The Story of Trauma

Are Train Drivers Affected By Death On The Tracks?

Are Train Drivers Affected By Death On The Tracks?

Watching someone make the decision to take their life is a trauma only few of us know. Imagining being privy to such a situation, we usually like to think we’d speak up, shout, offer comfort, or do whatever we could to try and get that person to change their mind about suicide. If we are […]

Grenfell Tower And PTSD In London

Grenfell Tower And PTSD In London

June 14, 2017 is a tragic day in the modern history of London. In the North Kensington area of West London, a fire broke out in a 24-storey residential building called Grenfell Tower. Within mere minutes the entire building was aflame, officially claiming 72 lives. Seventy others experienced injury. While more than 200 residents escaped, […]

Learning To Cope In A World Of Uncertainty: Part Two

Learning To Cope In A World Of Uncertainty: Part Two

Living in a seeking of secured certainty is not living in the present moment. Living in the present moment is really living in harmony with both the past, the present, and the future without avoiding or attaching to any one time state. We can be sure of what has happened in the past, but we […]

Is Adult Depression Linked To Childhood Trauma?

Is Adult Depression Linked To Childhood Trauma?

Trauma is an impactful experience in life. Whatever our trauma is, however our trauma comes to be, we are changed forever as a result of it- cellularly, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Traumatic experiences transform our genetics and alter the way some of our basic mechanisms work, namely our sympathetic nervous system. Such an instantaneous […]

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

Have you ever felt like suddenly you were part of your own body, your own brain, your own reality? We are prone to dizzying moments of disconnect which leave us feeling confused and discombobulated. Dissociation can happen independently, as part of trauma, or as part of a dissociation disorder. Having a dissociative episode feels sort […]

HOPE: Hold On Pain Ends

HOPE: Hold On Pain Ends

We see a wounded warrior on their last ounce of strength, tired of fighting, tired of persevering, and desperately seeking relief. This warrior is not a veteran of physical combat in a war zone, so to speak. Battles have been fought. Injuries have been sustained. Great losses have taken place. This brave and courageous individual […]

Trauma Research: Changing Paradigms

by Penny Boreham The treatments we practice here at Khiron House are the result of ground-breaking and paradigm shifting new research. In fact in the last forty years or so many of the biggest advances in our knowledge about the interaction of the body and mind have actually come about because of research into trauma. Bessel […]

Love Chemicals: the motivating energy of the brain

by Penny Boreham “We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving” Friedrich Nietzsche. You look across the room and you see a person you love and, at that very moment, according to the stem biologist and author Dr Bruce Lipton, you are releasing chemicals from your […]

Interconnecting neurons

Why the mind/body division is no longer useful

by Penny Boreham When we are emotionally distressed, numb and disconnected from others, when we are suffering from severe fear, anxiety or are deeply depressed we consider, and are often told, that these are signs that all is not well with our mental health, and our minds. These symptoms are seen as separate from others, […]

Pat Ogden

The Birth of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

by Penny Boreham “The body is our general medium for having a world” Merleau-Ponty (1902-1961). Pat Ogden, the founder of a therapy that many of our therapists practice at Khiron House, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, had the insights that led to the birth of her new therapy at a time when paradigms were shifting. She was developing […]

"Comfort dogs" in Newton, Connecticut

Dogs and Mental Health

by Penny Boreham About two and a half years ago, immediately after the shooting at an American primary school in Newton, Connecticut, a group of therapy dogs was brought to the town. They spent their time in the community- visiting schools, churches and activity centers, and also private homes. Twenty children and six adults had […]


The Concept of Resilience – A Sense Of Coherence

By Penny Boreham Resilience “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”  Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela has become a symbol for the concept of resilience, embodying so many of the traits that we now recognise we need to foster in our young […]

Breathing blog photo

Living in the Breath: An Essential Tool for Recovery

by Penny Boreham “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath” (Amit Ray) “When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still” (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 15th century) Revitalising the Body and Grounding the Mind The connection between […]

Yoga and Trauma Treatment: Learning to Reinhabit your Body

by Penny Boreham Bessel van der Kolk and Yoga “If you are traumatized, being in silence is often terrifying. Memory of trauma is stored, so when you are stilled, demons come out. Those with PTSD should first learn to regulate their physiology with breath, postures and relaxation and work toward meditation.” (Bessel van der Kolk) […]

MRI of the brain being performed

Mindfulness Meditation For Pain Relief

by Penny Boreham Giving More Attention To Your Pain, Not Less Recent neurological studies and anecdotal evidence is increasingly pointing to something that practitioners of meditation have known for a very long time – mindfulness meditation can greatly help reduce chronic pain. When we are in pain the last thing we feel we want to do […]

Spirituality And Psychology: A New Openness?

by Penny Boreham Bringing Spirituality To The Clinical Setting “It is far more the urgent psychic problems of patients, rather than the curiosity of research workers, that have given effective impetus to the recent developments in medical psychology and psychotherapy”. C G Jung Australian academic David Tacey, Professor of Literature at La Trobe University in […]


Benefits of Equine Therapy: Healing And Learning From Horses

by Penny Boreham Hopethruhorses – Part Two “Being with horses is like seeing a reflection of our authentic inner self. The way they respond is a mirror of who we really are behind the mask. They see through to the soul and shine it back at us, clearly highlighting our deepest fears. They heal those […]

Tackling The Stigma Of Mental Illness

by Penny Boreham Removing the Stigma Of Mental Illness Mental health is no different from physical health in that early intervention is crucial. However, it is still sadly true that the stigma around mental health problems makes people reluctant to come forward and seek help. Organisations, like Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are working hard to overturn […]

Jo Corfield

Benefits Of Equine Therapy: Healing And Learning From Horses

by Penny Boreham Hopethruhorses Khiron House has a new partner, Jo Corfield’s Hopethruhorses, which is an established equine involvement facility in Oxfordshire. Residents at our Khiron House Clinic have been going and receiving benefits of equine therapy with Jo and her natural herd of eighteen horses during their stay with us. ‘Hopethruhorses’ is something of an […]

The limitless capacity of the human brain

by Penny Boreham In 1908 the psychologist and philosopher William James wrote in his classic text “The Energies of Men”:- “We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources” That was over a century ago, but since William James’ reflections countless researchers and scientists have tried to establish […]

Teenagers together

Understanding the teenage brain

by Penny Boreham Psychiatrist and author Dan Siegel’s work on the subject of understanding the teenage brain highlights beautifully that we should never assume anything about human behaviour and the psyche until we have attempted to understand it as fully as possible. It also shows us that the more we know about the teenage nervous […]

Bessel Van der Kolk

EMDR In Action – Bessel Van Der Kolk And ‘Digesting’ The Imprint Of The Trauma

by Penny Boreham Putting EMDR in Action  Two weeks ago in our blog, “The beginnings of EMDR”, we explored the origins of the groundbreaking ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy’ which was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro twenty seven years ago and which we use as one part of our programme at Khiron House. Over […]

Mirror Neurons

Embodied Empathy: Mirror Neurons

by Penny Boreham Non-verbal communication We are all constantly assessing, interpreting and discerning non verbal signals from each other during our every single interaction. We humans all possess this innate and highly sophisticated skill. There are of course so many facets to non verbal communication and our therapists at Khiron House are finely tuned in […]

Trauma And Sleep Disturbance: A Vicious Circle

by Penny Boreham “the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast.” (Macbeth by Shakespeare) Trauma and Sleep Disturbance: a vicious circle It can seem like a vicious circle of […]

Dr Francine Shapiro

The Beginning Of EMDR Therapy

by Penny Boreham How EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) began It is always fascinating and revealing to unearth how particular therapies were developed. One of the therapies we use at Khiron House is EMDR. The purpose of this therapy (which involves alternating left-right stimulation of the brain with eye movements, sounds or taps) is to stimulate […]

A Key Relationship Between Trauma And Autonomic Nervous System

by Penny Boreham There are a multitude of highly significant reciprocal relationships going on in our bodies all the time, but there is one key and complex interaction between two branches of our nervous system that is central to how our body responds to trauma. Understanding that interaction and interplay of the relationship between trauma […]

The Original Matrix: finding our way back to a state of balance

by Penny Boreham “In healing work this is a critical point to understand – no matter how desperate the situation, the information of the whole, its inherent ordering principle, or blueprint, is still available in each part.  The blueprint of health is thus present in each part and is still available if it can be […]


Anxiety and Phobias – in the Mind or in the Body?

Peter and Nancy by Penny Boreham It was one woman, called Nancy, who was the catalyst for a breakthrough for the somatic therapist, Peter Levine. A therapeutic encounter with Nancy led Peter Levine to develop his somatic experiencing approach for working with trauma, one of the main therapies we offer at Khiron House. It was […]

William Reich

The client’s history walks in with him: Character strategies

by Penny Boreham, Intake Manager In our last “Inspiration and Reflection” blog our clinical director, Dr Charles Hallings-Pott, referred to the ‘Character Strategies’ developed by the founder of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Pat Ogden. Dr Hallings-Pott described them as “the strategies we construct around the childhood wounds we have experienced”. Over the next few weeks we will […]

Dr Stephen Porges

The vagus nerve: safety and social interaction

by Penny Boreham, Intake Manager In last week’s blog, the key relationship between the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system (the autonomic nervous system) was explored. For those who work in the field of trauma, observing and discerning signs of these aspects of the nervous system is central to their work. As our Clinical Director, Dr […]


So, What Is Stress?

By Penny Boreham, Intake Manager At Khiron House we talk a lot about treating ‘trauma’, and trauma is just a sub-set of the body’s response to ‘stress’. So what exactly is stress and how should we be thinking about it, behaving about it and treating it? Stress and the body In life, when we experience […]