Kyla Thorne (she/her) is a body-based Trauma Recovery Coach, certified in The Resilience Toolkit and The Safe & Sound Protocol. She works with individuals who want to get unstuck, experience traction in their life, and peace, quietness & safety in their body.
Many of the individuals she works with have tried talking through their trauma or shifting their mindset & beliefs through a more cognitive approach and are ready to get their biology on board so they can experience a more effortless shift without trying to white-knuckle change.
Kyla is a graduate of Cohort 6, and works in Rogersville, TN, USA. Read on to learn more about the amazing work Kyla is doing and her experiences as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.
Describe your experience of facilitating The Resilience Toolkit in 1-2 words.
How are you working with The Resilience Toolkit?
I work mainly one-on-one with individuals both in person and virtually but also offer group programs. I specialize in religious trauma but clients end up coming to me for all types of trauma. I get a lot of referrals from clients who are happy, and in general, these people are dysregulated, their nervous systems need support, but their trauma histories are so varied. I’m certified as a trauma recovery coach, which is the umbrella for me. Once we actually sit down and start talking and working together, I tend to just use the three tiered stress response cycle just because it’s so basic and so simple, I’m simple, and I want to keep it simple for my clients. In their very first official session, we start with the butterfly, hug the knee tapping, the five steps of the activation sequence, we do the tremor – I demonstrate each one and invite them to join. I introduce them to that whole thing in the very first session when we’re working together to allow them to feel that subtleness in our very first session, and then I explain to them that that’s kind of what sessions in the future look like. Except that I reduce the amount of time that we spend doing the seven tools. I mainly teach the two crossing the midline tools, the 5 activation sequence tools, and the tremor. I don’t necessarily teach the mindfulness tools, I guess, because trauma is such a big thing for my clients. The movement is so helpful at first, rather than being quiet with themselves. As sessions progress, we reduce those “smaller” tools (that’s how I refer to them when I’m speaking with my clients) – we reduce the amount of time that we’re doing those together, and we extend the tremor. So I’m inviting them to practice the “smaller” tools in between sessions right from the get go. With the tremor, some people want to start practicing it on their own right away, other people don’t, and I invite them to follow the pace of whatever feels safe for them. I think of the sessions as in halves, where the first half is talking about what’s been going on, what memories have been popping up for them. And then the second half ends up being an extended tremor, where we’re able to revisit what we just talked about and feel the charge leaving the body, and maybe noticing what new things are coming up. So maybe more of a TRE approach than how we use the tremor in the Toolkit, as a shorter practice. I learned from my therapist – that was my trauma healing experience. So I kind of combined that with really watching their nervous system, taking breaks, and things like that. And so it ends up becoming a tool for them where they’re able to revisit traumatic memories when they’re ready – when the nervous system lets us know that they’re ready. And then literally noticing, “wow, I can see the memory, but the charge isn’t there anymore.” So it feels like a combination between doing the Toolkit, processing trauma, life coaching, and mindset coaching, because we’re revisiting toxic thought patterns that come up, and we’re doing a whole retraining process of their nervous system and their mindset and everything together.
I love explaining the resourcing and stabilization piece of the Toolkit to people because that’s why years of therapy really hadn’t gotten me very far. I do offer one other modality and that I’m certified and that’s the Safe and Sound Protocol. So when we introduce that, I get them really familiar with the Toolkit first to resource them – I use the Toolkit to prepare them for the Safe and Sound Protocol.
What has been most satisfying in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator?
Seeing the reduction in shame around how one’s body is responding upon learning how the autonomic nervous system works and seeing the shifts and relief as magic happens in their lives as their body feels safer. In my initial complimentary consultation that I offer to people before we start officially, I share the three tiered stress cycle, and I go over with almost every person what each state looks like. To see people go, “you just described me” and just really emphasizing that this is a normal response to abnormal things you’ve been through – that’s just another layer. So seeing that is so magical, and then seeing people shift in their lives. And they’ll wonder, “Is it normal that I’m noticing X, Y, and Z?” And I’ll say “yeah, we don’t have to talk about something in order for it to start releasing from your body or start shifting in your life.” Especially after having spent so much time myself doing the top down approach in my own life – seeing the more effortless results from the bottom up approach – I love being able to offer that to people.
Describe a challenge you have encountered in your work as a Resilience Toolkit Facilitator.
Maybe one of the challenges that I’ve faced (but it doesn’t really feel like a challenge, because we quickly adapted) was that one of my more recent clients, had some hesitation with laying down on camera and being vulnerable and getting into the tremor. It doesn’t really feel like a challenge because I quickly let them know that they can turn their camera off if they want. So that’s maybe something I’ve become more adept at is noticing hesitation and letting people know that we can set this up however they feel safe.
I guess the bigger challenge is that I’ve been doing this and promoting this now for years, and I have a lot of clients, so I’m not I’m not lacking clients. In fact, right now I’m feeling a little burned out because I’ve had such an influx of new clients that I feel the need to pace a little bit. So I’m not complaining that people aren’t coming to me. But sometimes it feels like when someone does learn about what I do, and they experience it, they’re like, “why didn’t I know this sooner?” And I’m like, I’ve been talking about this for so long! Like the other day with our homeschool friends, one of the moms was having an outburst because she just lost her mom, and there’s a lot of trauma there. And she’s one of my good friends. So she knows I do this work. I’ve never really offered any more than just a listening ear. I’m very careful – even though I’ve had lots of friends as clients, and I’ve had lots of clients turn into friends and it’s worked well – I’m very careful not to be like, “Hey, would you let me work with you?” and add an awkward dynamic to the relationships. But she was having such an outburst, and getting so angry that I asked “hey, do you want me to facilitate a trauma release for you?” And so literally, she put down a towel in the grass, there were people sitting around – people we knew, people we didn’t know – and she had a full on trauma release, with just a short tremor. It was powerful. And it filled my heart so much to know that I could give her this gift .
I post all my stuff on social media, but the challenge, I guess, is knowing there’s so many people who need it and would benefit from it. But they’re maybe not having the courage to reach out and ask me to work with them. So I would say that’s the biggest challenge – the fear they have because, as you know, going to therapy is so intimidating and reliving your traumas is so intimidating, and they think it’s going to be the same, and it’s going to feel worse than they feel now. I’ve done therapy for so long and experienced not having progress, so seeing that but then knowing that people are just suffering, especially the people right there in my life is hard.
I think another thing too, is money. I live in the South. It’s not a very affluent area, and my clients are all over the place, but our finances have taken a hit with the last few years – everybody’s pretty much – and we’re not all wealthy. It was also hard when I was working with a young woman recently and I could tell that her nervous system was progressing so quickly in our session, but I guess her mom was paying for the session because the girl was struggling so much, but the mom couldn’t keep affording it. And this progression in her daughter in the sessions, but the mom doesn’t see it. So that kind of breaks my heart. I’m wondering if I should reach out and offer to work at a discounted rate. And then I struggle with so much going on in my own life. Can I take time without pay? So the financial aspect, to have people feeling like they want help, but they don’t have the resources to get it.
How are you seeing alchemical resilience and transformation show up in the work that you’re doing?
I haven’t been posting a lot on social media about my work recently because I am at capacity, but when I was promoting more, one of the things I often would try and explain in my approach to the nervous system is that magic happens when there’s a deep down physiological sense of safety. And I see it in the way that people are like, “is it possible for me to notice differences? Like, I’m noticing it in this area of my life. And I’m noticing it in that area of my life.” And they’re like, “how is that changing – we haven’t even talked about that!” And sometimes, honestly, people will say, “is it possible for me to be feeling this good? Is it normal?” I don’t want to overplay what I’m seeing in client after client after client – I’m seeing such a richness being added to their life, where they’re saying, “you changed my life.” And I’m over here saying, it’s your body, given the right environment, and the right things. So it’s not that I’m doing anything amazing – it’s the tool, that’s our body – not to take credit away from the space I’m able to hold for people. I just hear from almost 100% of my clients that they’re feeling more patient with their kids, or they’re finally getting a job, or different ways where the snowball effect is happening in their life. They may not even connect the dots, but I’m seeing that in just so many small ways.
Describe any special projects you are working on.
My personal history is with religious trauma. And I guess I miss that aspect from religion where people would come together and have a spiritual connection, that rich experience of being in a circle with people and feeling your feelings, processing your things. In that situation (in my personal history) they may have been praising God and things like that, and now that I’m no longer in that type of atmosphere, it’s no longer aligned for me and is actually quite triggering for me. But when I hear the word retreat – I miss that. So it’s on my heart – that’s something that I want to offer – to basically teach and practice the Toolkit over either a one day (which is really fast) or a weekend retreat, and adding in there the journaling, the good food, and the whole listing thing. I would say there are two things holding me back. One is I’m already busy, and two, is anybody going to come out? Are people actually going to see the value of what I’m offering? Because I know it could radically transform their life, but there’s still a part of me that’s holding back in that, if I promote it, and then nobody signs up, how am I going to feel? So obviously, it’s just a thing to work through process and practice. But I feel like especially bringing women together in my small town, I just imagine the richness of the connection and seeing shifts in so many people. My thing holding me back is how do I communicate that in such a way that people see the value in it, and commit to coming?
What’s something that has piqued your interest recently that you would want to share with other Toolkit facilitators?
The stuff that I’m into right now is very specific to cult awareness, because of my upbringing, and a podcast that I like is called A Little Bit Culty. It talks about all the way that cult dynamics come into places where we might not expect to see them, whether it’s CrossFit, or network marketing, and all these different things. Because I specialize in religious trauma and high control groups (though I also work with other people who have very little religious trauma) knowing what it does to our nervous systems has been a neat resource for me.