging and healing the wounds of toxic shame around racialized cultural identity, internalized whiteness, and white-adjacency as a survival strategy in a racialized world.
While I excel clinically at weaving together ego-state work, body-based, and brain-based interventions through an anti-oppressive lens for the resolution of trauma and the integration of the psyche, it is teaching and learning that brings me the greatest personal satisfaction.
I believe that low-cost education is the fastest way to disrupt the oppressive, colonial, patriarchal $y$tem$ of knowledge gate-keeping. I believe in pricing that makes my classes accessible and affordable. I believe in offering equity scholarships. I believe in acknowledging my teachers and their schools of knowledge. I believe that we must disrupt the systems that keep education unavailable, inaccessible, and elitist. Being trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive or trauma-driven without conversations about oppression and social justice is impossible. Trauma is political.
This year, I have spoken internationally about healing the unnamable losses of adult child of refugees at Dr. Cathy Malchiodi’s Collective Grief & Trauma Summit as well as within her year-long expressive arts program, Thomas Hubl’s Collective Trauma Summit, PESI UK’s Women, Trauma & Mental Health Conference, within the Trauma Therapy semester program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and within the University of Toronto’s semester class - Settler Colonialism and Pedagogies of Oppression. I have also offered staff trainings for Kodiak Alaska Native Association, Fairbanks Native Association, and Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.
In the next few months, you can catch me on the mindfulness app Head Space, at the Trauma Research Foundation’s Social Justice Summit, as well as moderating the next event in Collectively Rooted’s The Master Series: Imagination Edition. I offer my own trainings about the intersection of trauma, attachment, and the body.
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